Controversial trees at San Jose's 'Christmas in the Park' prompt debate

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Through the use of hundreds of Christmas trees on display at San Jose's Christmas in the Park, schools, businesses and non-profit organizations are able to bring awareness to issues or causes they care about.

However, at least two trees have generated mixed reactions, with some people now seeking clarification on what is deemed appropriate for the attraction.

Members of the San Jose chapter of The Satanic Temple say someone stole the black goat head featured at the top of their Christmas tree. The organization, which is participating in this year's event for the first time, was disappointed, but not surprised by the action.

San Jose resident, Jedediah Schadenfreude, who established the local chapter three years ago, says a new topper has been ordered and will be installed in the coming days. He's hopeful community members will respect his group's display, even if they don't necessarily agree with their message.

Another tree decorated by San Jose's H2H Design + Build, a local home remodeling and design services firm, has also been catching many people's attention.

Designers decided to focus on "current events" and included hot-button issues with the goal of sparking conversation among visitors. Using plastic dolls, the scenes from H2H include Colin Kaepernick kneeling on the field, as well as another area related to the #MeToo movement.

What sparked concern among some was a section designed to depict the rise of the transgender community using a Barbie doll placed alongside an image of Bruce Jenner during the 1976 Olympic Games.

H2H owners were contacted by community members who found it to be inappropriate. They're now working to alter the content with the hope that their intended message of love and acceptance isn't lost in translation.

Organizers with Christmas in the Park say they won't remove any trees that may be deemed offensive to some (and not others) unless there is a blatant attempt to be vulgar or discriminatory. San Jose officials have instructed them to allow most displays, given that the event is held at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, one of the city's public parks.

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