Each year since 1947, a Christmas tree has been given to the people of London from the people of Norway in gratitude for Britain's support for Norway during World War II. For many Londoners the Christmas tree and carol singing in Trafalgar Square signal the countdown to Christmas.
The Christmas tree in the square provides a central focus for carol-singing in the evenings, when different groups perform Christmas carols in the square, raising funds for voluntary or charitable organisations. Find out more about this year’s carol singing programme.
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.
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
The countdown to Christmas starts with the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree. Stay tuned for times for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Trafalgar Square.
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
Join a torch-lit procession on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields, as the choir and clergy bless the Crib in a special ceremony in Trafalgar Square. The Crib is designed by Tomoaki Suzuki with figures inspired by London’s diverse population. It will be on display in the square throughout December. Stay tuned for more information.