By Julia Tiemens

Christmas is over, but what happens to all the Christmas trees? We all know the classic image: one day our beloved tree is the center of the living room, decorated with the most precious objects we own, protecting the gifts that wait to be unwrapped. The next day they are thrown out of the window until the trashmen come and pick them up. Christmas is over and the happiness-bearing trees die on the sides of the road. Around 15 years back Christoph Milloth was in a bar, drinking with his friends, and had that exact thought. They talked about his mom not knowing most years what to do with the old tree and about the new campaign of a famous Swedish furniture shop of people throwing their trees. This is how the idea for the Christmas tree-throwing world cup was first established. 

The World Cup takes place every year after Christmas in many German cities, with the most traditional and famous being the “Knutfest” in Weidenthal. The small city is known way beyond regional borders for its strange competition. The goal of the world cup is to throw Christmas trees and win according to the height and length of the throw. The tournament itself is based on disciplines of athletics: Long throw, slingshot, and high throw. The votes of all three disciplines are then being added and the winner takes it all. However, the sport is too unique for the development of actual techniques, meaning that every participant is allowed to use their own method. Despite common belief, Christmas tree throwing requires a lot of training. Beginner and inexperienced throwers usually lack experience and struggle with the proper timing of when to let go. When the tree is thrown in the wrong way, it blows up and falls very fast. In fact, this is where everyone has to find the technique that suits them best. Over the years some people have gotten very competitive in the sport and train in the summer with chairs to get themselves ready.

There are separate competitions for women and men, similar to the actual Olympia world cups. The players come from the entirety of Germany, while over the years the domain has even expanded over England, Ireland, and the US. The new women’s champion is Margret Klein-Raber with an average of 17,47 meters. It was her first time competing last year and she immediately won all disciplines and made new records. Still, to this day, the unfought champion is the founder Milloth. He talks about his secret being hot chocolate with alcohol and calls it allowed doping. The winners receive figures of elks, made from wood as a trophy.

Doping in the sport is considered alcohol or mulled wine and is highly recommended. This truly shows how much the goal is mainly spending quality Christmas time with family and friends. The fun takes the first and core place. In this sense, every world cup ends with a celebration where all the trees are burned and everyone from the city comes together. It is usually a night full of laughter, happiness, and wine. 

However, despite the common belief today actual Christmas trees are no longer used. The trees that have been standing in the living rooms, cannot be used as they are dried up, lose all of their needles and the branches usually break fast. These days there are specific forests where the competitive trees are grown and get cut down right prior. Still, the rule for a fair tournament is that only trees that are grown in the proper forest and ca. 1,50 m high are allowed.

In conclusion, one can say that the Christmas tree world cup is a way for people to say goodbye to the Christmas holidays and hello to the new year. It is a way to convert athletics into fun and quality time that involves all close relatives.  Although it has grown into friendly competition over the years, fun still takes priority. In fact, this is so beloved that even other countries catch onto the hype of the tournament. Who knows, maybe the tree-throwing World Cup will become an expanded fixed tradition at the Christmas time over the next century.


Spiegel, D. (2020, January 5). Seltsame Sportdisziplin: Wm Im Weihnachtsbaumwerfen. DER SPIEGEL. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from

SWR Aktuell. (2023, January 8). Knutfest in Weidenthal mit Wettbewerb im Weihnachtsbaumwerfen. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from 

Jonathan Anda und Vincenzo Mancuso (Fotos). (2023, January 8). Flieg, Bäumchen, flieg!: Weihnachtsbaum-Weitwurf-Weltmeisterschaft. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from 

Wie möchten Sie Weiterlesen? saarbruecker. (n.d.). Retrieved January 11, 2023, from 

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