“Sparse” Christmas tree lit up Trafalgar Square

Photo: Neringa Ruseckaite

Trafalgar Square’s Christmas tree finally got to shed its light on a chilly London on 5th December.

After days of preparation and waves of critique for the “anaemic” state of the tree, the lighting-up ceremony seems to have changed the minds of Londoners and ignited the Christmas spirit in the hearts of many. 

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Christmas starts in London

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The Christmas tree was presented to Londoners by Ruth Bush, The Lord Mayor of Westminster together with the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen, whose speech radiated pride and honour that the tree, once again, came from Norway. 

Those who joined the ceremony enjoyed Christmas carols played by the Salvation Army band and sang by the choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Poems from The Poetry Society could also be heard at the celebration.

There were some concerns about the wellbeing of the tree from the public prior to the ceremony. People tweeted that the tree is not good enough for London and that it looks too skinny. Some pondered if British politics may have insulted Norway in some way.

 

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However, much more positive opinions came out after the celebration and thankful tweets began filling up twitter feeds.

 

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The tree itself thanked those who gathered to watch the light-up. 

 

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The opinions of the last night’s attendees were quite positive as well. Mona, 57, shared with Voice of London: “beautiful tradition, beautiful tree!”. Maria, 28, and Thomas, 32, admitted: “We expected to see a very poor looking tree, but actually, it looks great. We had a great evening.” Diana, 22, felt that: “We should all be thankful to the Norwegian people and stop criticising the tree. It’s a normal tree, it looks just fine.”

Photo: Neringa Ruseckaite

Trafalgar Square’s Christmas tree lighting is a 72-year tradition. Every year since 1947 an 82-foot tree comes from the forests of Norway as a thank-you for the help the UK provided during World War II. The tree is always chopped in November, transported to London via boat and lorry and lit up on the first Thursday of December at 6 pm.

Starting on Monday 9th December and ending on Tuesday 24th December, over 40 Christmas carol groups will perform at Trafalgar Square. The performances will take place from 4-9 pm on weekdays, and from 2-7 pm on weekends. Everyone is welcome to join.

 

Words: Neringa Ruseckaite

Photos: Neringa Ruseckaite