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Senior Citizens Save the Season, Fight Christmas Tree Ban

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Photo by sfxeric via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Residents at a senior citizens facility in the Santa Clarita Valley were mad as hell and they weren't going to take it anymore. Yes, Virginia, the war on Christmas was being waged right in the community room of The Willows senior complex, and it was centered around the venerable Christmas tree.

Earlier this week, staff at the facility were sent a memo ordering the Christmas tree to come down. Also on the hit list were any menorahs in the communal area. Residents were outraged, and when the story hit the internet, the outrage went viral.

Naturally, the management company of The Willows tried to pass the buck and write it off as a total miscommunication. "We think it was someone who heard something, and that someone told someone else and that person then told everybody," said Monica Morones, from JB Partners Group, Inc., according to the follow-up story in the Daily News. Basically, said Morones, no one had a problem with the tree or the menorahs.

But residents heard otherwise, saying the scuttlebutt was there was a veto on any "religious symbols" in common areas.

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People began calling in to the complex to let management know the residents had a "constitutional right" to the tree. Someone in Florida launched a Christmas card campaign for the residents. Angry emails flooded in.

It got political; Congressman Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita went on record with his thoughts: "This is an absolute outrage and another example of a sad, sad trend I see happening in America today," said McKeon in a statement. McKeon went on:

"An abolition of every marker of the holiday season, no matter the religious affiliation, is an affront to our most sacred traditions and darkens what is supposed to be a time of thankfulness, giving, togetherness, peace, love, hope and reflection. These residents pay rent to a private entity and should have the freedom to practice the holiday traditions of their choice."

The original tree was vandalized on Tuesday. A replacement tree was brought in Wednesday, but was taken away. Another tree was set up Thursday.

Things got so tense at the facility, says one resident, a security guard was brought in.

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But Thursday's tree (and the menorahs set up in the room) came with the management's blessing--er, endorsement--and the residents are relieved, but ready to fight again if more Christmas fun gets banned.