The most spectacular Christmas trees around the globe

O CHRISTMAS tree, O Christmas tree, thy leaves are so unchanging.” Or so the lyrics of the popular Christmas carol go. But Christmas trees around the world are no longer traditional evergreen firs, instead they’ve taken on unique and diverse forms, with variation in colour, size and shape. Some aren’t even trees at all.

The Christmas tradition of decorating a tree is believed to have its roots in pagan and Christian winter celebrations, where fir tree branches were used to decorate homes to remind people of spring or as a symbol of “everlasting life”. While there were a number of forms of early Christmas trees, the first recorded appearance of a Christmas tree in a town square is said to date back to 15th or 16th century Latvia. Townsfolk are said to have danced around the trees before setting them on fire.

Now Christmas trees are commonplace in town centres, with cities around the world keen to put on a show with their impressive trees — and this year is no exception. From Moscow to Madrid toMelbourne, here are some of the world’s most spectacular Christmas trees.

A Christmas tree stands at Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Picture: AFP/Javier Soriano

A Christmas tree stands at Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Picture: AFP/Javier SorianoSource:AFP

A Christmas tree is reflected in a mirrored stainless steel sculpture “Agatha” by Gregory Orekhov in downtown Moscow. Picture: AFP/Mladen Antonov

A Christmas tree is reflected in a mirrored stainless steel sculpture “Agatha” by Gregory Orekhov in downtown Moscow. Picture: AFP/Mladen AntonovSource:AFP

The tree in Puerta del Sol in the Spanish capital of Madrid stands brightly, the blue and green neon lights illuminating the city plaza. Meanwhile, a tree in Moscow can be seen reflected in a nearby stainless steel sculpture by artist Gregory Orekhov.

Armed police forces stand in front of the world's largest Christmas tree, according to the organisers, at the Christmas market in Dortmund. Picture: Bernd Thissen/dpa via AP

Armed police forces stand in front of the world’s largest Christmas tree, according to the organisers, at the Christmas market in Dortmund. Picture: Bernd Thissen/dpa via APSource:AP

Dortmund in Germany claims to have the world’s largest Christmas tree. The 45-metre-tall tree is covered in some 48,000 lights.

Visitors gather near a Christmas tree in Strasbourg, eastern France. Picture: AFP/ Frederick Florin

Visitors gather near a Christmas tree in Strasbourg, eastern France. Picture: AFP/ Frederick FlorinSource:AFP

A giant Christmas tree is displayed next to the cathedral on the Kleber Plaza in Strasbourg, eastern France. Picture: AFP/Frederick Florin

A giant Christmas tree is displayed next to the cathedral on the Kleber Plaza in Strasbourg, eastern France. Picture: AFP/Frederick FlorinSource:AFP

The tree in Strasbourg is a feature of the city’s Christmas market, which is said to be one of the largest and one of the oldest Christmas markets in France.

US First Lady Melania Trump stands in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Picture: AFP/Saul Loeb

US First Lady Melania Trump stands in the Grand Foyer of the White House. Picture: AFP/Saul LoebSource:AFP

A crane lifts the Christmas tree as it arrives at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Picture: AFP/Jim Watson

A crane lifts the Christmas tree as it arrives at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Picture: AFP/Jim WatsonSource:AFP

Christmas comes to Washington DC, with “snow-dusted” trees inside the White House, and a massive tree erected outside the Capitol building.

Employees pose with a six-metre Nordmann Fir tree in Windsor Castle, England. The Windsor Castle State Apartments are used by members of the Royal Family for hosting and events. Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Employees pose with a six-metre Nordmann Fir tree in Windsor Castle, England. The Windsor Castle State Apartments are used by members of the Royal Family for hosting and events. Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Gwen Stefani stands next to the tree inside New York’s Empire State Building. Picture: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Gwen Stefani stands next to the tree inside New York’s Empire State Building. Picture: Michael Loccisano/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

A crane hoists the Rockefeller Center tree upright in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFP

A crane hoists the Rockefeller Center tree upright in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP

Everyone from royalty to celebrity, seems to get on the act. The Queen of England has a lavishly decorated six-metre tree put up in Windsor Castle, while queen of pop Gwen Stefani was caught striking a pose in front of the Empire State Building’s annual tree. Stefani performed at the lighting of the Rockefeller Christmas tree, which is also in New York. This year’s Rockefeller tree is a 23-metre Norway spruce from Pennsylvania.

People walk past of a illuminated Christmas tree at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. Picture: AP Photo/Michel Euler

People walk past of a illuminated Christmas tree at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. Picture: AP Photo/Michel EulerSource:AP

Paris went with a statement all-white tree this year at the Place de la Concorde. The City of Lights lived up to its name with this illuminated tree, as well as many other decorative Christmas lights throughout the city.

A 36 metre Giant Redwood tree is lit up for Christmas at Wakehurst Place in Haywards Heath, England. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A 36 metre Giant Redwood tree is lit up for Christmas at Wakehurst Place in Haywards Heath, England. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

A 36-metre Giant Redwood tree stands over Wakehurst Place in Haywards Heath, England. The tree was decorated with 1800 low-energy lamps, so it’s nor surprise the tree can be seen by pilots as the fly overhead towards Gatwick Airport.

Stage designer Es Devlin poses in front of a 'Christmas tree' at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Stage designer Es Devlin poses in front of a ‘Christmas tree’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

A more abstract form of Christmas tree is that which appears in front of the V & A Museum in London. Composed of a “cloud of floating words”, the tree forms part a month-long festive music themed program at the museum.

Melbourne's new LED Christmas tree at Federation Square. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied/City of Melbourne

Melbourne’s new LED Christmas tree at Federation Square. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied/City of MelbourneSource:AAP

Closer to home, and in a much warmer climate, is Melbourne’s new LED Christmas tree, which has made its appearance for the first time at Federation Square.