Fabulous Christmas Trees: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
The tradition of lighting the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York began in 1933. These days, the lighting ceremony is an NBC-TV special that makes the tree a worldwide celebrity. The 74-foot-tall Norway spruce was illuminated by 30,000 lights during a ceremony that featured performances by Neil Diamond, Cee Lo Green and Carole King. The tree is decorated with five miles of lights, which will be on until Jan. 7. After that, it will be turned into lumber for the housing charity Habitat for Humanity.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro boasts a Christmas tree that made it into Guinness World Records. The largest floating Christmas tree is more than 278 feet tall and was erected in Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Construction on this year's artificial tree began in September. It requires 1,200 people to assemble it and take it down. I t will be lit up with 3.3 million micro-lamps and 2,100 strobe lights every evening until Jan. 6.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: National Christmas Tree, Washington, D.C.
If you wanted to attend this year’s National Christmas Tree Lighting in Washington, D.C., you would have had to get lucky. An online lottery doled out tickets to only 17,000 people. President Barack Obama and his family lit the 26-foot tree in front of the White House on Dec. 1, accompanied by celebrities such as TV and radio personality Carson Daly and musical performer will.i.am.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Dortmund, Germany
This tree is 45 meters tall (45 meters to feet 147.637795) and towers over the Christmas market in Dortmund, Germany. Look closely and you’ll see that it’s made of 17,000 individual spruce trees illuminated with 40,000 LED lights and 20 large candles.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Branson, Mo.
Branson, Mo., boasts a tree like no other. It is five stories tall, built of steel and LED lights, and plays Christmas carols. The tree was illuminated on Nov. 4 and will remain up at the Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson until Dec. 30.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort in Scottsdale has a four-story Christmas tree with 65,000 LED lights that blink to 10 holiday songs. Visitors can check out the synchronized lighting and music show every evening from 6-9:30 p.m. The tree dazzles during the day, too, with hundreds of mirrored stars and a 5-foot tree topper.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: San Francisco
San Francisco’s 80-foot fir tree, a gift from Macy’s to the city, uses 21,000 LED lights to brighten up Union Square. This year’s lighting ceremony included a performance by figure skater Johnny Weir, a three-time U.S. champion, two-time Olympian and world medalist.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Lansing, Mich.
Lansing illuminated its Christmas tree on Nov. 18, accompanied by an electric light parade and fireworks over the state capitol building. This year’s beauty is 61 feet tall and was harvested from Houghton Lake, Mich. It’s quite the sparkler, too, with 3,500 LED lights.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: London
London’s St. Pancras International Station is home to a Christmas tree built entirely from Lego bricks. The tree, which took two months to build, features 600,000 Lego bricks and more than 1,000 Lego baubles.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Chicago
The 55-foot Colorado spruce that Chicagoans lit up at Daley Plaza the day before Thanksgiving has an auspicious past. The Spangler family of Western Springs, Ill., decided the giant beauty in their yard was too close to their house, so they entered their tree into Chicago’s annual tree contest. Over the years, the Spanglers say the tree was used as a fort for the kids when they were younger, a source of shade and a landmark for people trying to find their house.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Copperopolis, Calif.
In its day, Copperopolis produced 72 million pounds of copper, supplying the red-orange metal to make bullets for the Civil War. The town is also known as the place where Mark Twain wrote “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” In another claim to fame, the town is a registered California historical landmark. Soak in the history and tip your hat to its 40-foot white fir, which sparkles with more than 1,000 lights.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Coeur d'Alene Resort
Coeur d’Alene Resort in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has an impressively tall living Christmas tree, a grand fir decorated with more than 30,000 LED lights. At 161 feet, it rises to more than twice the height of New York’s famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The tree is the focal point of the resort’s annual on-the-water light show featuring more than 1.5 million lights.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Aspen, Colo.
The historic Sardy House in Aspen was built in 1892 by J.W. (three-fingered Jack) Atkinson, vice president of the Little Annie Mining Company and former Pitkin County sheriff. Operated as a bed and breakfast since 1986, the building is under new ownership this year. John and Selene Devaney are pulling out all the stops with their landmark living Christmas tree. This year’s lighting ceremony upgrades the light bulbs to LED nodes and triples the number of lights from 3,000 to 10,000. The many-colored lights can create animations such as cascading rainbows and fireworks.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: Portland, Ore.
Portland lit its Christmas tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 27, accompanied by the city’s own Pink Martini band and members of the Oregon Symphony and Pacific Youth Choir. The 75-foot-tall Douglas fir was donated by Stimson Lumber Co. and grown on sustainable forest lands near Gaston, Ore. This year, the tree has 14,000 new LED lights.
Fabulous Christmas Trees: The Plaza Hotel, New York
The Plaza Hotel in New York City has unveiled a new 18-foot artificial tree that is the centerpiece of its Fifth Avenue foyer. The Betsey Johnson-designed, Eloise-themed Christmas tree is inspired by the precocious heroine of Kay Thompson’s 1955 classic book, "Eloise."