A Christmas tree is usually a decorated evergreen conifer tree such as a pine or a fir, decorated with baubles and often lights. The tradition of lighting a Christmas tree can be dated back to the 18th century, when trees were adorned with lighted candles. Today it’s more usual to use different coloured electric lights.
The custom of decorating a tree for Christmas most likely began in Germany in the 16th century, and its popularity as a Christmas tradition had spread to the rest of the world by the 19th century. With concerns over deforestation and other environmental damage, the majority of modern Christmas trees are synthetic.
Public areas feature some of the tallest and most dazzling examples of Christmas trees. Here are some eye-popping examples.
Tree on the Hill, Umbria, Italy
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Made up out of around 300 lights, this “tree” is actually built on the ground, stretching along the slope of a Mount Igino in Umbria. An incredible 80 kilometers of cable is used to power the string of bulbs, and the star on top alone takes up over a square kilometer of the hillside. In 2011, the Pope used an iPad to turn on the massive tree from the Vatican City, while communicating with the citizens of the town via a live video feed.
Floating Tree, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Floating in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon of Rio de Janeiro is the world’s largest floating Christmas tree, as acknowledged by the Guinness World Records. It stands nearly 280 feet tall and weighs an immense 542 tons. It was built on 11 colossal platforms by Bradesco Seguro, Brazil’s largest insurance company. In 2011, a full 3.1 million bulbs were used to light the tree, and a 6-minute firework display accompanied the turning on of the lights.
LEGO Tree, Johor, Malaysia
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Although not as enormous as other Christmas trees mentioned here, the sheer ambition and ingenuity of this project qualified it for this list. The Lego tree in the video is the largest in Asia, standing at 9 meters tall and 4.9 meters wide, and took 3,440 hours to complete. The largest LEGO Christmas tree in the world is found in California. It stands 30 feet tall, and was hand-assembled from 245,000 LEGO bricks. Whoever put that one together must have had a lot of Christmas spirit and patience.
Tree in the Circle of Lights, Indianapolis, USA
The Indiana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument is 86.72 meters tall and is located in the center of Monument Circle in Indianapolis’s business district. Originally built as a monument to the soldiers who fought in various American wars, it becomes one of the world’s largest Christmas trees each year, as lights are extended from its peak. This seasonal tradition, known as the Circle of Lights, began in 1962 and continues to this day. Usually the lights are lit the day after Thanksgiving. People from around the United States come to witness the lighting, and others watch the event as it’s televised around the country.