This article was first published on December 24, 2014 but we think it still rocks!
In the race over the best holiday decorations, some especially motivated household designers drown their trees in tinsel, turning their branches into an armory of ornaments. When creative minds set their heads to the task of erecting an impressive tree, however, they often came up with truly spectacular presentations, blowing angel tree toppers out of the water with eco-friendly luminariums, interactive crystals, and ingenious 3D printed designs. Here are some next-level trees from all over the world to inspire your own future plans for holiday greatness.
Hungarian architecture studio Hello Wood built a 33' tall Christmas tree in Budapest, piling over 30,000 lbs of wooden logs into a towering cone. Dubbed The Charity Tree, with all of the logs given to local families in need as firewood when it is dismantled on the 12th night after Christmas.
MySquare's growing assortment of light up wish-making installations, including a Wish Tree and a Wish Tower, grew a little bigger this holiday season with WishTree@BXL. A festive rendition of the design group's classic button-operated wish makers, their latest installation is great for making sure your bases are covered when it comes to your gift list.
Japanese art and design studio teamLab have wowed us with space waterfalls and enraptured us in a Garden of Unearthly Delights, and their Christmas spectacle doesn't disappoint. Similar to MySquare's installation above, The Crystal Wish Tree is designed to accept festive declarations of desire. Rather than having a button hardwired into the tree, however, teamLab's installation is controlled via smartphone. The light patterns, digital decorations, and wishes are customizable to anyone using their custom-designed app.
Sometimes the problem with a Christmas tree is that it just seems too rooted to the ground. Enter Otto Dieffenbach's drone Christmas tree: aerodynamically designed to fly through the air in exactly the way a tree shouldn't.
Art group Luzinterruptus, known for their guerilla activist installations such as LED-enabled syringes, decided to turn last year's "Consumerist Christmas Tree" into a tradition. This year they made a near-exact replica of the plastic behemoth, sculpting 2,000 disposable bags into one towering 18' tall tree.
On Tumblr, the holiday season becomes GIFMAS, a wintry celebration of the animated image. User My Art Experiments made this GIFMAS tree using Processing, and the result is a smooth, modern loop that goes great with a crackling yule log and a glass of eggnog.
The Geelong Floating Christmas Tree, a festive display from Melbourne design group Creative Production Services and lighting designer Philip Lethlean, stood off the coast of Australia's Corio Bay. With 28 different lighting patterns, this tree is far better adapted for Australia's Southern Hemisphere winters than an imported evergreen.
Perhaps part of a 21st Century tradition that will go down in history, this 3D-printed Christmas tree from researcher Richard Zhang at Simon Frasier University takes a new approach to additive manufacturing by printing around pyramid-shaped scaffolds. While it took a whole lot of super complex math to make, the tiny, machine-spun results look an awful lot like the future direction of the holiday.
This 8-bit tree adorned with classic Pac-Man decor, originally erected in 2007 in Madrid and uploaded to the web by Clipset, is just nostalgia-inducing enough to bring back to the days of breaking in new toys and ripping wrapping paper with reckless abandon. As we cram in our last minute gift shopping and try not to double-book our holiday plans, we'll clutch a printout of this image and remember.