Westminster Council will still be spreading Christmas cheer this year, by installing the annual Christmas Tree gift from Norway in Trafalgar Square, despite challenges faced by Covid-19.
The tree, a gift from the people of Oslo as a thank you for the United Kingdom’s support to Norway during the Second World War, was cut down on Tuesday (17 November 2020) in the traditional tree felling ceremony in the forest outside of Oslo.
Normally, the tree felling ceremony is attended by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Jonathan Glanz, but this year he was unable to attend due to Covid-19 restrictions. The British Ambassador to Norway, Richard Wood represented the Lord Mayor and the people of Westminster by helping cut down the tree, along with the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen and school children from Maridalen school in Oslo, who all witnessed the tree begin its journey to London, ready to be up and lit in time for Christmas.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the traditional tree lighting ceremony in Trafalgar Square will not be taking place this year. However, all those people who love this festive tradition can still be involved – there will be a virtual ceremony to celebrate the tree being lit.
This virtual ceremony will include messages from the Lord Mayor of Westminster and the Mayor of Oslo, the history behind the gift of the tree, footage of the journey and logistics involved in transporting the 2-tonne tree from Norway to London, performances from the Salvation Army, the Poetry Society and the St Martin-in-the-Fields Choir.
The tree, which is generally thought of as the ‘nation’s Christmas Tree’, is a symbol of enduring friendship and international co-operation with Norway. Once the tree arrives in London, it is decorated with Christmas lights – and this symbolism is reflected in the way the tree is chosen and decorated, which is in a traditional Norwegian manner.
The Lord Mayor Of Westminster, Cllr Jonathan Glanz said:
“This is the first time since 1947 that we have had to do things differently, but the public’s safety comes first.
“I look forward to hosting a brilliant virtual ceremony for the public to enjoy safely from the comfort of their own homes, to say thank you to our friends in Oslo for their gift of this tree and to properly mark the nation’s Christmas Tree arriving to take pride of place in Trafalgar Square.
“Now more than ever it is important to come together and celebrate this much-loved Christmas tradition, to bring everyone some festive cheer at the end of a difficult year.”
The virtual tree lighting ceremony will take place on Thursday 3rd December 2020 at 6pm, via YouTube and Facebook.
To find out more about the progress of this year’s Christmas Tree and where to watch the virtual ceremony please visit: westminster.gov.uk/trafalgar-square-christmas-tree
Please contact the media team for more information about possible interviews with the Lord Mayor and filming opportunities of the lit Christmas Tree, which will happen on Friday 4th December 2020.
Notes to Editors
The Trafalgar Christmas tree has its own Twitter account. To find out the latest updates on the tree, please follow @trafalgartree
Each year, a Norwegian spruce is sent to Trafalgar Square for the Christmas period. The tree is shipped by the Norwegian authorities, including the Mayor of Oslo’s Office.
The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree ceremony is organised by the Lord Mayors Office at Westminster City Council and is funded by Westminster City Council.
The decision to move to a virtual ceremony was agreed following consultations with the Mayor of Oslo, the Norwegian Embassy in London, the Greater London Authority and Westminster City Council.