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As the home of Switzerland’s largest Christmas market, Basel certainly doesn’t scrimp on its tree. Standing at the heart of the Munsterplatz is a wonderful Christmas tree, decorated with hand-blown and hand-painted Christmas ornaments by the artisan Johann Warner. While the delightful Christmas market itself closes before Christmas, the tree will remain standing for a little while longer. Basel’s Christmas tree is well worth a visit if you are looking for a classical tree.
The birthplace of Jesus according to early Christian tradition, the town Bethlehem is, of course, located in the modern-day west bank. Getting there, therefore, is an adventure in itself but you will be richly rewarded for your adventure or pilgrimage to the church of the nativity. The tree itself is 15 meters high and located in the appropriately named Manger Square, accompanied by a delightful display of illuminations.
Galeries Lafayette is an upmarket department store, mostly based in France and broadly equivalent to either Harrods or Selfridges in the United Kingdom, or perhaps Macy’s in the United States. As such, the amount of effort the Parisian Galeries Lafayette put into their yearly Christmas tree makes it an event on the scale of the Harrods Christmas display. This year is no disappointment, with a vast upside down Christmas tree, which hangs from the roof. Every hour, visitors are treated to a delightful light show.
The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree is both a national treasure for British people and a rich reminder of international cooperation. Norway has provided a tree every year to Britain since 1947 in thanks for help provided during the Second World War. This beautiful tree is decorated in traditional Norwegian style and is situated amongst the cream of the capital’s cultural output. Visitors to the tree are thus able to enjoy a visit to the national gallery beforehand and see Nelson’s column at the same time as they view the magnificent spruce.
Christmas Trees are a relatively recent arrival in Spain and so in relation to many of the great, expensive constructions featured in this list, Madrid’s offerings may seem conservative. That is not to say that they are boring, the offerings in Puerta de la Sol and Callao Square are beautiful in their restraint. The former is constructed almost out of pure yellow light, while the latter resembles a sparkling cloud come to rest on a classic Christmas tree.
Just like the rivalry between New York City and Washington DC, Moscow would never be one to let the United States or the United Kingdom rest on its laurels when it comes to Christmas illuminations. In stark opposition to London, a white Christmas is nearly always assured in the red square. With the famous Kremlin in the background, the yearly celebrations here are sure to leave a large impression on even the most cynical Christmas Grinch.
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree provides a sterling alternative to the tree outside The White House in Washington DC. Situated on Rockefeller Plaza, one of New York’s grandest tourist attractions, the tree is at the centre of a full range of Christmas activities, including live music and artistic displays. The tree was lit on 3 December 2014 and will remain illuminated until early January.
Surrounded by Christmas markets which run from early November to mid-January, Prague’s Christmas tree can be found in the illustrious surroundings of the Old Town Square. There is a range of delightful locally produced arts and crafts to peruse at the various stalls. The tree itself is a classic choice and moderately decorated, allowing the simplicity of the design to speak for itself in its historic surroundings, which include the Jan Hus statue and the famous Prague Astronomical Clock.
If you thought that the Parisian Christmas tree was impressive, then clearly Rio de Janiero’s planners agreed with you. As such, they went all out to draw your attention, with an 85 meter tall floating Christmas tree. Launched with an enormous fireworks display, the world’s largest floating tree weighs in at 542 tons and is currently floating in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon.
Washington DC takes pride in their Christmas celebrations, with residents enjoying a month-long series of national celebrations centering the history of festive illumination, which dates back to 1923. This year, actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were present at the lighting ceremony, which took place next to The White House. Performances are held daily, with something that will enthrall every member of your family.