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The Weird And Wonderful World Of Christmas Trees

Oh Christmas tree. Oh Christmas tree! It’s that time of year again. The fairy lights are making their way from the back of the cupboard and malls are lighting up like… well like malls at Christmas! Whatever your religion or culture, there’s always something fascinating about the weird and wonderful lengths people go to for that strange institution which is the Christmas tree!

Here at GE we’re no stranger to Christmas trees. We’re proud to celebrate our own feats of engineering delight, especially so after completing a $12M refurbishment in November 2013 to the GE Oil and Gas manufacturing plant at Batam, Indonesia. Thanks to the hard work by the GE team the Batam facility, and its newly constructed High Bay, it has become the first GE facility in the Asia-Pacific to produce vertical subsea ‘Christmas trees’ for our partners in the oil and gas industry.

 

The GE ‘Christmas Tree’

With the GE portfolio of subsea trees operating up to 3km underwater, to pressures of 15,000 PSI and between temperatures of -18°C to 151°C, they’re surely some of the most impressive Christmas trees in the world? But what’s the competition?

 

Gubbio, Italy

Each Christmas a small medieval town in northern Italy puts forth its claim to the largest Christmas tree in the world. The Christmas tree which illuminates the slopes of Mount Ingino, rising above the town of Gubbio, is not an actual tree, but instead the illuminated outline of that strange symbol of the Christmas season. It’s lovingly created with over 10km of cabling and lit by nearly 1,000 multi-coloured lights. It might be cheating a little bit, but it’s certainly very impressive.

That’s a lot of electricity you say? As a leading global expert in power, we were thinking the same thing. The good news is since 2010 the Gubbio Christmas tree has been entirely powered by solar. Christmas imagination at work?

 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2014

If imagination is winning awards at Christmas, then the organisers of the 2014 floating Christmas tree in Rio must surely be strong contenders for the prize. This 280ft high, 540 tonne tree graced the lagoon at Rodrigo de Freitas in Rio de Janeiro in 2014, and was said to be the largest floating Christmas tree in the world.

And in case a floating 85 metre high tree illuminated by 3.1 million micro-bulbs isn’t impressive enough, the organisers decided to unveil this floating symbol of Christmas with an amazing fireworks display. Christmas with a bang!

 

New York, USA

Next to a real movie star of a Christmas tree! Each year since 1933 the Rockefeller Centre in New York announces the official launch of the New York Christmas, with a lavish lighting ceremony for their A-list tree and the tens of thousands of lights that festoon its festive branches. With the tallest recorded specimen rising as high as 100ft in the air, it’s no wonder you can catch glimpses of it in famous Christmas movies such as Home Alone 2 and Elf.

 

Kaunus, Lithuania, 2011

GE’s Ecomagination initiative is designed to deliver solutions for more sustainable business and a more sustainable world. So we salute the efforts of the town of Kaunas, Lithuania in erecting a Christmas tree in 2011 made of over 30,000 recycled soft drinks bottles. That’s definitely Christmas Ecomagination at work.

 

Washington, USA

And finally we head to the iconic capital of the largest Christian country in the world. For the past 52 years, GE has provided the lighting for the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C. In 2014, the design followed a traditional red, green and white colour scheme, using the latest LED holiday lighting products. The addition of a shiny sparkle red mesh garland meant the tree could be enjoyed both at daytime and at night.

With more than 60,000 holiday LED lights on the living Colorado blue spruce, and set in a stunning location not far from the White House, it’s one of the most notable displays of Christmas tree delight anywhere in the world. What’s more each strand of GE LED holiday lights consumes up to 80% less energy than incandescent holiday lights, while still providing the festive lighting we all know and love. It’s a capital Christmas!

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