My Little Norway

Discover the kingdom of the north

A Christmas Tree Gift for the United Kingdom

For every Christmas Norway sends a giant Norwegian spruce tree to their British friends. It is a symbol of Norwegian gratitude towards the United Kingdom for preserving Norwegian liberty. During the Second World War, King Haakon VII escaped to England as the Germans invaded Norway in 1940. This enabled the King to sustain the Norwegian government. The government headquarters was set up in London where the war news was broadcasted in Norwegian, along with messages and information that was vital to the resistance movement in Norway, which gave the people hope and inspiration.

Norwegian Christmas

The Christmas tree is chosen with great care, usually many years before it is to be used. The foresters provide a lot of care for the tree, making sure it grows straight and tall. They often describe the tree as the ‘Queen of the Forest’. After the tree has been carefully chopped and prepared, it makes its journey across the pond on a big barge and is eventually set in the middle of Trafalgar Square.

A special Lighting of the Tree ceremony is held at the beginning of December. About 10,000 Londoners gather in Trafalgar Square to participate, to see the tree light up and to sing Christmas carols. A nativity scene is placed on the west side of the square, which is dedicated at a special service on the Sunday after the lighting ceremony.

Throughout the Christmas season Londoners visit Trafalgar Square to participate in the daily celebrations, sing carols and donate to charities.

Norwegian Christmas trees are also given to the cities of Coventry, Newcastle, Sunderland and Edinburgh, and also the Orkney Islands.