Posts Tagged ‘trafalgar square’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on December 3, 2009 at 5:50 am
Filed under: christmas, trafalgar square

The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

One of London’s perennial Christmas delights is the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square [map]. It’s a fairly modern tradition for the capital – only 63 years old – but it’s difficult to imagine the Square at Christmas without it.

trafalgar-square-christmas-tree

Every year since 1947, the people of Oslo have donated a Christmas tree to London, in gratitude for British help to Norway in the Second World War.

The pine tree is usually a 50 or 60 year old tree, over 20 metres high, and till November, it was growing in the forests around Oslo. It’s cut down, shipped to the UK, and finally erected in the square by hydraulic crane.

It’s decorated with 500 white lights – that’s the traditional Norwegian style. No dangling Santa Clauses, flashing blue lights, or pink baubles. Just a wonderful shimmer of white – from noon till midnight every day until Twelfth Night.

One of my favourite flaneries this time of year: find some roast chestnuts (usually a vendor in sight somewhere in the West End), wander down to Trafalgar Square with them warming my gloved hands, peel off gloves, peel off chestnuts, and listen to the carol singing around the Christmas tree. It couldn’t get better… unless of course it snows, when the wispy snowflakes drifting down just make it that little bit more, well, Christmassy.

(Much though I love this tree, I hate our habit of chopping down trees for Christmas. What a waste of a splendid life, I think, when I see the bedraggled carcases of abandoned Christmas trees in wheelie bins and black bags sitting on the pavement waiting to be collected. But the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has a more useful end – it will be chipped and composted to make mulch for gardens.)

Photo by Wolf Savard on flickr

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