IT is the longstanding Christmas gift that links two countries, grown from wartime memories and celebrating the helping hand we can all extend to those in need in times of trouble.
Generations, including my own, know the story of the huge Christmas tree that stands each year in London’s Trafalgar Square – but, sadly, to many youngsters today it’s a mystery.
So step forward the good folks at Visit Norway, who have just released a charming short video, telling a story that resonates in these dark days of war in Europe.
During the Second World War, Great Britain was Norway’s closest ally, and it was to our shores that the Norwegian King and government escaped as their country was occupied.
In the years that followed, it was from London that much of Norway’s resistance movement was organised.
Both the BBC and its Norwegian counterpart NRK would broadcast in Norwegian from London, offering both an important source of vital information and a morale boost.
In Norway, people would listen in secret because radios were forbidden by the occupying German forces.
After the war ended, Norway decided to repay their British allies with a special annual Christmas gift – a tree cut from the Scandinavian nation’s forests.
So, on the first Thursday in December, a huge Christmas tree is lit in Trafalgar Square, after travelling all the way from Nordmarka, which is just outside Oslo.
Usually weighing about four tonnes, and around thirty metres high, this year’s tree will be the latest addition to the long and green tradition that began all the way back in 1947.
The search for the perfect tree is painstaking, with foresters selecting ideal specimens as many as 15 years before the due date, just to spread Christmas cheer. Thank you, Norway!
To see more archive film footage of the Christmas Tree Gift, and learn about Christmas in Norway, head to a special page at VisitNorway.