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.
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:
2017's best Christmas Trees
2017's best Christmas Trees
An upside down Christmas tree is shown on display in the lobby of the Hotel Del in Coronado, California, U.S., November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Manhattan, New York
People sing carols in the Macy's Singing Christmas Tree on 6th Avenue during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A giant Christmas tree stands in Juan Pablo II square in Managua, Nicaragua, December 2, 2017. Picture taken December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sao Paulo, Brazil
A family takes a sefie during the launch of the Ibirapuera Park Christmas Tree in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil November 25, 2017. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Ardingly, West Sussex
Britain's tallest living Christmas tree, a 110 foot tall giant redwood at Wakehurst in Ardingly, West Sussex. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
NOVEMBER 28: Stage designer Es Devlin poses beside a 'Christmas Tree' in the entrance to the V&A, Victoria and Albert museum on November 28, 2017 in London, England. The tree consists of a 'cloud of floating words' that have been contributed by visitors and forms part of the 'Sounds Like Christmas' month-long musical celebration of Christmas across the V&A. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
An illuminated Christmas tree and colour lit fountains are seen in Nice, France, December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
A general view shows a giant Christmas tree and the art deco glass dome in Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, France, November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
A 'Christmas Tree' stands at the Spanish Steps in central Rome on December 9, 2017, as the first weekend of Christmas shopping starts. / AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Tourists pose with a Swiss flag next to a Christmas tree and with the Eiger North Face at the Jungfraujoch in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
A giant christmas tree is seen at the Christmas market in Dortmund, Germany, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Leon Kuegeler
A huge Spanish flag flutters beside Christopher Columbus statue and a giant Christmas tree in Madrid, Spain, December 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
People make their way during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at central Syntagma square in Athens, Greece, December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
Unusual Christmass tree designed by local artist Teet Suur and made from wood by local professional school was opened on the First Advent ceremony in Rakvere on December 3, 2017 (Photo by Sergei Stepanov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A general view of the Christmas tree in Vilnius, Lithuania December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
Zgharta city, Lebanon
People gather under a Christmas tree, marking the beginning of the Christmas season in Zgharta city, north Lebanon December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim
SHANGHAI, CHINA - DECEMBER 11: A 22-metre-high Christmas tree illuminates with golden LEDs to welcome Christmas at Qibao Ancient Town on December 11, 2017 in Shanghai, China. Western traditions including Christmas are becoming increasingly popular and even fashionable in China's major cities. Christmas for most in China is devoid of any religious sentiment but is becoming a major annual event on the commercial calendar. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
Metro Manila, Philippines
Park-goers walk past the 15-foot Christmas tree made of 15,000 recycled plastic bottles as part of the Christmas decorations at the Manila Ocean Park in Metro Manila, Philippines November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco