Unwrapping Christmas Magic

The World’s most famous Christmas trees and the Logistics behind their deliveries.

With the countdown to Christmas well and truly underway, Generation Logistics reveals how the world’s most famous Christmas trees reach their final destinations.

From the Rockefeller Centre in New York to the enchanting Strasbourg Christmas Tree, there is meticulous planning and logistical finesse required to transport these festive wonders to their destinations.

Trafalgar Square, London

  • Unveiled: 7th December 2023
  • Tradition began: 1947
  • Distance travelled: 1066 miles from Norway’s Nordmarka Forest to Trafalgar Square

Since 1947, a Norway Spruce has been gifted from Norway’s Nordmarka Forest to Britain, expressing gratitude for the country’s support in WW2. The tree travels by flatbed truck from Oslo to Brevik, covering over 100km, then shipped to the UK and carefully wrapped up to avoid any contact with salt water, which could damage it. After a short stay in customs, the tree takes a lorry ride to Central London, where it’s erected by a specialist team and adorned in traditional Norwegian style with vertical string lights.

Rockefeller Centre, New York

  • Unveiled: November 29th 2023
  • Tradition began: 1931
  • Distance travelled: 200 miles from Vestal, New York to the Rockefeller Centre

Possibly the most famous Christmas Tree in the world, the renowned Norway Spruce, has already been transported to the Rockefeller Centre for 2023. Sourced this year from Vestal, New York, the 12-tonne, 80 foot tree undergoes intricate logistics to be delivered to the city, taking months of careful planning.

Each branch is carefully wrapped for protection and transported on a flatbed truck, and is then hoisted by a large crane when it arrives in the city. Until November 28th, the tree is surrounded by scaffolding and is decorated, before the scaffolding is removed around five days before the iconic lighting ceremony. After the tree is done spreading holiday cheer, it’s sent on its merry way to be used as lumber for Habitat for Humanity, a non profit organisation that helps people around the world to build or improve a place they can call home.

Strasbourg, France

  • Unveiled: 24th November 2023
  • Tradition began: 1992
  • Distance travelled: 68 miles from the Vosges Mountains to Strasbourg

The Great Christmas Tree of Strasbourg is meticulously selected in the Vosges Mountains and gifted by the French National Forestry Association, a process that begins each year in March. Once selected, the National Forestry Office and tree surgeons spend 120 hours getting the tree ready for its journey, including fluffing with other tree branches. After 250 more hours of preparation, including using two cranes to help cut it down and wrapping each individual branch, it’s carefully transported on a trailer and transported to the city for its unveiling.

Vienna, Austria

  • Unveiled: 10th November 2023
  • Tradition began: 1959
  • Distance travelled: 367 miles from Südtirol in Italy to Vienna

The famous Vienna Rathaus Christmas Tree is sourced from a different province in Austria annually, but this year it comes from Südtirol in Italy: an autonomous province with strong connections to Austria. Workers cut hundreds of extra 15-foot limbs from the trees surrounding the chosen tree and bundle them to transport with the big tree. The tree is then hoisted onto a flatbed refrigerated truck or plane, with specific shipping considerations due to the sensitivity of the trees to climate changes.

St Peter’s Square, Vatican City

  • Unveiled: 9th December 2023
  • Tradition began: 1982
  • Distance travelled: 542 miles from the Italian Alps to St Peter’s Square

This year’s Vatican City tree is an 82-feet tall White Spruce sourced from the Italian Alps. The tree will be transported from the Italian Alps to St Peter’s Square on a flatbed truck, a journey spanning over 541 miles. The tree is decorated this year with white edelweiss flowers and erected as part of the Christmas celebrations which begin in the Vatican City on the 8th December.

Berlin, Germany

  • Unveiled: 27th November 2023
  • Tradition began: 1989
  • Distance travelled: 214 miles from Thuringian Forest to Berlin

Since 2015, this famous Spruce tree has been sourced from Germany’s Thuringian Forest. Universal Transport Company handles the transportation of the tree, where the transport has been made significantly more climate-friendly by flatbed truck, rather than a plane. After being cut down, the tree is stored at the Universal Transport branch in Gotha for a day before embarking on the 214 mile journey to the capital, where it is to be unveiled.

Prague, Czech Republic

  • Unveiled: 2nd December 2023
  • Tradition began: 1812
  • Distance travelled: 56 miles from the Ústí nad Labem region of North Bohemia in Czechia to Prague

The mighty 25m Christmas tree is erected at the Old Town square, after it is felled, carefully wrapped up and transported by flatbed truck from the Ústí nad Labem region of North Bohemia. The tree is transported approximately five days before the opening of Prague’s famous Christmas market, with four days spent constructing and decorating the tree ready for opening day on 2nd December.

Dortmund, Germany

  • Unveiled: 23rd November 2023
  • Tradition began: 1996
  • Distance travelled: 50 miles from the Sauerland Forest to Dortmund

The world’s largest Christmas tree, Dortmund’s offering comprises around 1,000 Norway Spruces from the Sauerland Forest. The tree is constructed and transported via flatbed truck by Weise Construction Company from the forest to Dortmund’s Christmas market, before being lit up by 48,000 fairy lights and a traditional four metre tall angel.

Commenting on the tree transportation, Bethany Windsor, Programme Director at Generation Logistics said: “Logistics is a sector that helps deliver Christmas wonders all around the world! Carefully constructed and well-timed supply chains are in place to ensure thse famous Christmas trees make it to their final destination for the whole world to admire.

“It is often easy to forget the complex yet seamless logistics chains that are required in order to successfully deliver the huge Christmas trees around the world. These plans are in place months prior to Christmas, and this is critical to ensure that they arrive in time. Behind-the-scenes, the logistics elves have been working hard all year to ensure that we can deliver these famous Christmas trees to the world!”

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