The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

Pupils from St Joseph’s Primary with the Lord Mayor of Westminster, at the 2017 ceremony. Photo by Hayley Madden for The Poetry Society.

It’s probably the most famous Christmas tree in the world, and its lighting-up ceremony has come to signify the beginning of the Christmas season in the British capital. Since 2009, The Poetry Society has worked with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in London to create a poetry project inspired by the tree, which is now established as a central part of the tradition.

Poetry from workshops in Westminster primary schools is presented each year to one of the UK’s best children’s poets. Their task is to produce a new poem celebrating the gift of the tree from the people of Norway. The poem is read out at the official lighting up ceremony and displayed around the base of the tree.


Pupils from St Joseph’s school read this year’s poem, ‘The Friendship Tree’ by children’s writer A.F. Harrold on 7 December. In London this festive season? Make sure you go and see the poem for yourself, now decorating the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree throughout the holidays!

You can download A.F. Harrold’s teaching resource, written to accompany this year’s Christmas Tree poem. A free poetry resource pack for teachers is available upon request from [email protected]

Each year, The Poetry Society commissions a new poet to create the poem that will decorate the base of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree. Previous poets include Julia CopusIan McMillan, Liz Lochhead and Kevin Crossley-HollandLast year’s lighting up ceremony took place on 1 December, where 2016’s poem ‘The Christmas Tree’s Secret’ by Julia Copus was read by children from Gateway Academy.