Never been to Lapland but who needs to with all that London has to offer at Xmas. Great lights, great shops, fantastic markets, all topped off with lots of mulled wine!
Christmas in Trafalgar Square 2013
Until Sun Dec 22 2013
Time Out says
Posted: Mon Nov 4 2013
A huge Christmas tree has been a seasonal symbol in Trafalgar Square since 1947, taking pride of place there until Twelfth Night (Jan 6), when it is taken down for recycling. The tree is decorated in traditional Norwegian fashion, using vertical strings of bulbs – energy efficient, these days, of course – which will be switched on at a ceremony on Thursday December 5. Dignitaries from Oslo and Westminster usually attend, joined this year by children from nearby St Peter's Eaton Square CE Primary School who will be reading a poem on behalf of The Poetry Society.
On Sunday December 8, there will be a torchlit procession for the Blessing of the Crib on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Designed by Tomaki Suzuki, the crib will remain on display through December. Back at the tree, carols are performed each evening from December 9 to 22 (Mon-Fri 4-8pm; Sat, Sun 2-6pm) by a wide variety of London choral groups, with any donations for the performance going to charity.
The tree itself is a kind of charity: it's an annual gift from the Norwegians to the British. During WWII, German troops besieged Norway and in 1940 the neutral country was forced to surrender to the Nazis. Its royal family, government and defence chiefs fled to London, where they established a government-in-exile. For almost five years they were given refuge here while Norwegian soldiers fought alongside the Allies. London came to represent hope and freedom for millions in occupied Norway, for whom British radio broadcasts provided news and information vital to the resistance. That's why the people of Oslo still each year give London a tree described by woodsmen as 'the queen of the forest'. Over 20m in height, and 50 or 60 years old, the Norwegian spruce is felled in November in the midst of a snowy forest in a special ceremony with local schoolchildren singing, before being shipped across the North Sea for installation in Trafalgar Square.
For more Christmas lights, see our feature.