Present ‘bare wire’ Norwegian Christmas tree disappoints some in Britain

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Norway’s annual Christmas tree gift to London prompted unusually steep responses on Thursday, including requests to replace the 24-meter Norwegian spruce, after it appeared to be less than symmetrical with a few broken branches.

Every year a tree is cut down outside of Oslo and sent to Trafalgar Square in London as a thank you from the Norwegians for Britain’s support during WWII. Westminster Mayor Andrew Smith and Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen helped cut down the 80-year-old Norwegian spruce tree with schoolchildren on November 16. He was transported by Norwegian authorities.

Reuters photographs show the tree has broken branches. One side appears to have less growth than the other, although it is not known when the damage was caused. The tree sparked glee on Twitter, with some commenting that it was “at the end of the line”, “half-dead” or possibly sick with COVID. Others said it was a symbol of modern British decline or speculated that it could be an elaborate joke on Norway’s part.

“Looks like the tree from last year,” James Carberry, 70, told Reuters in Trafalgar Square. Some said it looked “a bit sparse”. Another just said, “Yeah.” Others, however, said it was beautiful.

“It’s the thought that counts,” said Jasmine Smith, 30. Smith, from Westminster, said it was understandable that some on social media had made “quick judgments”.

“But I know that once lit, the tree will play, as always, its role in making Westminster an even more beautiful place to visit at Christmas,” he said in a statement. The criticism of the tree prompted a diplomatic response from Oslo, who emphasized the symbolism of the gift and that it came from a forest.

“I’m glad people are passionate – it’s a sign that Londoners care about the gift we sent them,” Mayor Borgen told Reuters. “The tree comes from a forest.” It is a tree of love and it means a lot to us to give it to Londoners. Although it started as a thank you to the British people for their help during WWII, it is now about friendship, solidarity, hope for the future and peace.

“The tree symbolizes all of this and I hope when the lights are on the symbolic message behind the gift is what people have in mind.” (Written by Guy Faulconbridge in London; additional reporting by Gwladys Fouché in Oslo; editing by Nick Macfie)

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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