Whole planet (well, some of it) gangs up on Christmas tree

Lismore's wonky Christmas tree
Lismore's wonky Christmas tree

UPDATE 8.25pm: IT'S the wonky Christmas tree versus the world.

The Daily Mail has now joined the attacks on our beleaguered tree, with the headline/precis: "Is this the world's most pathetic Christmas tree? Council under fire for decorating 10m tree - dubbed the Leaning Tree of Lismore - in the middle of a roundabout."

The report then goes on to trawl Facebook for comments from people who dislike the tree.

Meanwhile, in Peru, where they know a bit about trees what with the whole Amazon thing, Northern Star reporter Marnie Johnston's tour of the world has been interrupted with sniggers about our poor Christmas tree.

Paul McCarthy's artwork has made some passers-by uncomfortable
Paul McCarthy's artwork has made some passers-by uncomfortable INM

"In Peru at dinner and one of my tour mates leans over and says: 'Hey Marnie, aren't you from Lismore? Your Christmas tree has made the news'," Marnie wrote.

"Haven't giggled that hard in a while..."

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, whose quote about the tree being "a bit bent, like Lismore" has proved quite popular with the world's press, says she's also heard of the story and her one-liner cropping up in London and Europe.

Still, it could be worse.

A giant inflatable Christmas tree set up in Paris recently came under fire for looking more like an oversized sex toy than a Christmas tree. Some irate Parisian eventually took to it with something sharp and deflated it.

Meanwhile, local support for the wonky Christmas tree remains solid with 61% of poll respondents saying they prefer it to a regular Christmas tree.

UPDATE, 6.15am, Friday: NORTHERN Rivers residents are sticking up for Lismore's wonky Christmas tree after NewsCorp tagged it as the state's worst.

In our online poll, 60% of respondents now say they'd rather have the humble Cook pine than the same dolled-up conifer everyone else uses to mark Christmas.

"At least our tree is a real tree, not some fake thing," summed up Carol Ann in the ongoing discussion on The Northern Star's Facebook page.

Kerry Batchelor pointed out the wonky Christmas tree was doing pretty well considering its location.

"A lot of negativity about the tree today from people," she said. "How would you hold up if you were battered by extreme weather and idiots destroying parts of the tree and nicking decos that the council put up.

The lighting of Casino's Christmas tree on December 4, 2014.
The lighting of Casino's Christmas tree on December 4, 2014. Leanne Albert

"At least we do have a tree all year round and that has put up with so much in the past."

And, look, while many Lismore resident's are proud of their wonky Christmas tree, there's no denying Casino's more conventional version, which was lit up last night with a ceremony and a fireworks display, is pretty special too.

"Lismore's tree is a JOKE a round of applause to Richmond Valley Council GORGEOUS Christmas Tree and FIRE WORKS to boot," proud Casino resident "Christmas" Carol Young posted. 

"We might be a smaller town and a lot of Lismore people get off putting Casino down but whom has the best tree out of Casino and Lismore?

"Well from the feedback from our worldwide friends Casino wins hands down!"

And, no matter what you think about them, it's hard to deny both Casino and Lismore are better off in the Christmas tree department than Byron Bay.

Gerry Bertoli, a Christmas institution at Suffolk Park thanks to the massive light-up she and husband Terry do each year, pointed out Byron once again had "NO tree and NO christmas lights NO decorations".

Byron's Christmas tree disappeared in 2010 after the town's business chamber - Byron United - decided it no longer wanted to fork out the $12,000 it said it cost to put the tree up and that it would sell it.

The town had had the Christmas tree only three years when the decision to scrap it was made, with hundreds of people turning out for its first lighting up ceremony.


UPDATE 7.13pm: THIS may come as a shock, but given the choice between frivolous glamour or real character, Rupert Murdoch's minions at The Daily Telegraph are all for froth and bubble.

The journos at the Daily Telegraph need to do some work on the whole "Christmas spirit" thing.
The journos at the Daily Telegraph need to do some work on the whole "Christmas spirit" thing.

The Telegraph has today run its own story on Lismore's wonky Christmas tree, meanly branding it "the worst in the state".

The report suggests Lismore "should take some guidance" from the people who decorated the fancy Christmas tree in Sydney's Martin Place.

Mind you, we Northern Rivers folk don't mind a little glitz ourselves.

A poll running within this page asks people whether they would prefer the wonky Christmas tree as-is or something a little more conventional.

So far most have voted for the wonky tree - but it's a close thing, with 48% saying they'd prefer something more conventionally pretty.

Still, the voting is far from over. 

6am: AS far as Christmas trees go, Lismore's wonky town centrepiece has more character than most but many are calling for a re-style.

"It's a bit bent, much like Lismore itself," Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said.

The 10m high tree, also known as the Leaning Tree of Lismore, is actually a Cook Pine (Araucaria columnaris) that grows with a natural screw or "s" shape and tends to lean.

Council workers decorated the tree last Thursday, installing 64metres of garlands and 20 decorations and the reaction on social media was instantaneous - some describing the tree as an eyesore while others felt it was wonderful and quirky.

"It looks like a preschooler decorated it," one local quipped on The Northern Star's Facebook page.

"I think the its the quality of decorating thats the issue. Always looks like they shoot the decos out of a canon at it," said another.

Many observers called on the council to update the decorations and Cr Dowell, who said the decorations are at least a decade old, said it was a move she supported.

"Every year I ask council to invest in better decorations, and I understand there has been a decision by the Lismore Business Panel to purchase fairy lights for the town centre, but I don't know when that will happen," she said.

"I agree the tree could do with a lot of attention, some new tinsel at least, but it is a matter of priorities.

"If we invest in new decorations, someone will then say we should have spent the money on something else."

Council staff estimated the decorations on the tree are worth about $4000-$5000.

Topics:  christmas controversy editors picks tree

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