The Christmas tree has long been a symbol of hope and light in the middle of darkness.
Although Christmas trees have become associated primarily with Christianity, the tradition of bringing greenery into the home during the bleak midwinter months actually stems from a number of different religious and cultural traditions that blended together slowly over the centuries.
The ancient Romans brought evergreen boughs into their homes during the feast of Saturnalia, which marked the winter solstice. The evergreen was also part of the midwinter festivities of Scandinavian Vikings, who associated the plants with the sun god Balder.
In the 17th century, wealthy German families started bringing trees into their homes and decorating the plants with wax candles, sweets and apples. The Christmas tree got one of its biggest modern-day breaks when a London newspaper printed a sketch of Britain’s Queen Victoria and her German husband, Prince Albert, standing with their children around a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle. The tree immediately became fashionable in Britain and later in the United States.
The tradition of the Christmas tree continues to evolve today, as artists around the world develop their own creative takes on this ancient tradition.
From Nicaragua to Lebanon, check out these 22 wonderfully imaginative, over-the-top Christmas trees that are lighting up public spaces around the world this holiday season.
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An upside down Christmas tree is shown on display in the lobby of the Hotel Del in Coronado, California, U.S.
New York, New York
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People sing carols in the Macy's Singing Christmas Tree on Sixth Avenue during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan, New York, U.S.
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U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are silhouetted against the tree as they depart after participating in the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony near the White House in Washington, D.C.
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A giant Christmas tree stands in Juan Pablo II square in Managua, Nicaragua.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
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A family takes a sefie during the launch of the Ibirapuera Park Christmas tree in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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Britain's tallest living Christmas tree, a 110-foot giant redwood at Wakehurst in Ardingly, West Sussex.
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The lights on the Christmas tree are turned on during the traditional ceremony in Trafalgar Square in London. The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is the city of Oslo's traditional Christmas gift to the City of Westminster as a token of thanks for British support during the years of occupation.
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Stage designer Es Devlin poses beside a Christmas Tree in the entrance to the Victoria and Albert museum in London, England. The tree consists of a "cloud of floating words" that have been contributed by visitors.
Eric Gaillard / Reuters
An illuminated Christmas tree and fountains are seen in Nice, France, on Dec. 3, 2017.
Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters
A giant Christmas tree stands in the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, France.
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A Christmas tree stands at the Spanish Steps in central Rome.
Denis Balibouse / Reuters
Tourists pose with a Swiss flag next to a Christmas tree and with the Eiger North Face at the Jungfraujoch
, a viewing point that sits at an altitude of 3454 meters. It is only accessible by taking a cogwheel train to the highest train station in Europe.
Leon Kuegeler / Reuters
A giant Christmas tree sits in the middle of a Christmas market in Dortmund, Germany.
Sergio Perez / Reuters
A huge Spanish flag flutters beside a Christopher Columbus statue and a giant Christmas tree in Madrid, Spain.
Rafael Marchante / Reuters
A woman takes a picture inside a Christmas tree at Comercio square in Lisbon, Portugal.
Costas Baltas / Reuters
People attend a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at central Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece.
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This unusual Christmas tree was designed by local artist Teet Suur and made from wood.
Ints Kalnins / Reuters
A stunning Christmas tree in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Jamal Saidi / Reuters
Workers decorate a Christmas tree in front of the Al-Amin mosque in Beirut, Lebanon.
Omar Ibrahim / Reuters
People gather under a Christmas tree, marking the beginning of the Christmas season in Zgharta city, north Lebanon.
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A 22-meter Christmas tree with golden LEDs sits in the Qibao Ancient Town in Shanghai, China.
Romeo Ranoco / Reuters
Parkgoers walk past a 15-foot Christmas tree made of 15,000 recycled plastic bottles at the Manila Ocean Park in Manila, Philippines.