London’s Christmas Tree

London’s Christmas tree is a 20-metre-high Norwegian spruce selected every year from the forests around Oslo. It is decorated with vertical strings of lights in the traditional Norwegian fashion. The practice of this Scandinavian tradition in the heart of London dates back to World War II, when Britain helped liberate Norway from Nazi occupation. To thank Britain, since 1947, Norway has given London its Christmas tree. This year the spruce was cut down by the Lord Mayor of Westminster and the Mayor of Oslo with the help of local schoolchildren. It was then transported to London, first by boat and then by lorry.

This year, though, something seems to have gone wrong. The spruce looks scrawny, neglected and sparse. This provoked much chatter on social media. One person asked whether England had done something to “upset Norway.” Could it be, someone else suggested, revenge for Manchester United’s sacking of its Norwegian manager, Gunnar Solskjaer? The jokes about the tree continued in rapid fire. “Only half of it arrived.” “Does anyone know what happened to the rest of it?” “Have we gone to war with Norway?”

Luckily, Londoners seem to have taken the situation in good humour, much like the people of Rome did a few years back when a similarly scrawny Christmas tree, nicknamed ‘Spelacchio’, was erected in Rome.

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Carlo Dellonte

(Crediti immagini: Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

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