READING, Pa. (CNN) – A town Christmas tree in Pennsylvania has been called everything from pathetic to ugly. But now, the skimpy spruce has been given new life, channeling one of the most famous Christmas trees in history.
It is one of the most beloved holiday stories of our time, now the cartoon “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has come to life in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Over the past few weeks, Reading’s less than luscious tree has been the brunt of jokes on a local and national scale. Some say it is so ugly even the birds won’t hang on to it because they are scared. The branches are sparse and falling off.
Reading officials were going to take the tree down, but instead dedicated it in a ceremony Sunday and adorned it with a single red ornament, just like in the cartoon.
Reading City Council President Francis Acosta he is expecting visitors from near and far to make the trip to his town to get a look at the famous tree.
Pat and Michael DeAnthony traveled 70 miles from New Jersey to see the tree.
“I just started to cry when they said they were taking it down, so it just makes you feel so happy inside,” DeAnthony said.
Officials say the tourism will help the city that the Census Bureau has identified as one of the poorest in the country.
“They will be able to stay at our hotels, eat, and shop here,” Acosta said.
A local hockey team has donated ornaments to help spruce up the tree just as the Peanuts characters did to decorate Charlie Brown’s tree in the cartoon.