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.
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.
— Andy Snapes (@AndySnapes) December 5, 2019
#ThursdayThoughts The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has arrived in London, but some people are concerned it is looking. At least it doesn’t need to worry about eating too much Xmas dinner!
— Mark (@MrFluorescent) December 5, 2019
Did Boris somehow annoy Norway?
— Flit (@FlitGalla) December 5, 2019
Trafalgar Square. A favourite place of mine. Why did the fat city of Oslo give such a skinny Christmas tree to London this year? I am embarrassed . Hopefully better next year.
Merry Christmas, my dear British friends.🇬🇧🇳🇴🇬🇧
— Fredrik Hirsch 🇳🇴 (@FredrikHirsch) December 5, 2019
This Norwegian Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square is an insult to the British people. https://t.co/r9rLdEtD3c
— Fjordman (@Fjordman1) December 5, 2019
However, much more positive opinions came out after the celebration and thankful tweets began filling up twitter feeds.
Thank you Norway 🇳🇴 for our lovely Christmas Tree 🎄in #TrafalgarSquare
— Louise Ellis Davies 🌹💚☮ (@louanndavies) December 5, 2019
Thank you @NorwayinUK for the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, London. Please ignore the ingrates, there is little we can do about them. God Jul.
— Rena (@ElCoso8) December 5, 2019
My great grandad Bell fought in WW2 and parachuted into Norway to help them in their fight. It always makes me so happy to see the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square go up every year as a gift from Norway to say thank you ☺❤🎖
— olivia ✨ (@livatronn) December 5, 2019
@NorwayinUK Thank you for the lovely Trafalgar Square Christmas tree 🎄❤🐭
— Morris Mouse (@MorrisMouse_PA) December 5, 2019
The tree itself thanked those who gathered to watch the light-up.
I would like to thank all the very many people who came to Trafalgar Square to see me lit up this evening. As we all heard I am a symbol of love and friendship between our nations. Happy Christmas/God Jul 🇳🇴 🇬🇧
— Trafalgar Square Tree (@trafalgartree) December 5, 2019
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.”
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