Town’s Christmas display splits opinion with giant skiing marmot

Written by on 22/11/2019

A council has divided opinion among its residents after unveiling an unusual centrepiece for its Christmas display – a giant ear-muff wearing marmot on skis.

Alton Town Council in Hampshire has spent £20,000 on the display featuring the 16ft Alpine rodent, which has been nicknamed “Marmite” by town hall staff.

Some residents have questioned the choice, after last year’s display featured a more traditional Christmas-themed Santa hat, and queried the marmot’s links with the Christmas story.

Emma English wrote on the council’s Facebook page: “I just don’t understand! Whatever it is, it has no relevance to Christmas, it’s embarrassing and just plain ugly.

“I struggled to like the Christmas hat we had last year but this is another low.”

Francis Bower added: “So is this what we have paid for as a community? A fancy skiing giant rodent.

“Did the three wise men ride these instead of camels? Or did the shepherds watch their marmot flock by night?”

Other residents were more supportive, with Caroline Wren saying: “I think it’s fantastic, the children of Alton will love this and Christmas is for them after all.”

And Sara Cantello wrote: “I think Marmite is a great name for it because people will either love it or hate it, I think it’s great.”

A council spokeswoman said the design was chosen “to bring a smile to people’s faces, particularly the children”.

She added: “We realised that people were really keen to take selfies with it and it was definitely a talking point.

“Marmite this year is most certainly a talking point and has had over 25,000 views on our Facebook page alone.”

The spokeswoman said the marmot was chosen over alternative designs of giant baubles or a polar bear.

She explained: “The marmot was felt to be the most unusual, quirky, and was the best value.”

(c) Sky News 2019: Town’s Christmas display splits opinion with giant skiing marmot


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