Jenners returns to roots with real Xmas tree
A REAL Christmas tree is to be put up in Jenners for the first time in four years as the department store returns to its traditional roots.
Bosses have decided to replace their giant fake tree with a 40ft Norwegian spruce from the Duke of Buccleuch's estate in the Borders.
The decision to tinker with one of Edinburgh's most famous yuletide spectacles raised eyebrows back in December 2003.
But the store's new owner, Highland Consortium, said the return of a real tree was not down to pressure from shoppers and visitors.
The Christmas display in Jenners' grand hall, which attracts crowds of visitors every year, has always included a tree decorated with thousands of lights and baubles.
Victoria Pitcher, press and promotions manager, and Ian Kirby, visual manager, chose the spruce during a recent visit to the Duke's forested estate in Bowhill, near Selkirk.
Ms Pitcher said: "Highland Consortium wanted to see a return to the traditional values of what Jenners is all about.
"There's nothing wrong with our fake tree - it is in fine fettle and it's in storage - but a real tree is more in keeping with Jenners values and we want to reflect that. I think everyone from staff to customers will be really excited by it."
The tree faces the chop in around two months, and will then be brought to the Capital by road.
Because of its size, the truck delivering the tree will be given a police escort, ensuring its journey goes smoothly on November 2.
Ms Pitcher said the new tree had been chosen for its foliage, density and shape of branches.
She added: "The tree we have chosen is a real Christmas cracker and has a wonderful shape and rich green colour, and of course has a fresh spruce smell from its foliage."
The store's main doors on Princes Street will be removed to enable the tree to be carried in when the store closes for business. Staff will then spend the night decorating it in time for the store's opening the following day.
However, Ms Pitcher kept the theme of the tree's decorations under wraps. She said: "It'll be visually stunning. I'm sure it will delight our existing customers who remember a real tree here as well as being a delight to our new customers and shoppers this Christmas time."
The fake tree - specially made to fit the grand hall - was the largest indoor tree in Europe when it was first erected in 2003.
Jenners bosses decided to ditch the tradition of having a real tree because, by Christmas Eve, the needles were starting to go brown and drop, after almost two months under the department store lights.
City Centre Tory councillor Joanna Mowat said: "I think it's good that Jenners are getting a Scottish tree in.
"With the new owners there is a feeling with some that Jenners isn't Jenners any more, so it's good to see them returning to tradition with this."
The tree will be on display from November 3 until December 29.
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