Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Trafalgar Square Christmas tree 2015

003The first record of a public Christmas tree is of one set up in Pasadena, California, in 1909.  Since then most town centres have trees provided by their local councils.  Usually these trees are simply decorated with multicoloured lights and protected by unsightly railings.

In England the most famous Christmas tree tree is the one set up in Trafalgar Square, London, in December each year.  Since 1947 this tree has been donated by the people of Oslo to the people of London, in appreciation of Britain’s help to Norway during the Second World War.  As usual the 2015 tree is decorated with strings of white lights and has a star placed at its apex.  Early each evening amateur choirs gather and sing carols at the base of the tree.

Comments on the tree’s decoration were published in Time Out London of 22 December 2015:

‘Who ever was responsible for decorating the … tree this year should seriously consider his or her future, plus of course whoever signed it off.  It’s a national disgrace!

Special mention should go to the tree in Trafalgar Square this year.  Real crap.

The lights are appalling – and have been for the past few years.  They are lazily applied, as if thrown from the top and left to fall.’

This topic was raised again on the letters’ page of the Evening Standard of 18 December 2019:

‘Every year the Norwegians generously donate this centrepiece … but, let’s be honest, it simply doesn’t compare to the striking and splendid trees of New York and Paris.  Can’t London have something fuller-looking and a little more imaginatively illuminated?’

Image:  18 December 2015.

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