Lights, Action, London!

Tonight in London, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting will be taking place.

It’s a tradition that kicks off the holiday season in grand style and I was happy to be in London in 2009 for the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting. Waiting for the official ceremony to start, the crowd was in a happy mood with much laughter filling the air.

Trafalgar Square

Even on a blustery day, the spirits were high. We had a position by the fountain behind the staging area where we watched the procession of the Mayors of London and Oslo, Lord Mayor of Westminster, and the Choir of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. I’m always touched by the story that Norway has been giving the people of London the holiday tree (a Norway pine) for the past 65 years in gratitude for British help during World War II.

Trafalgar Square Fountain

After a welcome and speeches by the officials, the tree’s vertical strings of energy-efficient white lights were lit to cheers and applause. We then joined in heartily as the choir led us in carol singing.

Tree Lighting at Trafalgar Square

After the ceremony, we walked to Covent Garden, passing the London Coliseum where theatre-goers were arriving for a performance of Messiah. Further along St. Martin’s Lane, we sat by the window at the Angel and Crown pub and enjoyed watching people hurrying along to parties and dinner.

St. Martin's Lane

Later, we also took in festivities in London’s Knightsbridge area where the famous Harrod’s department store and other buildings were aglow with holiday lights.


Knightsbridge Decorations

Kicking off the holiday season in London was a memorable experience. I wish I could be there tonight to start things off at the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree lighting!

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25 thoughts on “Lights, Action, London!

  1. jade

    I went to this tree lighting when I lived in London- it was crowded, but not in a bad way… in that “yay, we are all celebrating the season and love London” kind of way.

  2. Sophie

    Oddly, I’ve never managed to see the lighting of the spruce. The Lord Mayor of Westminster popped up here to do the initial, ceremonial cut along with the Mayor of Oslo, before they sent the tree off to London. They looked like they were having fun.

  3. InsideJourneys

    This sounds very lovely but as I was reading, all I could think of was the crowd.
    One Christmas here in NYC, I decided to take my nieces and nephews to see the tree the day after it was lit. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, not too cold, and the crowd was huge. The kids were small and we couldn’t get close enough for them to see it.
    Trafalgar Square is a much larger area than Rockefeller Center so you’d definitely have more room to move around. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Love everything about it. Thanks for this beautiful recounting of a memorable experience.

  4. Andrew Graeme Gould

    A lovely night series, Cathy. Christmas activities must be enless in a city like London. You’re not there this year, as you say, but you are somewhere for Christmas, so have a great time, wherever that may be!

  5. Turkey's For Life

    Hmmmm,. you’ve definitely made us feel more festive now, Cathy. Great set of pics. Apparently, Istanbul does a pretty good Christmas tree scene which I’d like to see but you just can’t beat a British Christmas. (For us, anyway) 🙂

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