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A Brief History: Rockin’ Around The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

A Brief History: Rockin’ Around The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree


Before we get started with this article, we thought we would see if you can pass these simple festive quiz questions about the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree.


  1. Which country sends a Christmas tree to London?
  2. How many years have they been giving it to us?
  3. How many light bulbs does is it normally decorated with?


We couldn’t think of any good place to put the answers so here they are: Norway has been giving us a Christmas tree for the past 75 years and it’s normally decked with 500 bulbs. The alpine present has been gifted to us since 1947 as a token of gratitude for supporting Norway during the Second World War.


The first tree was cut down by navel commando Mons Urangsvåg in 1942 during a resistance raid on the Norwegian island of Hisøy. It was Mons’ idea that the tree should be transported to England and given as a gift to the Norwegian King who was in exile there. You can still visit the tiny island off the west coast by boat – and for those who are interested, the stump is apparently in great health with a new tree growing out of it.


Typically, the Norwegians choose a 50 to 60-year-old Norway spruce, more than 20 metres tall. It’s cut down in November, during a ceremony attended by the British Ambassador to Norway, Mayor of Oslo, and Lord Mayor of Westminster. It’s then decorated in a traditional Norwegian style with the lights running vertically down, normally with around 500 white bulbs. When the time comes to take it down, the tree is chipped and composted, to make mulch.


The grand fir stays in place for the twelve days of Christmas, coming down on 6 January. Unfortunately, on reading this, you’ll have missed the erection of the tree, which always happens on the first Thursday of December. But if you weren’t there, you can still enjoy the carol singing. The tree becomes the backdrop for carollers who are raising money for different charitable organisations. How festive. It seems that this majestic fir is the gift that keeps on giving.