For the first time since 1951, Iceland will not receive a giant Christmas tree from Norway, on account of the practice becoming too expensive and not environmentally friendly.
Norwegian media outlet Osloby reports that a spokesperson for Oslo city council explained that sending the large pine trees to London, Rotterdam in Holland and Reykjavík has become prohibitively expensive. By ending the exports, Oslo stands to save 3.3 million ISK.
At the same time, the spokesperson points out that Iceland is actually capable of growing its own trees – that in fact, pine trees of comparable size as the Oslo trees of Christmases past do grow in Iceland.
Iceland has been receiving Christmas trees from Oslo, usually erected in front of parliament, since 1951. The tree is traditionally lit on the first Sunday of Advent. In 2009, the tree was pulled down and set on fire by protestors. In 2013, in what might have been an act of contrition for the incident, Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr went to Norway and cut down a tree himself to be used as that year’s Oslo Christmas tree.
Where Iceland will get this year’s Christmas tree is still unknown.