After Wavering, Reading Embraces ‘Charlie Brown' Christmas Tree

The 50-foot spruce standing in downtown Reading, Pennsylvania, drew comparisons to the sad-looking tree in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and ire from some city officials -- nearly leading to a switch. But instead of a replacing the spindly sapling, the Berks County city is embracing the likeness to the famous holiday cartoon.

"In honor of the famous Charlie Brown Christmas tree, we will be decorating the tree with one single red ornamental bulb," according to a City of Reading news release. "We hope that this reminds all who are following the story of our tree of the deeper meaning of the holiday season."

Only a week earlier, Reading City Council's president, Francis Acosta, led a group of citizens interested in having the Norway spruce, located at 5th and Penn streets, replaced by a fuller tree.

But Acosta changed his mind about the "horrible" tree and stopped workers Monday as they were in the midst of removing decorations from the "pathetic" spruce.

"Between the snow forecasted to come to Reading and the deadline for a 2015 budget this week," Acosta said, "I think we should be focusing efforts on preparing our streets for the storm and finalizing the city's 2015 budget."

The replacement, which was donated, will go up in Reading's City Park -- and a separate decorating ceremony will take Friday and Saturday for the new tree.

Reading's official holiday tree -- which remains at the corner of 5th and Penn streets -- and it's lone ornament will be rededicated Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

"We would like to thank everyone who has offered to help the city beautify the tree and ask for help to spread the true meaning of the season that the tree symbolizes throughout our city and our great nation," the city said in a news release.

Anyone interested in helping Reading with its holiday mission can donate to the city's Holiday Spirit Fund at any Fulton Bank location. The money will be used to purchase copies of the book, A Charlie Brown Christmas, for children participating in the city's upcoming seasonal festivities.

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