This year’s “Christmas tree” at Churchill Square shopping centre has been labelled an embarrassment by shoppers.

The Christmas spirit in Brighton was already at a low point after it was announced the Christmas market was cancelled, and the lack of festive cheer at the city’s mall has pushed some people over the edge.

Churchill Square has scrapped its yearly Santa’s grotto and done away with the traditional tree in favour of a contemporary installation designed to “replicate the vibrancy and contemporary outlook of Brighton and Hove”.

Large green shards are suspended from the ceiling of the shopping centre, with shoppers invited to look up from beneath the structure from the ground floor.

The Argus: The Churchill Square Christmas grotto in 2019The Churchill Square Christmas grotto in 2019 (Image: The Argus)

The light- and dark-shaded green triangles are dotted around the complex in place of traditional decorations.

Ruth Meaden-Jones said in the Brighton People Facebook group: “Brighton doesn’t seem to know how to celebrate Christmas, or it doesn’t care, almost avoiding the occasion.

“It chose not to have a Christmas market this year. Missed a trick there financially and getting into the mood, and its decorations are the same recycled vacant slogans they use each year.

“The ‘Christmas tree’ in the mall represents Brighton’s efforts with Christmas: abstract, post-modern dull.

“Luckily we have Hove, which put up a fantastically tall real tree in Palmeira Square to set the scene.”

The Argus: The view from beneath the festive artworkThe view from beneath the festive artwork (Image: The Argus)

While Liz Whitaker said: “Oh Brighton, much as I love the city I was born in and lived in for most of my life, you have totally lost your way.

“That’s not Christmas, it’s not cosy and no one ever will say ‘Wow that tree is just fabulous’.”

Others meanwhile have not held back with their responses.

Hope Goble said: “I am so glad I got to experience the traditional Christmas times with all the proper magical things.

The Argus: The ceiling decorations in Churchill SquareThe ceiling decorations in Churchill Square (Image: The Argus)

“My son is experiencing the modern, s***y Christmassy times with avocado and hot dog baubles and green triangles that hang from a ceiling that couldn’t be further from the Christmas spirit.”

Graham Bradley added: "Why is everyone trying to reinvent Christmas?"

Cheryl Longman noted: "I’ve watched Final Destination enough to know not to walk under that."

While Nadine Stafford simply said: “What an embarrassment.”

The installation was made by James Glancy Design which is responsible for some of the UK’s most elaborate and beautiful Christmas displays, including in Regent Street and Carnaby Street, London, and the Trinity shopping centre in Leeds.

The Argus: One person said the decorations are 'embarrassing'One person said the decorations are 'embarrassing' (Image: The Argus)

READ MORE: Santa Bus to visit several Brighton and Hove locations this week

A description of the artwork in Churchill Square reads: “This contemporary scheme reimagines a Christmas tree as a series of fractal shards of light and colour, culminating in a sculptural atrium mobile.

“Constructed from vibrant, iridescent material, Fractal Christmas reflects the vibrancy and contemporary outlook of Brighton and Hove.”

James Glancy Design and Churchill Square were contacted for comment.