That Christmas Tree

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree at night
Image from Time Out

As a child other than getting a Christmas Tree with my parents and sister. There was only one other tree that I would get excited about and that was the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square. As far as I was concerned, that Christmas Tree was the most magnificent tree. And as a very young child, the largest in the whole wide world.

A Gift for A King

What I find amazing about the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, even in the early 70’s and still today. Is the history behind it. Mons Urangsvåg (a navel commando), during a resistance raid on the Islet of Hisøy between Bergen and Haugesund in Norway, in 1942, came up with the idea of sending a tree to the Norwegian King, Haakon VII as a gift for Christmas. At the time exiled in Britain. So, Haugesund had one of the island’s trees cut down and sent to his King, placed on a tanker and conveyed to Britain. Where the King and the legitimate Norwegian government were exiled.

Norwegian Gratitude

Cue 1947. Every year since 1947 the Norwegian people and government has sent a large tree to the people of Britain. Which is set up in Trafalgar Square, London and decorated with lights. The lights are usually lit in the first week of December. And has become a symbolic symbol of Christmas in London. It still draws large crowds when the Christmas Tree lights are switched on.

The tree was sent to the people of Britain by the Norwegians as a gratitude for Britain’s support for Norway during World War Two. And it is a large tree. Probably still the largest I have ever seen. Standing usually over 20 metres high and at least 50 years old.

Why The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree is Still So Important

To me the tree in Trafalgar Square is still so important, not only is it still an integral part of the London Christmas scene. As seen in the movie Love Actually and Sainsbury’s Christmas in a Day. But to me it is also a symbol against oppression. The risk that few took, so that many could see a future and hope during the dark hours of World War Two and since then the importance of mutual alliance and gratitude. Is humbling.

We can learn so much from this particularly in the current climate of war in Eastern Europe and oppression we have seen recently particularly in Canada. That Christmas Tree, in Trafalgar Square, is a beacon of hope, collaboration and peace. Long may it remain.