MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers and First Lady Kathy Evers today shared a video message with Wisconsinites detailing the 2022 Executive Residence holiday decorations honoring fallen heroes and veterans and celebrating local area businesses and producers, advocacy organizations, kids and schools, and the state’s vast and valuable freshwater resources. A virtual tour of the Residence decorations with the governor and first lady is available here.
“From the annual Tribute to Our Troops Tree to our efforts to raise awareness around Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to this year’s Capitol Holiday Tree theme, ‘Wisconsin Waters,’ the Residence staff, community partners, and volunteers always go above and beyond to decorate for the holidays, and this year was no different,” said Gov. Evers. “We are also grateful to everyone who contributed to our book drive for kids and holiday food drive to help families in need this holiday season, as well as all the dedicated docents that have volunteered to help guide hundreds of visitors on tours of the Residence to showcase the amazing holiday decorations.”
“This year’s holiday displays are outstanding, and we are so glad to be able to once again welcome folks back for tours at the Residence to see these decorations in person,” said First Lady Evers. “Great thought and consideration go into these decorations each year, which is why we are thrilled to be able to share them with Wisconsinites from all over.”
Featured throughout the Residence are holiday displays from businesses across Wisconsin. This year, on display at the front gates are two wreaths donated by the winners of the 2022 Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association Wreath Contest. This year’s winning wreaths are from the 4 Mile Tree Farm in Oconomowoc. For the front steps of the Residence, porch pots and a front door wreath were created by Olbrich Botanical Gardens using plants native to Wisconsin. As guests enter the Residence, they are greeted with trees decorated by Orange Tree Imports in Madison. True to their name, the trees are decorated with oranges, which have been symbolic of the holiday season for decades. Moving further into the Residence, Jada’s Garden and Greenhouse of Blue Mounds, along with volunteers and board members from the Wisconsin Executive Residence Foundation, donated their time and talent to decorate the foyer and the dining room. These decorations include boxwood garlands, wreaths, and various goods from Jada’s Garden.
Each year, the governor and first lady decorate one room at the Residence in honor of the six million Americans and more than 120,000 Wisconsinites living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and the countless caregivers who provide them care, and to instill hope for finding the first survivor of Alzheimer’s disease. This year, the tree is adorned with photographs of residents from Vista West senior living community in Madison and ornaments made by individuals with dementia who have visited the Residence throughout the year. Additionally, the artwork in the drawing room was made by individuals with dementia. In their video message, the governor and first lady thanked the staff from Vista West and the Wisconsin Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for their partnership in decorating the drawing room and for their daily work serving individuals with dementia and their families.
Also, an annual tradition at the Residence is the Tribute to Our Troops Tree. A tradition that began in 2005 with Gov. Jim Doyle, this tree honors service members who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The tree is decorated with red, white, and blue lights and ornaments and showcases ornaments and quilts that represent each major branch of the military, as well as a variety of ornaments sent in by military families. This year, the tree was decorated not only by members of the Wisconsin National Guard but also by family members of long-time volunteer and a founding organizer of the Tribute to Our Troops Tree, Linda Hughes. Linda passed away earlier this year and her family continues this tradition in her honor. In their video message, the governor and first lady shared their thanks to Linda for her many years of service. They also expressed gratitude to active-duty service members, veterans, military families, and fallen heroes for their service and sacrifices.
Featured in the library is a book tree to support the first lady’s annual holiday book drive. Visitors to the Residence are encouraged to bring a new or gently used children’s book to help fill the tree, and through a partnership with the Mystery to Me bookstore in Madison and Reach Out and Read Wisconsin, the books will be donated and distributed at pediatrician offices around the state for kids to enjoy. Additionally, new to the library this year is a collection of American Girl dolls provided by American Girl, which was founded in Middleton in 1986. The dolls are dressed in garments that showcase the diverse and beautiful cultural celebrations families across Wisconsin celebrate each year, including Diwali, Lunar New Year, Eid al-Fitr, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Día de los Muertos, Christmas, and St. Lucia’s Day.
Finally, much like the holiday tree at the Wisconsin State Capitol this year, the sunroom at the Residence is decorated to celebrate the theme “Wisconsin Waters.” Decorations for this room, which include a mural depicting a snowy river scene, were provided by The Rock River Coalition and Lowell Elementary School. Fish ornaments for the trees were decorated and provided by St. Charles Borromeo School.
While tours for the holidays have concluded, free, in-person tours of the Wisconsin Executive Residence will resume again in late spring.
An online version of this release is available here.