Oslo Ends the Tradition of Giving Christmas Trees

Oslo Ends the Tradition of Giving Christmas Trees

A big Bah-Humbug to the City of Oslo, Norway for ending a 60-year tradition of giving a tall Christmas tree to the city of Reykjavík in Iceland. Claiming it to be too expense and not-so-environmentally friendly the Oslo City Council points out that Iceland has grown so much in the past years that they finally have their own pine trees large enough to use as a Christmas tree.

Every year since 1952, the City of Oslo, Norway has presented Reykjavik City with a huge Christmas tree for the festive period. The tree is always placed in the heart of downtown Reykjavik, and is ceremoniously lit every year on the first Sunday of the advent. Families gather to sing Christmas carols and join in the festivities, and a few Yule Lads usually make an appearance.

The Austurvöllur Christmas tree is decorated with hundreds of individual white lights. The tree itself is traditionally 12 – 16 meters tall and the sight of it decorated in white light has become an iconic Reykjavík Christmas image.

The festivities start with The Reykjavík Brass Band playing popular Christmas tunes. Before a representative of the city of Oslo formally gives the tree to the people of Reykjavík the Choir of the Reykjavík Cathedral sings Christmas carols and hymns. The lighting ceremony is traditionally attended by the Mayor of Reykjavík, formally announcing the arrival of the tree from the forests surrounding Oslo.

Oslo has long been a giver of trees, carrying on similar traditions with the cities of Rotterdam and London. Rotterdam was notified that their tree will not be arriving this year either. But, for whatever reason, Oslo will continue sending a tree to London.

    Town Overrides School Board to Name Christmas Break

    Town Overrides School Board to Name Christmas Break

    It wasn’t even a close vote. 76 percent of voters in Norwood, Massachusetts said the school board was wrong to change the school calendars. The measure calls for the public school vacation week currently named “Winter Recess” to be renamed as “Christmas Recess.”

    The committee renamed the winter break period as “Winter Recess” two years ago. Jim Drummey and Theresa McNulty of Norwood were unhappy with the committee’s decision and led the push to get the resolution on the ballot after an effort to rename the vacation week failed in May of last year.

    “We think there is a movement in our country to demote Christianity and Christmas is the name of a Christian feast day,” McNulty told local media shortly before the vote.

    The current school calendar does not reference Christmas, only “Winter Recess.”

    “We’re not excluding anybody, of course you want diversity, of course you want to respect all religions, but the only one that’s getting disrespected right now is Christianity,” said Drummey.

    Norwood School Superintendent James Hayden downplayed the battle over the naming of the vacation week.

    “This is not a fight about Christmas. We acknowledge it. It’s about being representative for everyone. I hope we can get beyond being hung up on labels,” said Hayden.