For the past four years, residents of Húsavík, North Iceland, have voted on which evergreen will decorate the town centre as its Christmas tree. This year’s tree won by a landslide, getting 180 out of 200 votes. Many of the residents submit trees from their yards in the running.
Smári J. Lúðviksson, environmental manager of Norðurþing municipality, says there are plenty of trees in Húsavík and around the town to choose from. “There’s been a lot of growth in town and we are starting to get some big and thick spruce trees here, and they are consequently becoming too big for front yards, so we’re trying to utilise them by using them as the town Christmas tree.”
City authorities take care of cutting down the winning tree, setting it up, and lighting it in the town centre. Children from the local preschool and primary school were present when the tree was lit and sang carols and danced around the tree according to Icelandic tradition.
Smári says the goal of holding a vote is for residents to choose a Christmas tree they’re happy with. “Now it’s the residents themselves that get to choose the tree and if you’re not happy with the tree that was chosen then you could have voted. You could call it Christmas tree democracy.”