London, we need to talk. We need to talk about Christmas trees. We love a good Christmas tree here at Londonist; we've already been snapping them for weeks, and we do get excited when a new one goes up. But very occasionally we get news of a new Christmas tree which disappoints us. Allow us to present London's most ridiculous 2017 Christmas trees:
Claridge's Upside Down Tree
We'll start with the tamest of the culprits; Claridge's upside down tree. We've always had a lot of respect for Claridge's Christmas offerings; it's the sort of place that carries Christmas off very well; classy and sophisticated, if sometimes a touch outlandish.
This year, the lobby has been taken over by an upside down Christmas tree. Instead of exuding out of that classy chequerboard floor (let's face it, emerging from the ground is pretty much a prerequisite of being a tree), it's dangling from the ceiling, roots akimbo. The 'installation' is designed by Karl Lagerfeld, and one of the lobby's chic chandeliers has also been replaced with an inverted tree.
That said, at least it's a rough approximation of a tree, which is more than can be said for some of the entries on this list.
You can check out Claridge's previous Christmas trees here.
Hotels, for some reason, seem to be the worst culprits when it comes to outlandish Christmas trees. Case in point, Shoreditch's Ace Hotel, whose press release informs us that:
This year’s Lobby Christmas Tree will be a video projection of a spruce tree during Norway’s first snowfall, made by acclaimed photographer and film-maker Sebastian Ziegler. The lobby will also be decorated in real spruce branches and will have a pine scent created Haeckels and brand new forest-inspired food and beverage offerings.
If you want something that looks like a tree, smells like a tree, and has tree branches, what you want is a tree. A TREE.
We can see where they're coming from with this one; it's an origami tree, a blending of Japanese culture (Nobu is a Japanese brand) with British tradition. There's no doubt it's skilfully designed, coming courtesy of Stratford-based Papershake Origami — but it doesn't exactly scream festive cheer and warm winter wishes, does it? Give us pine needles and tinsel any day.
Yep, another hotel. At least Sanderson's tree takes the shape of a tree, even if it's made entirely of plasticine. It's a creation of artist and set designed Gary Card. Still, it's quirky and whimsical, which is exactly what you'd expect from the hotel serving up Mad Hatter's afternoon tea.
The V&A's Singing Tree
#SoundsLikeChristmas is the theme of the festivities at the V&A Museum this year, the highlight of which is The Singing Tree. The problem with that? It's not a tree. We repeat: Not. A. Tree. It's another 'installation', a screen on which shapes will be created out of the words used by visitors to the V&A. They're asking for festive word contributions — let's hope they've got some sort of filter on it to stop that tree turning blue.
This is Aqua Shard's 2017 Christmas tree. At first it looks like mini reproduction of The Shard, but look closer; it's actually "245 individual hand-crafted Shard shaped pendant lights" which are available to buy once Christmas is over. At £150 each, they're not cheap, but all money raised will go to two Red Cross programmes; the UK Solidarity Fund which raises funds for those affected by terrorism in the UK, and the London Fire Relief Fund which helps those in need affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower.
Let's face it, if you're paying that much for your dinner, you don't want to be dodging pine needles the whole evening anyway.
The Memory Tree
Look out for this one down on South Bank (4-17 December). It's powered by people using a certain hashtag on social media, shining brighter the more times the hashtag is used. It's a blatant PR stunt, but given that it's raising awareness for terminal illness charity Marie Curie, we reckon it's OK — we may even post a tweet or two ourselves. That all important hashtag is #LightUpXmas, with people asked to share their memories on Twitter and Instagram.
Granary Square King's Cross
As a piece of public art, we quite like this offering from Granary Square, round the back of King's Cross station; it's colourful, it brightens up the otherwise grey square. But as a Christmas tree? No no no. The accompanying information does little to redeem it, describing it as an artwork with the title DOES THE ITERATIVE FIT (no question mark, and the capitals are important, apparently). It also comes with 'alternative festive audio' — so you know where to get when you can't take any more Noddy Holder.
Seen any more ridiculous trees in London? Got a favourite? Let us know in the comments. Don't worry, we're not complete Scrooges — we'll be bringing you some photos of our favourite Christmas trees in London soon. In the mean time, follow us on Instagram for your dose of all things festive, and plan your festive activities using our Christmas in London page.