It's a symbolic token of thanks for help during World War II.

November 27, 2018
Credit: Julian Love/Getty

Last Tuesday, what may be the most picture-perfect holiday scene played out in Oslo. According to the British newspaper St Helens Star, Norway's annual holiday gift to London was cut down by both of Oslo's mayors in front of an audience of schoolchildren singing Christmas carols. It truly doesn't get any cozier than that.

But first a bit of background: Every year, in an ongoing symbol of thanks for Great Britain's help during World War II, Oslo donates a majestic Christmas tree to be showcased in London's Trafalgar Square. This particular tree is a Norwegian Spruce that's guessed to be about 80 years old, meaning it would have begun growing during World War II, adding to the symbolism behind this gesture of friendship.

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This year's tree was cut down from Normarka, a forest right outside of Oslo. It was chosen for the honor 20 years ago by the local forester, according to an interview with Mayor of Oslo Marianne Borgen. She explained that 15 trees are originally chosen as Trafalgar Square candidates and only the best is picked each year. But the best part may be how locals honor the tree before it's sent off to London: "I think they also talk to it and hug it sometimes-so this tree has really been spoiled over the years it has been in Oslo and I think it will be a wonderful tree at Trafalgar Square," Borgen shared with the St Helens Star.

This year's tree is named after Jon Christiansen, the forester who has been choosing the Trafalgar Square trees for the past 10 years. The tree has quite a long journey ahead of it before the official tree lighting ceremony on December 6 starting at 6 p.m. It's brought over to the UK by sea, followed by a driven truck. Once it arrives to London, a specialist rigging team will erect it in the square using a hydraulic crane and then decorated in traditional Norwegian fashion with vertical strings of energy-efficient lights.

But it's one tree in a history of many-and the traditional doesn't look to have any end in sight. Despite Britain's decision to leave the European Union in 2016, Norway plans to continue their annual Christmas gift. "Norway has always been its own country, but very much part of Europe as well-so I think we will be friends forever," Borgen shared with the St Helens Star. "I think it's probably the great honor of the mayoral year. Previous Lord Mayors have always talked with great joy and happiness of this visit."

Feeling inspired? Watch how to decorate a Christmas tree from top to bottom:


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