Not wanting to be seen as Scrooges, the Norwegian capital Oslo has decided against scrapping its annual Christmas tree gifts to Rotterdam, Reykjavik and London, despite the the cost to the Norwegian taxpayer.
Faced with harsh budget cuts, city officials have already stopped sending the festive freebies to Washington and Antwerp.
According to Aften newspaper, cost cutters were considering dumping Rotterdam from the Christmas list, as the city is believed to be of little value to Oslo’s PR status.
After tallying up the cost of scrapping the annual tradition altogether, cancelling lighting ceremonies, or letting just the Dutch city go without, Oslo has, however, decided to extend good will to all.
Last year, the gratis tree cutting, shipping and lighting ceremonies cost the Norwegian taxpayer NOK 780,000 (EUR 101,000).
Demonstrating that the free spruces are a symbol of the close ties between the countries, Stian Berger Rosland, head of Oslo’s city government, will attend the tree-lighting ceremony in Trafalgar Square, while other officials will head to Rotterdam and Reykjavik for their celebrations.
The Oslo Christmas trees are iconic symbols of Christmas in all three cities and have been enthusiastically welcomed by locals for many years.