Have you been following the saga of London’s most maligned Christmas tree? In case you’ve unaccountably had better things to do, here’s the story so far. Each year, Norway sends a gigantic forest fir to Trafalgar Square as a demonstration of gratitude for the UK’s role in WWII. But this year, it looked like a few branches went missing in the post: and commenters on social media didn’t hold back. ‘Are we at war with Norway now?’, one quipped. ‘Interflora clearly forgot to include the little sachet of plant feed’, another said.
Well, Norway is taking these criticisms very seriously. So seriously that today, its Oslo Council is set to vote on whether to send another, more picture-perfect tree to replace the first one. But is it a good move to cave to the looks-obsessed public and swap the venerable-if-haggard old tree for a younger, sexier model? And is there even time to make the swap? Opposition leader of the Conservative Party in Oslo, Anne Haabeth Rygg, has expressed doubt that a new tree would reach London in time for Christmas. After all, the tree’s long route by boat is even more onerous than an average (and often-delayed) Christmas parcel’s journey.
The tree at the centre of the furore has declined to comment. But the mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen, has struck a suitably diplomatic note. ‘I am pleased that people are passionate – it is a sign that Londoners care about the present we have sent them,’ she said. And Londoners most certainly do. Our passion for Christmas is fir real, even if we’re pining for a less bedraggled tree.