Every year, the city of Akureyri puts up a Christmas tree on Ráðhústorg plaza.
This year, Akureyri local Aðalheiður Ingadóttir invited the city to put up her tree, a sizable spruce from her backyard that she planned on felling, RÚV reports.
The city turned down the offer, explaining that every year it received a Christmas tree from its sister town Randers in Denmark – a tradition stretching back 30 years.
Ingadóttir – who believed such traditions were a thing of the past – was astounded. Dissatisfied with the city’s rationale, she doubled down on her offer, reminding city officials that there was still plenty of time to call off the shipment.
“There are still two months until Christmas.”
In an interview with RÚV, Ingadóttir stressed that it was not about her tree, in particular; rather, the idea of importing a Christmas tree from Denmark amid an upswing in forestry – and when the Kjarnaskógur forest lay just south of the city – was absurd.
Something to Review
Asked by RÚV whether the tradition was at odds with the city’s environmentally-friendly policy, Guðríður Erla Friðriksdóttir – Director of Akureyri’s Environmental and Engineering Division – was amenable to the suggestion.
“It’s something that we must review.”
Friðriksdóttir conceded that there are many more trees on municipal-owned land today when compared to 30 years ago, making the option of putting up homegrown trees viable. This would be a positive step for the city, Friðriksdóttir added.
“Discontinuing the tradition with Randers has probably been up for discussion at one point or another. But no decision has been made. It is, nonetheless, a suggestion worth considering.”
A Dying Tradition?
As noted in the above-mentioned article by RÚV, the giving of Christmas trees between sister towns has become less common over the years. Akureyri is not the only town that receives a Christmas tree from abroad. The town of Hafnarfjörður receives its tree from Germany. Christmas trees have also been sent from Iceland abroad, e.g. Fljótsdalshérað, which sends its sister town in Runavik, in the Faroe Islands, a Christmas tree. The municipality of Árborg receives trees from citizens looking to get rid of them and uses them come Christmas.