Every year, since 1947, the people of Norway have given the people of London a Christmas tree. This gift is in gratitude for Britain's support for Norway during World War II.
Christmas at Trafalgar Square
About the tree
The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is usually a Norwegian spruce (Picea abies) over 20 metres high and 50-60 years old. It is selected from the forests surrounding Oslo with great care several months, even years, in advance. The Norwegian foresters who look after it describe it fondly as 'the queen of the forest'.
The tree is felled in November during a ceremony in which the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the British ambassador to Norway and the Mayor of Oslo participate. It is brought to the UK by sea, then completes its journey by lorry. A specialist rigging team erects it in the square using a hydraulic crane. It is decorated in traditional Norwegian fashion, with vertical strings of lights. Energy-efficient light bulbs are used.
The lighting ceremony
Don’t miss the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree, which takes place in Trafalgar Square on 6 December 2018 at 6pm. The 25-metre high tree is a gift from the people of Norway to London, in thanks for Britain’s support in World War II. This historic tradition has happened every year since 1947 and signals the countdown to Christmas in London.
Find out more at www.london.gov.uk/events
Recycling the tree
The Christmas tree remains in Trafalgar Square until just before the Twelfth Night of Christmas, when it is taken down for recycling. The tree is chipped and composted, to make mulch.
Blessing of the crib
9 December 2018, 5.30pm
Meet on the church steps at 5.20pm for a torch-lit procession to Trafalgar Square led by the Lakeside Brass Quintet with the Choir and Clergy of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
For more information please visit the St Martin-in-the-Fields website.
10 - 21 December 2018
From Monday 10 to Friday 21 December 2018 (except 15 December), over 40 carol singing groups will gather beneath the famous Christmas tree to entertain visitors to Trafalgar Square. Why not come along? Performances take place from 4-8pm on weekdays, and from 2-6pm at weekends. See the full programme below.
Note: Please be aware that this information is subject to change and The Greater London Authority (GLA) will not accept responsibility for any inconvenience or loss incurred by last-minute cancellations or alterations to the schedule.
Charity: Place2Be and Alzheimer’s society
Help musicians UK choir
Charity: Help musicians UK
Charity: Dawliffe hall educational foundation
City University Music Department Choir
Charity: Mind and Islington Law Centre
Friends of St Joachim’s
Charity: Friends of St Joachim’s School
London Rock Choir
Charity: Ukraine charity
Charity: The Lullaby Trust
Charity: MSF and The Turtle Foundation
Together Network Singers
Charity: Together Network
The Big Sing
Charity: Big Sing Soul
Cherry Pie Choir
Charity: Claire House Children’s Hospice
RNLI Lifeboat Choir
Charity: Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Charity: Rays of Sunshine
Music in offices
Victoria park singers
Charity: Alzheimer’s Society
Crown Court Church of Scotland, Covent Garden
Charity: Christian Aid
Lewisham choral society
Charity: St Joseph's Hospice
Charity: Moroccan Children's Trust
Chicks Charity Choir
Charity: Children’s Charity Chicks
Fulham and Hammersmith Choral Society
Music in Hospitals and Care
Charity: Music in Hospitals and Care
Ukrainian Cathedral Choir 'promin nadii'
Charity: British Ukrainian Aid
The Latymer School Senior Choir
Take Note Blackheath
Hertfordshire Rock Choir
Charity: Evolve Housing and Support
Full Circle Fund Therapies
Charity: Full Circle Fund Therapies
in2scienceUK and friends
Making Music Christmas Stars
Charity: Making Music
The Greater Love Choir
Cordinas Union of Welsh Independents Incorporated
Charity: Madagascar Appeal
Metropolitan Police Choir
Charity: Care of Police Survivors
Charity: London’s Air Ambulance
Charity: PwC Foundation
Action for Children and friends
Charity: Action for Children
The Single Homeless Project Choir
Charity: The Single Homeless Project
Charity: Hope UK
Ash Church Choir
Charity: Ellenor Hospice
Charity: Cardiomyopathy UK
Grovesnor Light Opera Company
Charity: Grovesnor Light Opera
The Sometimes Singers
Charity: The Bobath Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy