The annual gift from the people of Oslo in Norway to London of a Christmas Tree has continued, as the tree was cut down yesterday (Fri 24th Nov) morning in woods in the northern part of Oslo.
Every year since 1947, the city of Oslo has gifted a tree to London, and it’s usually cut down at the end of November in a ceremony attended by the Mayors of Westminster and Oslo. The Christmas tree gift from Oslo to London is a significant part of the cities’ shared history, and the symbolism is as important today as it was 76 years ago. Over time, the gift has also evolved to represent more than just gratitude; it represents friendship between cities, peace, and solidarity.
Such traditions are important to hold on to in an otherwise unstable time.
These days, they also invite local schoolchildren to attend and sing carols, and after a ceremonial few chops of the tree by the dignitaries, the forest workers from Oslo’s Environment Agency do the actual work of cutting the tree down sensibly.
The tree was cut in a wood at Sørkedalen, a valley community frequently used as an entry point to Nordmarka, the large wilderness recreational area to the north of Oslo.
The Mayor of Oslo, Anne Lindboe and Lord Mayor of Westminster, Patricia McAllister joined the British Ambassador, Jan Thompson for the event, and apart from the tree, which is now being shipped to London, they were presented with slices from the tree as keepsakes.
The tree will be installed in Trafalgar Square, and the tree lighting ceremony will take place on 7th December at 6pm, followed shortly by the annual ceremony of the Twitter Whingers complaining about the tree.
The tree is usually taken down until just before Twelfth Night when it sent for recycling into compost — but now I can’t help thinking that chopping it into slices and selling them for charity would be a nice idea.