December 11, 2020. When it comes to Christmas decorations, Lithuanian cities have lots of ideas that are anything but boring. The capital's Christmas trees have a history of being the most beautiful in Europe, whereas the world's largest Christmas tree built out of recycled bottles has even put the name of Lithuania into the Guinness World Records. This year, the entire country is taking strict precautions to make the festivities safer for the public, from secret lighting of public Christmas trees to lighting events broadcasted solely on TV.
While waiting for the times to get safer in order to see the Christmas spirit first-hand, it is a great opportunity to reflect on both present and past festive ideas implemented by Lithuania.
Race for the Best Christmas Decoration
The one-of-a-kind battle between Lithuanian cities sets a high bar for Christmas tree decorations each year. For example, this year's surrealist installation in Vilnius has a hidden traditional Christmas tree. While designed to be admired at a distance, the tree's surrealist design not only matches the current mood—it was named once again as the most beautiful in Europe. On top of that, the Vilnius tree is eco-friendly, powered with electricity generated from processed coffee grounds.
Those who visited Lithuania in previous holiday seasons were probably amazed by Vilnius chess queen Christmas tree. The 15th century Bernardine Gardens located in the heart of Vilnius has recycled some of the chess decorations and incorporated them into this year's mysterious Christmas garden look.
The city's bohemian neighbourhood Užupis was also adorned with unusual decoration—the highest Advent wreath in Lithuania. Half a kilometer of Christmas lights are wrapped around the 4-meter high structure making it a perfect decoration to take pictures in front of.
Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania, has presented a Christmas tree that looks like a delicious dessert—whipped cream and meringue-looking decorations cover it from the bottom to the top, thus creating a sweet illusion. And to cheer up the passers-by, a well-known artist has decoratedthe city's famous Unity Square with giant red-chested bullfinches—birds that many Lithuanians associate with long and snowy winters.
Merry Digital Christmas 2020
Since the country is determined to make the holidays safe, another common theme has unquestionably become digital solutions. One of the main SPA resorts in Lithuania, Druskininkai, has therefore transformed into a digital city: lasers illuminate the Christmas trees, the city buzzes with picture-taking drones, and to compensate for the lack of winter frenzy, fake snow covers the town.
One of the largest manor ensembles in Lithuania—Pakruojis Manor—is transforming its courtyards into a magical world based on the well-known "Alice in Wonderland." The entire area is about to become a shining beacon of light with hundreds of lanterns, light-emitting sculptures, and original art installations.
Never-Ending Story of Exceptional Christmas
Despite the pandemic having led to quite a few out-of-the-box Christmas solutions, Lithuanian spirit of uniqueness has been always attracting new ideas, thus making the country proud to show off some amazing decorations even in previous years.
The port town Klaipėda, for example, celebrated Christmas underwater even twice—in 2018 and 2019 a fully-decorated Christmas tree was submerged in the city's main 9m pool. Last year it even had a little added twist—an underwater Santa Claus armchair and a gift bag with some real presents inside.
Other cities—like Panevėžys—found inspiration in household items by turning them into full-on Christmas trees. In 2019, the capital of the Highlands region displayed a tree composed entirely out of 2020 wool socks to welcome the upcoming year.
Although all different, the cities in Lithuania share a uniting approach towards Christmas—to highlight anything that is real and beautiful in each town. And as "Real is Beautiful" trademark of Lithuania Travel reflects, this holiday season, like many times before, the natural elements such as water or wood come all into play to create amazing festive ornaments—the beloved buildings and gardens shine in a new light through a manifested real beauty of Christmas.
Since this year Christmas is a closed-off affair in the country, Lithuania invites everyone to keep an eye on virtual events and photographs in the hopes that the next holiday season travelers from all around the globe will be able to observe first-hand even more out-there Christmas decorations.
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PHOTO: Kaunas Freedom alley, © A. Aleksandravičius, Kaunas IN
Each December Lithuania goes on a festive mission—to surprise the world with out-of-the-box Christmas decorations. While local cities compete for the most original Christmas trees, global visitors admire creative and visually-pleasing solutions. This year, the decorations are even more over-the-top to compensate for the cancelled mass events.