There’s something magical about Christmas trees, with their twinkling lights among verdant evergreen boughs. But there’s more than one way to light a tree (or at least something that resembles one). Travel across the country this holiday season, and you’ll find all kinds of inventive holiday “trees” made from everything from old skis to tumbleweeds. Here are some of the most fun (and unusual) “tree” lighting ceremonies going on this year:
The Circle of Lights – Indianapolis, Indiana
Rather than erecting a traditional conifer, the city of Indianapolis decorates the magnificent Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in the city’s center. The 284-foot obelisk is lit with strings of large colored lights draped from just below Lady Victory, at the top of the monument, to the stone steps at its base. Locals come out in force to watch the tree lighting; because the monument sits in the center of a large traffic circle, you can get a great view from a variety of locations. It can get chilly at this time of year, so grab a cup of steaming cocoa from a vendor to keep your hands warm. Learn more at Visit Indy.
The Tumbleweed Tree – Chandler, Arizona
If you live in a part of the country where typical Christmas fir trees are hard to come by, it helps to get creative. That’s why the city of Chandler, Arizona long ago adopted a policy of using something they have readily available: tumbleweeds. Their 30-foot-tall Tumbleweed Tree—made up of tumbleweeds that are attached to a tree-shaped scaffolding, spray-painted white, and decorated with colored lights—draws visitors from around the Southwest every year. As the sun goes down on December 5th, head downtown to enjoy activities, dance performances, and the Parade of Lights before the “tree” is illuminated. See the full schedule at the City of Chandler.
The Lobster Trap Tree – Gloucester, Massachusetts
Up and down the coast of New England, you’ll find another unique kind of Christmas decoration: the lobster trap “tree.” These “trees”, made up of square lobster traps, can be found in front yards and town squares pretty much anywhere lobster is caught. No one knows where the tradition started, but Gloucester, Massachusetts was probably the first place to make a large, communal tree. Their 45-foot specimen is composed of over 350 traps donated by local lobstermen and is decorated with buoy “ornaments” that have been painted by local kids (and that will be auctioned off to support the Cape Ann Art Haven). Learn more at Historic Gloucester, MA.
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