Before the ball drops in Times Square, the Big Apple turns on its holiday charm with the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center .
The Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., is decorated with 3,000 ornaments that are the handiwork of U.S. schoolchildren. Encircling evergreens in the'Pathway of Peace' represent the 50 U.S. states.
The world's largest Christmas tree display rises up the slopes of Monte Ingino outside of Gubbio, in Italy's Umbria region. Composed of about 500 lights connected by 40,000 feet of wire, the'tree' is a modern marvel for an ancient city.
A Christmas tree befitting Tokyo's nighttime neon display is projected onto the exterior of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.
Illuminating the Gothic facades of Prague's Old Town Square, and casting its glow over the manger display of the famous Christmas market, is a grand tree cut in the Sumava mountains in the southern Czech Republic .
Venice's Murano Island renowned throughout the world for its quality glasswork is home to the tallest glass tree in the world. Sculpted by master glass blower Simone Cenedese, the artistic Christmas tree is a modern reflection of the holiday season.
Moscow celebrates Christmas according to the Russian Orthodox calendar on Jan. 7. For weeks beforehand, the city is alive with festivities in anticipation of Father Frost's arrival on his magical troika with the Snow Maiden. He and his helper deliver gifts under the New Year tree, or yolka, which is traditionally a fir.
The largest Christmas tree in Europe (more than 230 feet tall) can be found in the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon, Portugal . Thousands of lights adorn the tree, adding to the special enchantment of the city during the holiday season.
'Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree': Even in its humblest attire, aglow beside a tiny chapel in Germany's Karwendel mountains, a Christmas tree is a wondrous sight.
Ooh la la Galeries Lafayette! In Paris, even the Christmas trees are chic. With its monumental, baroque dome, plus 10 stories of lights and high fashion, it's no surprise this show-stopping department store draws more visitors than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.
In addition to the Vatican's heavenly evergreen, St. Peter's Square in Rome hosts a larger-than-life nativity scene in front of the obelisk.
The Christmas tree that greets revelers at the Puerta del Sol is dressed for a party. Madrid's two-week celebration makes millionaires along with merrymakers. On Dec. 22, a lucky citizen will win El Gordo (the fat one), the world's biggest lottery.
A token of gratitude for Britain's aid during World War II, the Christmas tree in London's Trafalgar Square has been the annual gift of the people of Norway since 1947.
Drink a glass of gluhwein from the holiday market at the Romer Frankfurt's city hall since 1405 and enjoy a taste of Christmas past.
Against a backdrop of tall, shadowy firs, a rainbow trio of Christmas trees lights up the night (location unknown).
There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?
This week, I found out.
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...so pass it on if you wish.'
Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone!