Last Christmas, the people of Reykjavík received their last Christmas tree from Oslo, Norway’s capital. The reason that was given is that it is expensive, complicated and not environmentally friendly. This marks the break of an ongoing tradition, which started in the year 1951. The Oslo tree has been an essential part of the capital area’s Christmas preparation. The lights have been on the first Sunday of Advent, the fourth Sunday before Christmas which marks the official start of the Christmas season in Iceland.
As a token of the Oslo tree’s significance, in 2012 Mayor Jón Gnarr traveled to Norway to cut the tree personally, declaring that this was his attempt to atone for the fact that the people of Reykjavík had burned the tree during the 2009 Búsáhaldabylting, the ‘Pot and Pan Revolution’.
According to Osloby.no, the city of Oslo has given a tree to Rotterdam, Reykjavík and London for more than 60 years. Now, this has become too complicated and costly, the city’s spokesperson explained. For example, it has to be made sure that the trees are not infected. Also, the transportation of the trees is a complicated procedure. Therefore, Reykjavík and Rotterdam won’t be receiving any more trees whereas London will continue to get one. According to the spokesperson, it is a token of the British and Norwegian friendship, and every measure must be taken to solidify that friendship.
The Oslo City Council points out that the growing of trees has increased in Iceland in the past years, which means that now, it has pine trees that are large enough to be used as a Christmas tree. Nonetheless, Norway wishes to participate in the lighting of the Christmas tree, for example by sending Norwegian performers.