Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas is Here

The 65th Tree *
Since I was a child, going to Trafalgar Square to see the Christmas Tree, was always a highlight of Christmas. I am looking forward to seeing it again this year, an event which epitomises the season for me.

In 1940, when the Germans overran Norway, its King, Haakon VII, fled to Britain. While in exile in London, Haakon set up a government and planned his return to Norway once the war was over. He presented the first Christmas tree two days before Christmas in 1947 and promised one would be sent every year thereafter in gratitude for what England did for Norway between 1940-1945.
 
The First Tree in 1947
The tree arrives on or around the 6th December and is decorated in Norwegian style with 500 white lights.

Among the facts I didn't know, is that the tree is over 21 metres high and between115 and 120 years old when it is selected and felled from a forest outside Oslo, and takes five days to travel the 700 miles by boat to London.

This year, Oslo is also sending Norwegian spruces to Rotterdam and Reykjavik, and are all decorated with 500 individual white lights.


*Copyright Photograph  Christine Matthews

8 comments:

Caroline Clemmons said...

I had no idea of this information. Thanks, Anita, for the story.

Petrea Burchard said...

What a beautiful tradition. Although other English friends of mine tell me it's too cold for me, one of my fondest wishes is to spend the Christmas season in London.

Anita Davison said...

Christmas in London is magical, Petrea,taking in dinner and a show in the West End is a favourite. Last year we went on the London Eye on Christmas Eve and we felt like kids again. I hope you make it one day.

Jen Black said...

According to Nigel Slater yesterday, this year's tree is 170 years old.
Jen

Anita Davison said...

Hiya Jen - well maybe he was guessing, because I saw the programme where they went to Norway to choose one and drilled the trunk to count the rings and they said 115-120. Now if I could only remember which programme it was...

Ginger Simpson said...

Happy Holidays, Anita. It was nice to visit your blog again.

Melissa Marsh said...

I love this tradition, and the strong links between both of your countries. May it keep going for years and years to come!

Anita Davison said...

Thanks Ginger, and Melissa. I posted this because I realised recently that many people outside the UK don't know anything about the origins of this lovely tradition. Apart from Norway of course.

HNS

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