Montreal wanted a nice Christmas tree. A nice, tall Christmas tree. Something people would be proud to compare to the behemoth at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
What they got is more than 85 feet tall, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice.
But otherwise … well, it’s been described as “skinny and lopsided.”
As “a pretty sad excuse for a Christmas tree.”
As “scraggly,” “battered” and “dishevelled-looking.”
As “not beautiful.”
As — let’s not beat around the bush here — ugly.
It’s even been voted the ugliest Christmas tree in Canada.
Many Montreal residents have protested that the poor balsam fir doesn’t even have a star at the top.
There are a few defenders, of course, like the Montrealer who told the CBC that “it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
Or the columnist at the Montreal Gazette who wrote, “I’m grateful to the lean and hungry-looking tree that has attracted so much scorn, because the controversy made me think about ‘balsam.’
“The word turns out to have a strange and tangled story,” he writes. (And it’s true! It does. You should go read about it. It involves mummies, insanity and “blowing the Christmas pudding.”)
We here at The Two-Way have a soft spot for ugly Christmas trees. You may recall that in late 2014, the town of Reading, Pa., selected a similarly unloved Christmas tree. That one was a spruce — a “nasty,” “pathetic” and “ugly” spruce, according to the grinches.
But when the city decided to replace the sad conifer, the people of Reading changed their minds. They came to embrace the “underdog” tree, brightening it up with fresh decorations and treating it to a special reading of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
So maybe the good people of Montreal will discover a sliver of Christmastime love for their slim tree.
That same year, we asked you, our readers, to share photos of your own less-than-spectacular Christmas trees, with the caption #sadtree. Check out some highlights below — and feel free to send us more, if Montreal has you inspired.