Brits slander (again) Norway’s gifted Christmas tree

Henry

Every year since 1947, the city of Oslo has donated a Christmas tree from its snowy forests to London as a gesture of gratitude for Britain’s help to this country during the Second World War.

And every year many Brits turn their noses up at this (yes, rather sparse) tree.

“Where’s the other half?” wanted some Britons to know this year after a 70-year-old Christmas tree was erected in Trafalgar Square on Monday.

“It’s only half the tree,” others agreed. “Is it me, or does it look pretty dead?” one British social media user wanted to know.

“Anemic” and plain “ugly” are just some of the adjectives (suitable for publication) that have been used to criticize the donated Norwegian Christmas trees over the years.

Many remember that the donated Christmas tree of 2021 especially got the wind from the front.

“Have we declared war on Norway?” joked one social media user that year. “One of those 5G masts disguised as a tree,” grumbled another, while a third described the tree as looking like a “half-picked chicken”.

It got so bad that year that Oslo seriously considered sending a second, more lush tree.

The Norwegians admit that the gifted Christmas tree – which has its own account on X – sometimes loses some of its splendor on the way to London. After all, the tree is hurled from a truck to a boat and then loaded back onto a truck as it finds its way from a dry and cold Nordic climate to the salty sea air and then to the humid English winter.

And unfortunately there are always a few pine needles and branches that don’t make the pole.

Yet every tree sent across the North Sea is carefully selected, preserved, packed, watered and shipped by the shortest route possible. Extra branches are also sent along to supplement the tree should it be needed upon its arrival in London.

“The trees we send are generally perfect where they grow, but many things can happen during the journey,” says producer Knut Johansson, responsible for managing the Oslo municipality’s forests.

“Once we got complaints that the tree looked like a cucumber,” he recalls. “It’s as if it has become a bit of a sport to criticize the tree.”

Britain’s ambassador in Oslo, Jan Thompson, is not at all impressed with the so-called seasonal sport.

“The point is, it’s not like a Disney tree,” says Thompson. “It’s not going to be 100% perfect, but that’s what’s so special about it. It is a real tree that grew in a Norwegian forest.”

The gesture of the donated Christmas tree comes after King Haakon of Norway found refuge in London after the Nazi invasion in 1940. Since then, Oslo has been expressing its gratitude for the hospitality it has received every year by donating a Christmas tree every year since 1947.

“This is a sign of our gratitude for the help we received during the Second World War,” says Anne Lindboe, mayor of Oslo. “But it also meant so much more. We live in these really, really dark times and I think these days the Christmas tree symbolizes peace, togetherness and friendship between cities.”