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Every year since 1947, the Norwegian government has gifted the City of London with a giant Xmas tree, donated as a sign of gratitude that recognises Britain's support for the country during World War 2.
The tree is felled in a special ceremony in Oslo every year which is attended by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the British ambassador to Norway and the Mayor of Oslo, before being shipped to London by sea and decorated in Trafalgar Square in traditional Norwegian fashion.
The ceremony has become an integral part of the capital's Christmas preparations, but this year people have been underwhelmed by the threadbare-looking tree currently residing in the Square.
Londoners have complained that the 78ft tree looks 'flea-bitten' and 'hungover' this year, with many asking 'where's the rest of it?'
Twitter users heaped scorn on the tree and made fun of the particularly British naffness of the whole thing.
One user tweeted that 'this tree pretty much sums up the state of the country right now', with others quipping that it reminded them of 'Brexit if it were a tree'.
One said: "Brexit tree. Promised so much to some but totally let down and now an embarrassment to the country and the rest of the world."
Another agreed: "I can't help feeling that this is some kind of depressing metaphor for the state of the country. Ours, obviously, not Norway."
Interflora clearly forgot to include the little sachet of plant feed.
- Fin :flag_ee: (@TheHillBilly) December 1, 2021
Others saw the tree as proof that 'even Norway hates us now,' while others theorized that the half-hearted effort was revenge for Man United's sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager.
One user wrote: "Norway with the king move of disrespecting the UK."
Another joked: "Have we gone to war with Norway?"
Norway with the king move of disrespecting the UK :crown: https://t.co/pBc3ysZZ7a- Digit but Christmas (@didj1t) December 2, 2021
But despite its 'neglected' appearance not everybody was down on the tree, with many still looking forward to seeing it in lights.
One person said: "So many nasty comments. People on social media can be really hateful. I think it's lovely that the people of Norway are still keeping up this tradition. It wouldn't be Christmas in London without you!"
An official account for the tree responded to the criticism with good humour, tweeting: 'I would like everyone to know that half of my branches are not missing..... they are #SocialDistancing.
I would like everyone to know that half of my branches are not missing..... they are #SocialDistancing. Remember to #StaySafe this #Christmas and wear a face covering (unless exempt) on public transport and while inside shops #TrafalgarTree :christmas_tree::mask:
- Trafalgar Square Tree (@trafalgartree) December 1, 2021
"Remember to #StaySafe this #Christmas and wear a face covering (unless exempt) on public transport and while inside shops #TrafalgarTree."
But although it appeared to take the insults on the chin, the account reminded people to be kind.
"It costs nothing to be nice, even to a tree," it said.