Anyone planning to attend tonight’s “holiday lighting” celebration at Town Square in Ketchum should BYOT—bring your own tree.

Tree hats, tree sweaters, tree spectacles, tree mittens, tree paintings, tree shoes, tree costumes or, gasp, a real tree, would help make the lighting celebration the real deal.

In 2014, Ketchum selected a large, dying Norway spruce, impossible to “spruce up,” and placed it in Town Square for the winter holidays. The poor tree stirred up a storm of public criticism from businesses and residents that apparently buffeted city officials so severely that they haven’t put up a tree since.

The Grinch, who stole the Whos’ Christmas tree while 2-year-old Cindy Lou Who looked on in the famous Dr. Seuss story, would be proud.

The city ended the annual criticism from some people who hate the idea of cutting and decorating a live tree for the winter’s festivities.

It avoided criticism that an artificial tree would be inauthentic and environmentally unfriendly.

It ended the need to calculate the benefit of live trees as greenhouse gas scrubbers against the benefit of reusing an artificial tree. It left critics of holiday decorations with nothing to criticize.

It left city officials warm and happy. But what about Cindy Lou?

Ketchum is not short of trees. Every year, trees are thinned from the artificially large collections of blue spruces that have come to dominate every byway and berm in the Wood River Valley.

Nonetheless, at 4:30 p.m. today, people will gather around nothing to sing and welcome Santa to town.

Resist humbug. BYOT.

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