The unofficial X account of Woody, a giant, animatronic Christmas tree in Nova Scotia’s Mic Mac Mall, announced its presence with a three-word post last month: “I’m back, birches.”
The famed, talking tree has been equally delighting and terrifying children for decades. In 2007, Woody was retired due to safety concerns related to much-needed repairs. When the mall was placed under new ownership, Woody made its return in 2021 with a slightly less terrifying face.
While locally beloved and feared, Woody is also internationally known and has been the fodder of late-night hosts like Jimmy Fallon, who compared Woody to a holiday figure in an episode of Squid Game, and covered on major networks like CNN.
The curious spectacle even made it into the pages of satirical news site, The Beaverton, in 2021. The headline promised that the giant tree would “only eat ‘3 to 4 kids, max’” that holiday season.
This year, however, the tree’s apparent appetite for Cinnabon is being documented on social media.
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Mall visitors have been sharing snapshots of themselves offering the treats “as a sacrifice” to Woody.
The trend goes back to at least 2021 but seems to have ratcheted up a level this year.
While the official X account of Woody makes no mention of Cinnabon, the unofficial account, which is the gathering place for all jokes and memes related to the tree, has been reposting its Cinnabon offerings to its more than 12,000 followers, and the trend is catching on.
“Staff at the Dartmouth mall are probably wondering why people are offering Cinnabons to woody,” reads one post recently reshared by the account.
“Obviously because offering him children still has become frowned upon,” noted a reply.
It’s not just baked goods that loyal Woody fans offer up to the tree, homemade ornaments, signs and sweaters adorned with Woody’s likeness can also be seen on social media.
The Mic Mac Mall even maintains a Woody Merchandise Shop, where fans can pick up Woody hoodies, T-shirts, stocking stuffers and other collectibles, while quantities last.
Woody is also not the only talking Christmas tree on the East Coast. Newfoundland’s Avalon Mall is home to its own version, Happy Tree. Like Woody, Happy Tree has also dealt with technical issues over the years. The Canadian Press reported last year that Happy Tree was experiencing difficulties operating its large eyeballs and cavernous mouth.
“There has been a bit of a hiccup with the opening and closing of Happy Tree’s eyes, but this does not impact the experience of visiting him,” said Donna Vincent, general manager at the Avalon Mall. Vincent added that the Happy Tree is “all about community and holiday magic,” and it would likely be friends with Woody.
While both trees are voiced by someone sitting out of sight, the logistics of operating Happy Tree were revisited in recent years. Now, someone sits in a nearby gift box with a microphone to give Happy a voice, while also watching a camera feed so they can see and respond to visitors.
“The original design has ventilation and everything because this poor guy was in there for hours,” said Erin Smith, the president of Display Arts of Toronto, which built the Happy Tree in 2011. “Imagine how hot it can get.”
Shoppers in Nova Scotia can continue to visit Woody right up until Christmas Eve, with its scheduled talking time running Monday to Saturday from noon until 7 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 5 p.m.
For your own safety, though, it might be best to visit with a snack.
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