A Christmas Tree for the Arctic
Anyone ever wonder how Arctic towns above the tree – line get their Christmas tree for holidays? Well, we just discovered the secret…is Santa flying that helicopter? Everything that happens in the Arctic is unique. Let’s hope we can protect this amazing land for future generations.
The tiny green dot descended upon the community of Kuujjuaq, Quebec in time for this year’s holiday season. Over 14 meters tall, this is the fifth year the community has had a community Christmas tree delivered from the heavens.
Mayor Tunu Napartuk has a vivid memory of that first occasion.
“I was there, and I remember exactly the moment and the feeling — the euphoria basically — of seeing from a distance a helicopter coming in, slinging a large tree,” said Napartuk.
“If you were there with me, you would’ve been seeing a grown man jumping up and down like a little boy, being all excited.”
Councillor George Berthe, of the newly formed town council, suggested in 2012 the town have the biggest tree it could find flown into the remote town.
“It wasn’t so far-fetched,” said the mayor.
“Kuujjuaq is one of the few [Nunavik] communities that has trees readily available not too far to the south,” said Napartuk.
A couple of men from the town went on a scouting trip to find the perfect tree.
“They found it right away. And a couple of days later, we asked the helicopter to go pick it up.The only way to access it was to pick it up by helicopter. We don’t have a big enough sled to pull by skidoo. “
“Of course, we don’t have access to it by road, by truck, so the only option was to get it by helicopter,” said Napartuk.
The annual Christmas tree drop is becoming a tradition. After the tree is secured in its resting spot next to the town hall, city staff decorate the tree utilizing equipment, then an angel is placed on top of the tree.
An individual who’s made a contribution to the community is selected by town council, and the honoree has the prestige of lighting the tree.— and people are “just mesmerized by it,” says Napartuk.