Trees are sprucing up our festive scene

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Illuminated Christmas trees are appearing not only in our towns and cities, but also in house windows and gardens to remind us of the season we are in.

That is why I have chosen for my first picture today as one of the tree in Trafalgar Square, London (top).

This is silhouetted by the illuminated church of St Martin’s in the Fields.

The shot is taken from the steps of the National Gallery.

This tree is always a 50-60-year-old Norway Spruce.

From 1947 onwards this tree has been given each year to the people of London by the people of Norway as a token of Norwegian gratitude for the help given to them by the British during the Second World war.

This tree will remain here and lit in Trafalgar Square until Twelfth Night.

The origins of the use of the Spruce Fir tree as a symbol of Christmas go back to the time of St Boniface, and then through the Reformation and Renaissance period to the time and practice of Martin Luther – 1483 to 1546.

The custom did not take on in England with any force until 1840 when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert set up a tree at Windsor Castle for their children. Since then the tradition has grown like topsy.

The top decoration was once that of the Christ child; this later became an angel, then a fairy or a star.

It was also on this day, December 12 in 1896, that Marconi demonstrated his “radio” for the first time in England at Toynbee Hall in London.

What would life have been like for us in our childhood and youth without The Navy Lark, Dick Barton Special Agent, Educating Archie, Journey into Space and the like?

All these were brought to us by our radio.

Now a bit nearer today with a picture taken of some of these children who, in 2003, took part in ‘Operation Christmas Child’ and showed the true spirit of Christmas giving.

Back down the years with my last picture today.

Many toys were sold by small shops like Crozier’s on High Street in Garstang, or Mears on Church Street or the Co-op or Greenways in Preston.

Soldiers, dolls, forts, Meccano, Dinkey toys – all were on our list in those days, for electronic toys were still light years away.