Across the country, many towns and cities ring in the Christmas season with a big event revolved around one specific thing: lighting a Christmas tree.
Although each tree lighting ceremony brings its own traditions – and some of these aren’t even trees in the traditional sense of the word — the one thing they do have in common is that Christmas trees seem to have the power to bring a community together as they begin to celebrate the season.
Here are some must-see trees across the country:
Alaska: Petersburg Community Tree
Each year, in Petersburg, Alaska, a local citizen is chosen to magically light the 70-foot tree with only a wave of the hand. The town continues to celebrate with Christmas Carols, cider and live music.
Arizona: Outlets at Anthem
Just north of the Copper State’s capital is a wonderful little suburban outlet mall that is extremely proud of their Christmas tree. Standing at 80-feet tall, it is the tallest Christmas tree in the state and definitely makes its presence known while driving up I-17. There is even a 3-foot copper star adorned on top to pay tribute to the state’s high production of the metal.
Arkansas: Capitol Plaza in Little Rock
This 65-foot tree in the middle of Capitol Plaza in Little Rock is sure to make a statement.
California: Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles
The Citadel Outlets in Los Angeles search for the perfect tree in a national forest in the northern part of the state. This year, a 110-foot white fir made the cut. One thousand extra branches were added to fill out the tree and over 10,000 ornaments adorn the tree. They claim that it’s the “World’s Largest Tree” although it’s hard to confirm such a lofty claim.
Colorado: Fireman’s Park in Westminster
Westminster boasts that it decorates “Colorado’s Tallest Living Christmas Tree” each year. The 100-year-old tree measured 64 feet 2 inches tall in 2017.
Connecticut: Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce
Lake Compounce in Bristol features Connecticut’s tallest Christmas tree at 100 feet tall.
Delaware: Rehoboth Beach Bandstand
In the summer, the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand brings live music to the community, but in the winter it stands alongside a magical Christmas tree.
Florida: “Sandi” the Sand Tree in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach has embraced their beach-y landscape and built a 35-foot tall Christmas tree composed completely of sand. “Sandi” weighs 700 tons and proves that Christmas spirit doesn’t need cold weather or snow to thrive.
Hawaii: Banyan Tree Lighting in Lahaina
In downtown Lahaina each year, twinkling Christmas lights are strung around the iconic Banyan Tree. It’s a scene that will make you want to start singing “Mele Kalikimaka.”
Idaho: Lake Coeur d’Alene
The Christmas tree displayed at Lake Coeur d’Alene has 1.5 million lights draped around it!
Illinois: Millennium Park in Chicago
The city of Chicago celebrated its 105th annual Christmas tree lighting in Millennium Park this year. The 60-foot Norway Spruce is close to the ice rink and Christkindlmarket, creating the perfect atmosphere for a holiday-filled evening.
Indiana: The Sailors and Soldiers Monument in Indianapolis
The Sailors and Soldiers Monument transforms from a Civil War Monument to a 284-foot Christmas tree around the holidays. While there may not be any greenery involved in this tree, there’s no denying that it’s an impressive display.
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Maine: Lobster Trap Christmas Tree in Rockland
The iconic New England tree is even more non-traditional than the sand tree in Florida. The Lobster Trap Christmas Tree is composed of 155 fully-functioning lobster traps and is 35 feet tall.
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Honorable Mention: L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights in Freeport
The outdoor outfitter L.L. Bean builds a magical winter wonderland in Freeport each year. In order to see the massive Maine-native Christmas tree, patrons must walk through the illuminated Discovery Forest first.
Maryland: Hubcap Tree in Hampden
The 10-foot Christmas tree made entirely of hubcaps is constructed by local artist, Jim Pollock, each year. He told Baltimore Magazine, “This tradition is about finding a moment of peace and togetherness in all of this chaos.”
Massachusetts: Faneuil Hall Christmas Tree in Boston
The 80-foot-tall Norwegian Spruce featured at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston is a stunning sight. The 30,00 lights, 10,000 strobes and 3-foot-tall star on top highlight the magnificence of the tree.
