A Harvester in Milton Keynes has put up its Christmas tree – complete with baubles and tinsel – more than five months early.
Shocked customers were greeted by the festive decoration at the popular pub-restaurant this week and encouraged to book early for their Christmas lunch.
But with December 25 more than 150 days away some people felt it was all a bit too soon.
Some disgruntled customers didn’t share the festive spirit and took to social networking website Twitter to post pictures of the tree and vent their frustrations.
One of those customers, Lee Smith, 35, from Milton Keynes, said he was ‘absolutely appalled’ to see the festive decorations this early in the year.
He said: “There was also a table with baubles, and some lights, the tree was fully decorated.
“I saw a waitress and said to her instantly, ‘you can’t be serious?’
“She agreed that it was too early, and didn’t particularly agree with it either, but that it was company policy.
“I am always a stickler when it comes to Christmas, and believe it is the best time of the year.
“I can’t help that corporations keep pushing to get their products out early, and it appears to be more about greed and financial gain, than the true spirit of Christmas.
“I knew from the second I saw that tree that I had to get a photo of it and blow the whistle, so I posted it on Facebook.
“I instantly had multiple comments of horror. And people started to share my picture, then it was posted on Twitter.”
Lee, who works at a school for children with behaviour problems and learning difficulties, added: “I think November at the very least is an acceptable time to start preparing for Christmas.”
Harvester has since admitted that staff at the branch in Milton Keynes may have entered into the festive spirit a little early.
A spokeswoman said: “Our team at the Harvester Fountain have got into the Christmas spirit a little early this year.
“Although we realise not everyone wants to think about preparations quite yet some of our guests do like to get their Christmas booking plans underway, even in July.”
The tree went up on Sunday, was decorated on Monday but was then taken down yesterday (Wednesday).
The company later said its brief appearance was part of team training for the Christmas period and to raise awareness of the Harvester Christmas menu.
Last year an early Christmas tree appeared at a Harvester in Ashford, Kent, but that was a month later in August.