RELIGION
12/15/2017 06:05 pm ET

The Most Imaginative And Awe-Inspiring Christmas Trees Of 2017

From clouds of floating words to recycled plastic bottles, here are 22 creative symbols of light in the middle of darkness.

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.

  • Coronado, California
    An upside down Christmas tree is shown on display in the lobby of the Hotel Del in Coronado, California, U.S.
    Mike Blake / Reuters
    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
    People sing carols in the Macy's Singing Christmas Tree on Sixth Avenue during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhatta
    Andrew Kelly / Reuters
    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.
  • Washington, D.C.
    U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are silhouetted against the tree as they depart after participating
    Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
    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.
  • Managua, Nicaragua
    A giant Christmas tree stands in Juan Pablo II square in Managua, Nicaragua.
    Oswaldo Rivas / Reuters
    A giant Christmas tree stands in Juan Pablo II square in Managua, Nicaragua.
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
    A family takes a sefie during the launch of the Ibirapuera Park Christmas tree in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
    Nacho Doce / Reuters
    A family takes a sefie during the launch of the Ibirapuera Park Christmas tree in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Ardingly, England
    Britain's tallest living Christmas tree, a 110-foot giant redwood at Wakehurst in Ardingly, West Sussex.
    Steve Parsons - PA Images via Getty Images
    Britain's tallest living Christmas tree, a 110-foot giant redwood at Wakehurst in Ardingly, West Sussex.
  • London, England
    The lights on the Christmas tree are turned on during the traditional ceremony in Trafalgar Square in London. The Trafalgar S
    Rick Findler - PA Images via Getty Images
    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.
  • London, England
    Stage designer Es Devlin poses beside a Christmas Tree in the entrance to the Victoria and Albert museum in London, England.
    Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
    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.
  • Nice, France
    An illuminated Christmas tree and fountains are seen in Nice, France, on Dec. 3, 2017.
    Eric Gaillard / Reuters
    An illuminated Christmas tree and fountains are seen in Nice, France, on Dec. 3, 2017.
  • Paris, France
    A giant Christmas tree stands in the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, France.
    Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters
    A giant Christmas tree stands in the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, France.
  • Rome, Italy
    A Christmas tree stands at the Spanish Steps in central Rome.
    FILIPPO MONTEFORTE via Getty Images
    A Christmas tree stands at the Spanish Steps in central Rome.
  • Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
    Tourists pose with a Swiss flag next to a Christmas tree and with the Eiger North Face at the <a href="https://www.myswissalp
    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.
  • Dortmund, Germany
    A&nbsp;giant Christmas tree&nbsp;sits in&nbsp;the middle of a Christmas market in Dortmund, Germany.
    Leon Kuegeler / Reuters
    A giant Christmas tree sits in the middle of a Christmas market in Dortmund, Germany.
  • Madrid, Spain
    A huge Spanish flag flutters beside a Christopher Columbus statue and a giant Christmas tree in Madrid, Spain.
    Sergio Perez / Reuters
    A huge Spanish flag flutters beside a Christopher Columbus statue and a giant Christmas tree in Madrid, Spain.
  • Lisbon, Portugal
    A woman takes a picture inside a Christmas tree at Comercio square in Lisbon, Portugal.
    Rafael Marchante / Reuters
    A woman takes a picture inside a Christmas tree at Comercio square in Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Athens, Greece
    People&nbsp;attend&nbsp;a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at central Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece.
    Costas Baltas / Reuters
    People attend a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at central Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece.
  • Rakvere, Estonia
    This unusual Christmas tree was designed by local artist Teet Suur and made from wood.
    NurPhoto via Getty Images
    This unusual Christmas tree was designed by local artist Teet Suur and made from wood.
  • Vilnius, Lithuania
    A stunning&nbsp;Christmas tree in Vilnius, Lithuania.
    Ints Kalnins / Reuters
    A stunning Christmas tree in Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • Beirut, Lebanon
    Workers decorate a Christmas tree in front of the Al-Amin mosque in Beirut, Lebanon.
    Jamal Saidi / Reuters
    Workers decorate a Christmas tree in front of the Al-Amin mosque in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Zgharta, Lebanon
    People gather under a Christmas tree, marking the beginning of the Christmas season in Zgharta city, north Lebanon.
    Omar Ibrahim / Reuters
    People gather under a Christmas tree, marking the beginning of the Christmas season in Zgharta city, north Lebanon.
  • Shanghai, China
    A 22-meter&nbsp;Christmas tree with golden LEDs sits in the&nbsp;Qibao Ancient Town in Shanghai, China.
    VCG via Getty Images
    A 22-meter Christmas tree with golden LEDs sits in the Qibao Ancient Town in Shanghai, China.
  • Manila, Philippines
    Parkgoers walk past&nbsp;a 15-foot Christmas tree made of 15,000 recycled plastic bottles at the Manila Ocean Park in Manila,
    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.
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