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December 7#: Vilnius Christmas Tree – Vilnius, Lithuania

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From its Puritan roots to complaints of rampant commercialism, Christmas around the world is been filled with traditions, old and new. Some date back to 16th-century Germany or even ancient Greek times, while others have caught on only in modern times.

And, among them, Christmas trees are one of the most popular, now all over the world.
Their tradition is long and rich, and has resulted in some modern trees that run the gamut from breathtakingly beautiful, encapsulating everything that Christmas stands for, to something simply weird.
Thus, If you need a little help to get into the holiday spirit this year, get yourself a winter drink with some holiday treats and a tour of the world’s best or most unusual Christmas trees. These towering pines (or sand or bottle piles, in some cases) are decked to the nines and shine brightly for holiday season, from Florida, Brazil, Mexico all the way to Lithuania.

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Vilnius’ Christmas tree, set every year in Cathedral Square, is always lavishly decorated, and has been voted the most beautiful Christmas tree in the world for several years in a row.
This year, 2021, to make sure the winning streak lasts, designer Dominykas Koncevičius created a stunning installation from 3,000 artificial branches decorated with over 1.5 kilometers of lights, 96 large replicas of real snowflakes, and 46 mirrors.
The 27-meters-tall tree was lit at the end of November and will remain merry and bright until January 2, 2022.

Located next to the Bell Tower of St. John’s Church in Lithuania’s capital, the Christmas trees of Vilnius are popular also for their original themes, unique decorations and magical atmosphere.
For example, Christmas felt surreal in 2020 with people spending the festive season indoors, but the Christmas tree in Vilnius kept its magic alive, setting the mood and spreading joy both in Cathedral Square and online: its design captured in fact social distancing extremely well, but still managed to bring people together for the Christmas season.

In 2019, the Christmas tree checkmated all others around the world and was awarded the honour of most beautiful tree in Europe.
Like a queen in a royal blue dress and silver cloak, the Christmas tree took on a chess theme. Nestled between the Cathedral Bell Tower and Gediminas’ Tower, and guarded by rows of pawns, it caught the attention of the whole world.
Its theme reflected the connection between modern life and history – chess was a popular game among the nobility and the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania when Vilnius was first founded.

Back in 2018, it reminded everyone about the passing of time by featuring a stylised clock that could be seen from the Cathedral Bell Tower as well as an unforgettable sight on the ground – you could tell the time by looking at the lights of the Christmas tree, while the Christmas tree itself flashed every hour, corresponding with the time of day.

In 2017 a purple Christmas tree sheltered the entire Christmas village under its cloak of 70,000 bulbs and 900 decorations, in a bold choice, as purple is not normally a popular colour for Christmas decorations in Lithuania! But it was winning combination, as it was recognised as the most beautiful in Europe.

It almost seemed as though the emerald Christmas tree of 2016, hiding under a shimmering cloak of 50,000 bulbs, was floating above Cathedral Square while, the one in 2015 was the first Christmas tree in Vilnius where you could go inside and enjoy listening to Lithuanian fairy tales.
The Christmas tree invited people to remember this magical season during their childhood and imagine a cosy fairy tale house.
The original idea was copied by other cities around the world the following year.

Images from web – Google Research

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