Press Release: Gov. Evers and First Lady Evers Invite Wisconsinites to See 2021 Executive Residence Holiday Decorations Celebrating the Stories of Wisconsin

Office of Governor Tony Evers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 23, 2021
Gov. Evers and First Lady Evers Invite Wisconsinites to See 2021 Executive Residence Holiday Decorations Celebrating the Stories of Wisconsin 
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers and First Lady Kathy Evers today shared a video message with Wisconsinites detailing the 2021 Executive Residence holiday decorations honoring our nation’s heroes, recognizing the diverse stories of Wisconsin, and celebrating the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking of the Executive Residence. A virtual tour of the Residence decorations with the governor and first lady is available here.  

Each year, the Executive Residence is decorated to honor and share the story of folks across Wisconsin, and this year we honor our nation’s heroes and the more than 340,000 veterans across our state, recognize the strength, diversity, and beauty of our communities, and display wreaths and trees grown right here in our state,” said Gov. Evers. “We want to extend our sincere thanks to the many organizations that shared pieces to display, and we wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.” 

This year’s decorations are some of the Residence’s best yet, and we so enjoyed learning about all the different holiday traditions across the state, said First Lady Evers. “Every year we try to make the holidays special, and whether its supporting Alzheimer’s awareness or showing our appreciation for our service members, we are so thankful for the folks who made this year’s decorations possible for Wisconsinites to enjoy. 

Each year, the governor and first lady decorate one room in honor of the 5.8 million Americans and 110,000 Wisconsinites living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the countless caregivers who provide them care, and to continue the hope for a cure. This year, this tribute is displayed in the sunroom overlooking the formal garden with trees decorated in purple lights and ornaments provided by the Dementia Friendly Stoughton Hospital.  

Also an annual tradition at the Executive Residence is a Tribute to our Troops Tree. A tradition that began in 2005 with Gov. Jim Doyle, this tree honors our service members who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. The tree is decorated in red, white, and blue lights with ornaments of silver angels in honor of living veterans across our state and those in active service and gold angels in honor of Wisconsin’s fallen service members, as well as ornaments provided by Wisconsin’s military families across the state honoring their loved ones. The tree also features ornaments donated by Linda Hughes in honor of Gold Star families grieving the loss of a loved one this holiday season. These ornaments depict brilliant red cardinals as cardinals are not only known as the Christmas bird for their color, but many are reminded of departed loved ones when a cardinal lands nearby. Finally, the tree skirt features the branches of the Armed Forces and was provided by the Camo Quilt Project. The governor and first lady’s Tribute to our Troops Tree video message can be viewed here.   

In addition to the annual displays, the Residence has also included a special display to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking of the Executive Residence, which took place in 1921. To commemorate this anniversary, the drawing room at the Residence has been decorated with artifacts from that era that celebrate what winter in Wisconsin would have looked like in the 1920s. These artifacts include children’s toys, decorations, a radio and phonograph, a toy coaster wagon from the Wisconsin Carriage Company of Janesville, and a concertina from Anton Blasczyk, a farmer from Pulaski who played it in the 1920s at his family home and elsewhere. All of these artifacts were provided on loan from the Wisconsin Historical Society. 

Additionally, this year’s display in the dining room is a celebration of all the strength, diversity, and beauty of Wisconsin communities and features several displays showcasing the various traditions celebrated by Wisconsin families across the state. On display is a silver menorah and porcelain dreidel from the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, the Quran and a model representation of the Kaaba from the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, a yule log and Wheel of the Year from the Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve and Circle Cemetery to represent ancient Scandinavian and Germanic customs, two corn husk dolls made by a member of the Oneida Nation, a hand drum and stick from the Ho-Chunk Nation, birch baskets from the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, a banner from the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, items used for harvesting and processing wild rice from the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, a student’s painting from La Casa de Esperanza, a piñata from UMOS, a Hmong story cloth tapestry from the Executive Residence art collection, and a kinara provided by UBUNTU Research and Evaluation in Milwaukee that was handcrafted by the Culture Outpost in Milwaukee. 

Outside the residence, visitors and pedestrians will find a 30-foot tree donated to the people of Wisconsin by the Menominee Nation and harvested from the Menominee Tribal Enterprises grounds in Keshena. On the front door of the Residence is a wreath from The Christmas Farm in Mindoro. Owned and operated by the Miller Family for nearly 60 years, The Christmas Farm was this year’s winner of the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association’s 2021 Wreath Contest. Finally, blue lights are on display in the lanterns at the front gates of the Residence in solidarity with the Waukesha community’s blue light tribute to honor and remember the victims of the tragedy at the Christmas parade earlier this year. The governor and first lady extend their deepest condolences and stand with the Waukesha community as they recover and heal.  

Finally, at the Wisconsin State Capitol this year, hundreds of ornaments made by Wisconsin students across the state are now on display reflecting the theme “Hometown for the Holidays.” Students were asked to make ornaments showcasing their hometown, neighborhood, or local area, the strength of neighbors and community, or what their hometown or our home state means to them to decorate the 32-foot balsam fir also donated to the people of Wisconsin by the Menominee Nation and harvested from the Menomonie Tribal Enterprises grounds in Keshena. The 2021 State Capitol Holiday Tree will be on display until the end of the year for members of the public and visitors to enjoy as they visit the Capitol.