Asbury Park's cardboard Christmas tree sparks criticism, controversy

The idea was to replace it with something different, something unique, artsy and edgy, like Asbury itself.

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Asbury Park's cardboard Christmas tree sparks criticism, controversy
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This holiday season, a Jersey Shore town has replaced its traditional live Christmas tree with something more unconventional.

ASBURY PARK, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Changing tradition can come with criticism, especially when it comes to the holidays.

A Jersey Shore town has replaced its traditional live Christmas tree with something more unconventional.

Asbury Park's new cardboard Christmas tree has been called "awesome" and "brilliant," but also "hideous" and "ridiculous."

Officials decided there wasn't going to be a fresh-cut tree at the Grand Arcade at Convention Hall on Asbury Park's historic boardwalk this year.

The idea was to replace it with something different, something unique, artsy and edgy, like Asbury itself.

"Anybody can find a problem with anything, I guess," said Bradley Hoffer, one of the artists. "I think the criticism is hilarious."

"The thing is, if nobody was talking about it, then we failed," said the other artist Mike Lavallee, who is known as "Porkchop." "Even if people hate it, it stirred something up. So it must be working."

That's the point of art, they add.

Their conversation piece features local nods to Asbury's music and architecture and location near the ocean.

They call their 17-foot creation "The Giving Tree," because it's centered on events that give back.

It's made of recycled cardboard and after the holidays, it will likely get recycled again.