Michigan: Mona Shores Singing Christmas Tree in Muskegon
“America’s Tallest” Singing Christmas Tree is performed by the Mona Shores High School Choir each year. Around 300 students will sing Christmas songs on the 67-foot-tall metal structure shaped like a Christmas tree.
Mississippi: Natchez Tree
As with any celebration in the Deep South, the Christmas season is celebrated in a big way. Natchez, Mississippi is no exception. The tree lighting matched with the Annual Turkey Gumbo Cook-Off is the perfect way to ring in the holiday season.
Missouri: Mayor’s Christmas Tree in Kansas City
The Mayor’s Christmas Tree in Kansas City is a beloved tradition in the community. The ornaments that adorn the 100-foot tree are sold the following year to help provide assistance to low-income seniors, people with disabilities and others in need.
Nebraska: Union Station in Omaha
Omaha has celebrated a special tree at Union Station since the 1930s. This year, the tree was donated by a family in honor of two sisters, Taylor and Jordyn Podraza, who died in a car crash along with their father in 2010. Normally there is only one angel on top of the tree, but due to the nature of the donation, there will be two.
New Mexico: Taos Plaza
Locals in Taos gather each year to sing carols, drink hot chocolate and watch the annual Christmas tree lighting. Mr. and Mrs. Claus even make an appearance on the big day.
New York: Rockefeller Center in New York City
Of all of the Christmas trees across the country, the Rockefeller Center tree is the most iconic. This year’s tree, a 72-foot Norway Spruce, was affectionately named “Shelby” and is sure not to disappoint.
North Carolina: Biltmore House in Asheville
The historic Biltmore House in Asheville knows exactly how to fill the tall ceilings in the Banquet Hall during the holiday season — with a 35-foot Fraser Fir.
Ohio: Toledo Zoo & Aquarium
The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium goes all out for the Christmas season, including an 85-foot Norway Spruce decorated with 35,000 LED lights.
Oregon: Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland
Portlanders gather each year at the Square to watch the 75-foot Douglas Fir light up the night and participate in a community sing-a-long. It’s a scene Cindy Lou Who wouldn’t be able to pass up.
Pennsylvania: Perkasie Borough Town Center
Perkasie Borough has had plenty of time to perfect their Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony since it’s the oldest community tree lighting ceremony in the United States! The first event occurred in 1909 and has become a beloved tradition to the local community.
South Dakota: Christmas at the Capitol in Pierre
In 1981 twelve trees were featured in the state’s capitol building in Pierre. Now, close to 90 trees are decorated each year by local business, organizations, and government offices. A theme is picked each year and the trees are decorated based on each group’s interpretation of that theme. What is 2018’s theme? An Enchanted Christmas.
Tennessee: Gaylord Opryland’s a Country Christmas in Nashville
A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville is definitely a must-see. The resort lights up with over three million Christmas lights, including a large tree.
Texas: Zilker Holiday Tree in Austin
The Zilker Holiday Tree in Austin has been a local tradition since 1967. The 155-foot tall tree is composed of 39 streamers with 3,309 light bulbs. Each year, the winner from a city-wide tree art contest receives the honor of lighting the tree.
Virginia: Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg
This theme park tackles the holiday season in a big way.
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Washington: Extreme Christmas Tree Lighting in Sumner
Sumner takes their Christmas tree to an extreme level. Literally. The Extreme Christmas Tree Lighting features a 185-foot-tall tree with 4,494 lights.
West Virginia: The Greenbrier’s “Dream Tree for Kids” in White Sulphur Springs
The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs holds an annual toy drive for children in need. The event is called the “Dream Tree for Kids” and raises more than $1 million for local and national charities.
Wyoming: Town Square Antler Arch in Jackson Hole
This last one isn’t necessarily a tree, but it is an extremely iconic part of celebrating Christmas in Jackson Hole. The Antler Arch located in the town square is wrapped in thousands of lights and illuminated for all to see during the season.
No matter what kind of tree you and your loved ones gather around this Christmas season, there is something magical about slowing down and celebrating the moment — maybe with some hot cocoa in hand.
Don’t see your state in this list? Comment to let us know the most unique tree in your area.
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