Walthamstow has a tradition, a special something that happens at Christmas time that keeps us locals amused. If you visit the top of the High street from mid November onwards, our wonky Christmas tree can easily be found. Isolated from the rest of the E17 Christmas effort, it occupies a corner of the old arcade site and always has a pronounced lean. Sometimes it wonks towards Hoe Street, and sometimes it wonks up hill and points towards the village, but whichever way it leans, standing on its own it always attracts a fair bit of attention. The tree is accompanied by a surrounding fence to stop it from getting vandalised, I say fence but it’s really a barrier, the same kind that get used to hold back crowds and looks anything but festive.
I bang on about how great Walthamstow is all the time, and this year the wonky tree and barrier gave rise to a community project that shows exactly why I love it here. Bored with the bland barrier, someone suggested taking some decorations up to the tree and cheering it up a little. One Sunday evening the first brave souls ventured out in to the night and added some tinsel to the barrier. The project soon took off, it got its very own #E17xmastree hash tag on twitter and more decorations started to appear.
We visited the tree on a cold Thursday night, armed with a bag of tinsel we met some other guerilla decorators and added some sparkle of our own. I’ve taken part in a number of odd things in my time, but even for me decorating a public tree in the dark felt a little bit bonkers, it was also great fun. As expected there are people who steal the decorations from the barrier, but there is also a steady stream of people adding more to it. I walked past the tree today and saw a family working on it, the kids were positively giddy with excitement. There isn’t a design scheme or master plan, it’s just people having a bit of fun and brightening the wonky tree up, and I for one think it’s bloody brilliant.