A CHRISTMAS tree has been spotted – 105 days before December 25.

Decked out with baubles, fairy lights and a gold star, the tree appeared in the lobby of The Old Ship hotel on Brighton seafront last week.

Manager Jason Bramwell said: “It’s never too early. I know it’s 105 days before Christmas – but it’s not long now. I’m feeling Christmassy.”

Mr Bramwell said he will be catering for some 2,500 dinners over the holiday season, and hopes to encourage customers to book their tables for Christmas dinner. He began putting together brochures for the meals in May.

He said: “People in the hospitality sector have to start thinking now. Christmas is an all-year-round event for the hotel.”

Mr Bramwell said the image of the tree went viral after someone took a photo.

Many have been left baffled – and some are outraged by the premature decoration. At a nearby bus stop in Brighton, Thea Beddingfield, 73, said: “I think this is disgusting. It’s not about Christmas any more. It’s about greed and getting products sold. These people aren’t thinking about the true meaning of Christmas. It’s inappropriate – it’s just wrong.”

Mr Bramwell defended the move, saying it was “the best form of free advertising we can do”.

He said: “It’s great you are asking about the Christmas tree in the hotel lobby as this means it’s doing the job – getting people thinking about Christmas, and that’s what we want.”

Mr Bramwell said it is common for people to prepare for the holiday well in advance.

He said: “Christmas parties generally start getting booked and thought about seriously after the summer holidays. The Old Ship will literally serve thousands of Christmas dinners, so to get all those party places secured in a consistently competitive market, we tend to think of unusual ways to tell people about what we do.”