Christmas trees and charity initiatives mark end of year at NATO Headquarters
Festive decorations have gone up at NATO Headquarters, as a momentous year for the Alliance draws to a close.
At the end of November, a 12 metre-high Christmas tree was installed outside the Headquarters, near the NATO compass and the Allied flag circle. The Belgian tree comes from the Stavelot area of Wallonia, and was provided by La ferme nos pilifs, a social project that promotes sustainable agriculture and employs people with disabilities. After the holidays, the tree will be made into wood chips and the waste will be used to mulch plant beds around the NATO campus as part of a wider greening initiative. Another 4.5-metre tree has been set up at the Conference Centre, where the North Atlantic Council meets. While this year's decoration colours are blue and silver, a red bauble mysteriously appears on this tree each year.
On 20 November, NATO Headquarters hosted its annual Charity Bazaar, raising money for a number of Belgian and international charities. This included the “Wishing Tree” project – which began in 2021 to support a school in Wallonia that was affected by flooding, and this year focused on giving gifts to Ukrainian children arriving in Belgium. To deliver the gifts, NATO partnered with the Belgian non-profit organisation Bibliothèques sans Frontières which helps to facilitate access to education, culture and information for vulnerable groups. The organisation’s “Action for Ukraine” operates three libraries in Belgium which offer activities for children, as well as language courses.