Add these incredible Christmas destinations to your bucket list.
Nothing says Christmas is upon us more than a decorated evergreen showcased in the public square. Dressed in colorful ornaments and topped with a twinkling star, the spectacular display invites the community to participate in the joy of the Christmas season.
Here are some of the biggest show-stoppers from around the world:
The Christmas market in Old Town Square is alive with good old-fashioned tradition. Lined with picturesque shops and houses, this town square offers everything from horse-driven carriage rides to ice skating. Enjoy a hot cup of mulled wine and sample delicious food while taking in splendor of the 200-foot-tall Christmas tree.
St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City
Many would argue that there is no comparison to Christmas in Rome. Just outside of St. Peter’s Basilica in St. Peter’s Square stands a massive spruce, accompanied by a life-sized manger. The seven-ton tree was a gift from Poland and was decorated by children from various hospitals through a rehabilitation project from the Lene Thun Foundation.
Washington, D.C., United States
Positioned between the White House and the Washington monument in the northeast quadrant of The Ellipse shines the United States’ National Christmas Tree. The Colorado blue spruce from Virginia stands tall at 79 feet and is surround by 56 smaller trees, representing every U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Home to the tallest floating Christmas tree in the world, Rio does not cut corners when it comes to its Christmas festivities. The 280-foot tree illuminates Lake Rodrigo de Freitas with nearly 3 million lights. The lighting ceremony, complete with fireworks, is the capital city’s largest celebration after Carnaval and New Year’s Eve.
Nestled in the heart of this capital city’s old town is a riverside Christmas market that attracts locals and tourists looking for a quaint holiday destination with fewer crowds. The center square features a brightly lit tree surrounded by venders selling holiday treats, toys, and artwork. Christmas lights glow throughout the streets from the Ljubljana Castle to the famous Triple Bridge.
Each year the iconic French department store Galeries Lafayette Haussmann boasts an elaborate display featuring a hanging Christmas tree. Carefully resting on top of a chandelier base, this year’s tree is surrounded by hundreds of colorful balloons and giant pieces of candy made from mylar foil.
Madrid’s 17th-century Plaza Mayor at Christmas time is exciting and full of energy. Large crowds of people gather daily to take in the festivities. Over 100 vendors and artists line the plaza offering everything from Yuletide treats to Nativity scene figurines. There’s even a beautiful carousel for the kids. And at the center of it all towers an enormous cone-shaped Christmas tree installation (real trees are no longer used throughout most Spanish public areas).
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?