Montreal, QC- After making headlines worldwide last year for the Christmas tree many referred to as “fugly,” “wack” and “definitely Hillary Clinton’s fault,” Montreal has decided to fully embrace the “flawsome” theme, staging an entire holiday village featuring a brand new ugly Christmas tree that’s actually just a giant freakin’ pylon.
“We were really surprised to receive such a huge response,” remarked Renee, a city representative, referring to the “WTF” heard around the globe in reaction to 2016’s flaccid Yuletide showpiece. “And despite some criticism, we realized this was an opportunity to really showcase Montreal’s character,” she said. “We wanted to spread the message of self-acceptance while sourcing materials as locally as possible, and we’re thrilled to have found a perfectly imperfect tree that’s simply a massive goddamn traffic cone.”
The representative explained that the charming Christmas installation, loosely translated as “Mindfuck Nightmare Village,” is meant to challenge society’s preconceived notions of beauty and encourage authenticity.
“We want people to walk through and realize it’s okay for things not to be ideal,” she said, “Which is why the grounds of the village will be rife with jagged, cavernous potholes,” she continued, smiling. “If someone comes out on the other side with a lopsided tree, a new perspective or an irreparable bodily injury resulting in job loss, well, that’s the real magic of Christmas.”
The village — and its charming 20-foot centrepiece, which is merely an oversized orange tube with Canadian Tire money haphazardly taped to the sides — is getting mixed reviews from Montrealers.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic,” said James, 32, of Notre-Dame-de-Grace. “As a dad I’m always trying to show my kids that life isn’t supposed to be neatly packaged and polished,” he explained. “From the moment we stepped into the village, I looked into my children’s eyes and saw them really start to understand that to exist is merely to decay,” he chuckled. “Seeing all this ugliness really helped them see that beneath the exhausting charade of happiness, true beauty does not exist and our humanity itself is hideous, vapid and, at its very core, broken beyond repair,” he went on, popping a marshmallow into his mouth. “They thought the selfie stick was pretty cool, too.”
Area business owner Nancy, 28, argues the village could use some improvement.
“I appreciate what they’re trying to do here, but I just don’t think it captures the true quirkiness of our city,” said Nancy. “For starters, each and every vendor is accessible. You’d think they could have at least totally decimated the sidewalk in front of the village bar and forced patrons to walk over a single unsecured plank to get to their hot chocolate,” she said. “Also, the line-ups for activities were really efficient. It would have been nice if they blocked off all but one and filled the surrounding lanes with signs that say ‘Nobody loves you,’” she remarked. “I did notice they replaced the traditional fire pits with large patches of steaming, fetid asphalt, though. So that was nice.”
Despite some tepid feedback, most patrons seemed to be enjoying themselves.
“I just went through the obstacle course!” exclaimed Priya, 10, of Westmount, gesturing to the inexplicable trail of hazardous rubble winding through the village. “It was awesome!”
Organizers say the positive response bodes well for expansion of the village in 2018, and plans are already being made to completely shut down St-Laurent Boulevard for the entire month of December next year. ■