A council's Christmas tree has been likened to a twig and branded a “disgrace” by disappointed locals.
The 'living tree' in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, was slammed by residents who said it looked “half dead”.
Tameside Borough Council planted the festive fir outside a community hub in Stockport Road a few years ago, hoping it would grow and be enjoyed by residents for years to come.
But things didn’t quite go to plan and it remains threadbare, with locals continually mocking it.
Residents in Hattersley, just south of Manchester, have said it looks more like a “Christmas Twig” than a proud festive pine.
Lawrence McDermott, 60, from Tameside, added he had been walking past the tree for years and it was a "joke".
Responding to criticism of its appearance in 2021, the council tweeted: "The event community organisers chose to have a living tree rather than a larger cut tree.
"Living trees start out small, but get bigger every year. In doing so it will symbolise the growth of community spirit in Hattersley. Hope you have a great Christmas."
But the authority has now caved and vowed to replace the tree just days before its Christmas lights are due to be switched on this Friday.
A new living tree will be put in place in the long-term, the council said.
The Christmas trees are planted in the ground and can be used again in future years, unlike traditional ones which are discarded.
This makes them a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option during the festive season.
But this means they require special care and attention in order to survive, including regular watering, proper soil and sunlight conditions, and protection from extreme temperatures and weather conditions.
‘Embarrassment and disgrace’
Local Emma, a team leader at the nearby Mottram Wood pub, said there was “nothing” Christmassy about the supposedly festive tree.
“It’s an embarrassment, it’s a disgrace," she said.
“I drive past it every day. It’s right next to Tesco by the pub. It looks very last minute. It looks half-dead.
“It’s not very Christmassy – there’s nothing Christmassy about it.
"I have an artificial one at home. It would have cost them £50 at a local shop for one, rather than that mess that they've put up. It’s ridiculous.”
The best date to put up your Christmas tree, according to experts (Yahoo Lifestyle)
One person on social media said the tree looked like it had been ‘attacked by a cat', adding: "My 5-year-old can’t stop laughing he thinks it’s a joke.
"He’s asking did they make the tree."
Another said: “Did you lose your Christmas Twig by any chance? If so I may have located it.”
A third joked: "Looks like they're paying for it in installments... So this time next year there could be a full tree."
Another mocked: "What you get when you order from wish."
A spokesman for Tameside Council said: “It’s a living tree that has been in place for a few years.
“A cut tree will be supplied for the Hattersley Christmas Lights switch on before it takes place on Friday.
“We are seeking sponsorship to replace the living tree and will seek a different species to help it thrive in this location.”
What is the traditional UK Christmas tree?
The Norway spruce is one of the most popular Christmas trees in the UK and has been used for more than 100 years in the country.
It is a coniferous evergreen tree that is native to northern and eastern Europe, and is characterised by its sharply pointed dark green needles which can grow up to 1 inch long.
One of the main advantages of the Norway spruce is that it has a classic Christmas tree shape, with a conical form that tapers towards the top.
It also has a strong pine scent, which many people associate with the festive holiday.
However, one of the main drawbacks of the Norway spruce is that it is prone to shedding its needles, which can be messy and require more maintenance.
Because of this tendency, many people now prefer to use other types of trees, such as the Nordmann fir, which has softer needles and better needle retention.
Native to the Caucasus Mountains of Russia and Georgia, this tree species is known for its symmetrical shape, glossy deep-green needles that are soft to the touch, and excellent needle retention.
The bestselling Christmas tree in the UK in 2022 was the Nordmann fir, according to the British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA).