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CHRISTMAS

No ho ho for Norway Christmas tree exports

Europe has almost completely lost interest in Norwegian Christmas trees, with sales dwindling almost to nothing in recent years.

No ho ho for Norway Christmas tree exports
Princess Ingrid Alexandra decorates the Christmas tree at the Royal Palace in 2013. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix

Christmas tree researcher Jan Ole Skage said Norwegian conifers were in high demand in 2009.

“We sold around 95,000 Christmas trees abroad at a value of 8.2 million kroner ($1.1 million),” Skage, who works for the Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, told newspaper Nationen.

By last year, however, sales had plummeted to just 1,000 trees, worth 200,000 kroner.

“The financial crisis and lower Christmas tree prices across Europe are the main reasons why most  Christmas tree producers have stopped selling trees abroad in recent years,” said Skage.

Domestic Christmas-tree sales have increased in the same period, he said.

The researcher expects Norwegians to buy 1.9 million Christmas trees this year.

Twenty percent of the trees will be imported, with most coming from Denmark, said Skage. 

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CHRISTMAS

Could Christmas in Norway be affected by new Covid-19 measures?

Norway’s government has in the last two days announced tightened rules relating to Covid-19 isolation and face masks. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre sought to reassure the public over plans for the Christmas holidays.

Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th.
Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th. Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

The government on Tuesday announced new measures relating to quarantine rules for confirmed Covid-19 cases and face mask guidelines.

The measures, which are being introduced in response to increasing infection numbers, include more stringent isolation rules, face mask recommendations and a push to vaccinate over 65s with booster jabs as soon as possible.

“On one side, we must avoid full hospitals and strain on the health system. On the other side we must live as normally as possible. We must keep finding the right balance in the measures,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement.

Tighter quarantine rules for suspected cases with the new Omicron variant were meanwhile launched on Monday. People who test positive for or are believed to be infected with the Omicron variant will need to isolate for longer than others with the virus.

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In comments during a briefing to press on Tuesday, Støre sought to reassure the public over plans to spend Christmas with loved ones.

“The measures we have introduced are settings that make it possible to celebrate a good Christmas while keeping in mind what you can do with your loved ones,” the PM said in comments reported by newspaper VG.

“We can plan to be with our families at Christmas,” he added.

Last year saw Christmas in Norway significantly impacted by restrictions on the number of people who could meet and mixing between households.

Such far-reaching restrictions are not expected in 2021. Støre did not however rule out additional measures being introduced before December 24th.

“What we have presented today is based on the knowledge we already have,” he said.

“It is the total restrictions that count. If we are in the same situation (as now) when we get to December 24th, you can celebrate Christmas normally,” Støre said, but noted the virus would be present throughout the winter.

The aim of any measures is to keep the pandemic under control throughout the winter, he added.

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