The World’s Most Famous Holiday Displays
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Arguably the most famous Christmas tree in the world, the Rockefeller tree is typically a Norway spruce scouted somewhere in New England and brought to 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The tradition of putting a tree in mid-town Manhattan officially began in 1933 (the same year the plaza opened), when workers decorated a 20-foot balsam fir with paper, cranberries, and “even a few tin cans.” Today’s tree, which reaches anywhere between 70 and 100 feet, is decorated with 30,000 LED lights and topped with a dazzling 9.5-foot Swarovski star.
_Photo source: hardwareaisle.thisoldhouse.com
Singapore’s Shopping District
Thirty years ago, in an effort to entice shoppers during the holiday season, Singapore began placing light displays all along—and above—its main shopping district. Now, more than a mile of spectacular stringed-light decorations arch over Orchard Road, near the heart of the commerce and entertainment centers. To get the best view of these aerial arrangements, it’s recommend that you take a nighttime ride in an open-top bus.
_Photo source: Dennis Detering
Disneyland’s Christmas Spectacular
From mid-November through the beginning of January, the magical kingdom is transformed into a winter wonderland, including a completely crystalized Sleeping Beauty’s castle, _The Nightmare Before Christmas_-themed Haunted House, and the Main Street U.S.A. Christmas tree, which is decked out in more than 2,000 ornaments and 70,000 lights. But it’s the Christmas Fantasy Parade, featuring trumpeting toy soldiers and all the Disney characters in their holiday finest, along with the “Believe…in Holiday Magic” fireworks show and its snow-fall finale that really makes Disneyland a must-visit destination during the holidays.
_Photo source: Harshlight
Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens
Disneyland is not the only amusement park that transforms into a magical holiday menagerie. Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in Europe, metamorphoses into a 20-acre holiday village, complete with Christmas concert, decked-out rides, and mugs of glogg (or hot mulled wine) for sale. What truly makes this a standout seasonal spot is its artistic light display, which was created by Tiffany & Co. design director John Loring.
_Photo source: johnmariani.com
Macy’s Herald Square Holiday Window Displays
Since the early 1870s, Macy’s has delighted shoppers and passersby with its famed Christmas window displays at its flagship location at New York City’s Herald Square. The retailer unveils two separate window spectaculars in time for Thanksgiving—and of course the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The first depicts scenes from the classic 1947 film, Miracle on 34th Street, while the second showcases a new yearly tableau, ranging from a _Polar Express_-themed window to last year’s “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
_Photo source: jensmadrid.blogspot.com
We’d be remiss not to mention the City of Lights, which is dressed to the nines each Noel. From mid-November through the end of December, the Champs-Elysees, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, dazzles in hundreds of thousands of fairy lights. This famed route also hosts a Yuletide market, where patrons can nosh on holiday treats while shopping for holiday trinkets and décor.
_Photo source: womansday.com
Washington DC’s National Christmas Tree
The grand illumination of the National Tree by the President of the United States has been a time-honored tradition since 1923, when President Coolidge first flipped the switch. In recent years, the National Tree has served as the centerpiece to a much larger display, including 57 smaller trees (one for each state, five territories, and the District of Columbia), known as the “Pathway of Peace,” a large-scale Yule log, and model train for kids to ride.
_Photo source: wilfjames
Madrid’s Main Streets
Although considered more subtle and elegant than the holiday displays in other major cities, few sights compare to the lights that line the major thoroughfares of Gran Via and Paseo del Prado. Also noteworthy is Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, home to one of the oldest—and most famous—holiday markets in Europe. There, you can find more than 100 stalls featuring decorations, trees, and cherished nativity scenes.
_Photo source: visitingdc.com