Traditional Christmas quips as Trafalgar Square tree is lit up
Eighty-year-old spruce was axed by Westminster’s Lord Mayor on the outskirts of Oslo last month
03 December, 2021 — By Tom Foot
IN an annual tradition, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree was derided on the internet before the lights switch-on ceremony.
The mayors of Westminster and Oslo were last night (Thursday) due to flick the switch around 6pm – and schoolchildren to read poems about the touching tradition after taking part in the Poetry Society’s Look More Often project.
Each year young people from Westminster learn about the history of the trees that has been shipped from Norway since 1947.
It is the fulfillment of a promise from the Scandinavian state and a thank-you for support in the Second World War, when the King of Norway was given shelter from the Nazis.
This year’s 80-year-old tree was axed by Westminster’s Lord Mayor, Andrew Smith, on the outskirts of Oslo last month.
Every year, before the lights go up, the Norwegian spruce attracts attention on social media for its threadbare and spindly look.
This year’s comments, on Twitter, included these two: “looks like it got a trim from Boris Johnson’s barber”; while Cynthia Pinckney questioned: “Does anyone know what happened to the rest of it?”
An official Twitter account for the tree run by Westminster City Council, said: “I would like everyone to know that half of my branches are not missing – they are social distancing.”
The mayor, Cllr Smith, said: “I want to thank our friends in Oslo for their gift of this Christmas tree and the continuation of this long-held, collaborative tradition which represents history, friendship and hope.
“It’s a huge privilege to welcome the tree back to Trafalgar Square, and I look forward to hosting a brilliant tree-lighting ceremony that’s back with a bang, having had a year off due to Covid-19.
“I hope this Christmas tree will bring visitors back to our vibrant city and will be something people can visit and enjoy in the lead-up to the festive period.”
Last year’s switch-on ceremony was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.