When people began decorating Christmas trees around the beginning of the 17th century, they used candles to light up their evergreens.
If the tradition continued today, Gov. Kenny Guinn and First Lady Dema Guinn would need a ladder, hundreds of candles and matches to light the state's two Christmas trees on the Capitol grounds. Good thing the Guinns just need to flip a switch Thursday at 5:45 p.m. to light the trees for Christmas.
"I love trees, and I love Christmas. I always have," Dema Guinn said. "It gets me in the Christmas spirit to decorate. As a child, I was always excited to open the boxes with the ornaments. Some of them were so old, you were afraid they'd break. I always handled them with such care. My mother let me help, and I always let my children and grandchildren help.
"Christmas is a very emotional time for me. It's a time for family, to be thankful for what we have. We should count our blessings."
Both the original state Christmas tree, planted in 1876, and the new tree planted by Dema Guinn last year will be lit together for the first time. Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko will light the city's tree at Musser and Nevada streets at 6:15 p.m.
"I love to do it," Masayko said. "It's fun and it gets me involved in the spirit of Christmas. Everybody should be in the spirit of Christmas."
Other events are planned in the Capitol area Thursday to help families usher in the holidays.
Family photo opportunities with Santa and his reindeer will be at Telegraph Square from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Santa will ditch his sleigh later in the evening for a bit more modern form of transportation - if a Model T can be considered modern. Santa will be joined by his friend, Bill, and chauffeur, Beaver the dog, and will be handing out candy canes to good boys and girls. The voices of the 300-member Carson City Elementary School Choir and the Holiday Brass Ensemble will fill downtown with music.
Don't worry about getting too cold. The Carson Advocates for Cancer Care will be doling out hot chocolate and cookies to revelers, and City Hall, 201 N. Carson St., will be open to visitors until 8 p.m. Carson's Sertoma club will offer refreshments at City Hall. Area businesses will be open until 9 p.m. For information, call 887-1294.
If you go:
What: Silver and Snowflakes Holiday Tree Lighting
When: 5:20 p.m. Thursday
Where: State Capitol Grounds, 100 N. Carson St.
Schedule of events:
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Santa and his reindeer at Telegraph Square.
5:20 p.m.: Choir music
5:30 p.m.: Santa arrives
5:45 p.m.: State tree lightings by Gov. Kenny Guinn and First Lady Dema Guinn
6:15 p.m.: City tree lighting by Mayor Ray Masayko
6:30-8 p.m.: City Hall open house