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Trafalgar Square's Christmas tree in previous years
Photograph: ShutterstockTrafalgar Square's Christmas tree in previous years

And lo! Trafalgar Square's Christmas lights will switch on tonight

Including that much-mocked tree

Written by
Alice Saville

Tonight, Trafalgar Square's famous Christmas lights will flicker to life as part of a traditional ceremony that begins at 6.30pm. And the centrepiece of the great display is a ginormous tree, donated by Norway as a thank you for Britain's aid in WWII, and then brought here by boat on an epic journey across the seas. Unfortunately, the internet has not been kind to this year's offering, pointing out its sparse lower branches and weather-beaten appearance. But in its defence, this tree is both MASSIVE (an enormous 24 metres tall) and very old (aged 80). How would you like it if you reached your ninth decade and someone dragged you shivering into a public square, decked you in fairy lights then made fun of you for looking worse for wear, eh? Not at all, I'd imagine. 

Fortunately, the annual tree switch on ceremony will be rather more dignified than the internet's welcome. There will be speeches from the Lord Mayor and the Mayor of Oslo, performances from the Salvation Army, the St Martin-in-the-Fields Choir, and the Poetry Society, plus a reading from young ambassadors from Westminster Befriend a Family. A heartwarming celebration of an unfairly maligned pine. 

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