A group of Polish mountaineers in traditional dress presented the Pope with a Christmas tree yesterday. The group sang folk songs from the Zakopane region in the Tatras during the Pope's general audience. Speaking in Polish, Pope John Paul thanked them for their gift and told them it made him very happy, bringing back many good memories of his own mountaineering days. A proficient skier, in his younger days the Pope spent many holidays with friends in the mountains near his home in Wadowice. For the past 22 years, a Polish group has presented him with a tree each Christmas. On his election in 1978, the Pope introduced the custom of bringing a large tree and crib into St Peter's Square.