Oops! Watch as only half of Christmas tree lights up in front of London's Big Ben

It's the Christmas version of being caught with your pants down.

As a crowd gathered to watch the Christmas tree lighting near the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in London on Tuesday, many began to chuckle and poke fun when only half the tree lit up.

"Three, two one," the crowd counted down. And then bam, the star and the right side of the tree from base to top lit up. The left side flickered for a second and then turned off, immediately prompting laughter from the crowd.

It wasn't a total loss, though. The entire tree was lit up soon after. It is not yet known what caused the lights to malfunction, though it could easily have been a blown fuse.

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The tree is a 40-foot Sitka spruce

The Houses of Parliament's Christmas Tree is a 40-foot Sitka spruce from Kielder Forest, Northumberland, about 340 miles north of London. It was set up at the foot of Big Ben on Nov. 25, according to The Standard.

The 40-year-old pine was selected from among 150 million trees, said The Standard. Workers with Forestry England, which has provided free Christmas trees to Parliament for the past 20 years, workers felled this year's tree in early November.

What will happen to the Christmas tree after the holidays?

The tree will be recycled in January. It will be chipped and used for composting.

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Christmas tree fail: Only half of tree lights up in front of Big Ben