Jumat, 14 September 2012

Most Beautiful Christmas Trees in the World

   The Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., is decorated with ornaments created by U.S. schoolchildren. Encircling evergreens in the ‘Pathway of Peace’ represent the 50 U.S. states. Because this year’s tree comes from Arizona:

   Schoolchildren throughout Arizona made nearly 6,000 ornaments to be placed on the iconic symbol often called “The People’s Tree.” Another 4,000 handcrafted ornaments were made to accompany the 80 companion trees places throughout the United States Capitol Complex. Students were encouraged to craft their ornaments from recycled materials and to consider the environmental impact of their finished designs.

   The biggest Christmas tree display in the world rises up the slopes of Monte Ingino near Gubbio, in Italy’s Umbria region. Each year, on December 7 (Immaculate Conception Eve) the Christmas tree is lit up! This amazing display rises from the last stone houses of Gubbio up to the basilica of S. Ubaldo, the patron saint of the town. More than 500 lights, connected by 40,000 feet of wire comprise this amazing display.

   A display like this one makes me want to book a trip to Tokyo right now! Check out the amazing neon lights on the outside of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka! Even among the many lights of the City, this Christmas Tree stands out.

   Oh, how I wish to visit Prague someday! The Old Town Square includes gorgeous Gothic architecture, and during December each year, holy manger displays can be found in the famous Christmas markets.

   The Prague Christmas markets run daily throughout December. They take place at the Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square, with smaller ones operating at Havelske Trziste & Namesti Republiky. All are within 10 minutes walking distance of each other.
The tree shown above is from the Sumava Mountains in the southern Czech Republic.

   Venice ‘s Murano Island, renowned world-wide for its quality glasswork, is home to the tallest glass tree in the world. This artistic Christmas tree was sculpted by master glass blower Simone Cenedese, and is a modern reflection of the holiday season.

   While most of the world is a mere 2 weeks away from Christmas, Moscow doesn’t celebrate Christmas until January 7, according to the Russian Orthodox calendar. Still, the City is in full preparation mode for the arrival of Father Frost on his magical troika with the Snow Maiden. Instead of a Christmas Tree, you’ll find a New Year tree, or yolka, under which Father Frost places goodies and gifts!

   If you want to see the largest Christmas tree in Europe, you’ll have to visit the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon, Portugal. The tree extends more than 230-feet into the sky and boasts thousands of lights. I’m serious – you have to see this tree to believe it! And if you want a bird’s-eye view, check out the live webcam on top of the tree from SAPO.

   I think that this Christmas tree is one of the most special of them all. How can you not consider the true meaning of the season when viewing this display next to a tiny chapel in Germany’s Karwendel mountains?
Ahhh….. Paris! What a perfect place to celebrate Christmas – the style, the art, the je ne sais quoi that is France! This Christmas Tree inside the Galeries Lafayette is – in every sense of the word – awesome. Can you believe that more people visit the department store than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower? Non? Quelle horror!

   For the ultimate in a Christmas experience, you have to visit St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Anyone who is a Christian, or interested in theology in general, should make a pilgrimage to this holy city-state. This time of year, you get a “two for one”! Not only can you view the Vatican’s heavenly evergreen, but you’ll also be able to enjoy a larger-than-life nativity scene in front of the obelisk.
Now here is a Christmas celebration worth attending! In Madrid, Spain, you may win the El Gordo (the fat one) on December 22! The world’s biggest lottery is announced in less than 2 weeks. You’ll want to be at the Puerta del Sol to be a lucky winner!
Another great metropolis in which to celebrate the season is London! Who can resist the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square, which is an annual gift to Great Britain for its aid during WWII from the people of Norway?

Each year since 1947, a Christmas tree has been given to the people of London from the people of Norway in gratitude for Britain’s support for Norway during World War II. For many Londoners the Christmas tree and carol singing in Trafalgar Square signal the countdown to Christmas.
The simple holiday displays are often the most meaningful. Here at the holiday market in Romer, Frankfurt’s City Hall, you can raise a glass of gluhwein (mulled wine) and give a toast to Christmas’s past, present and future!

Perhaps you’ll agree that the most meaningful Christmas tree displays are those that are unexpected. One of my friends on Facebook recently posted that she had been running along a river trail and came upon a few fir trees that were decorated for the season… out in the middle of nowhere! Similarly, this photo of a trio of Christmas tree is from an unknown location.
Perhaps you can recreate the special feeling in your hometown?
Perhaps my favorite photo of this series of this one from the Arlington National Cemetery, outside Washington, D.C. The wreaths that are placed at the headstones each year – more than 5,000 – are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine.

   The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He’s done this since 1992. Groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to D.C. to help out. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that Harrington is in one of the poorest parts of the state. The Christmas spirit is indeed alive and well!

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