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22/12/2010 - A tale of four christmas trees...  22/12/2010 - A tale of four christmas trees...

22/12/2010 - A tale of four christmas trees...

It seems the humble Christmas tree is now a symbol of prosperity and this year the race is on for the title of "The most expensive tree in the world."

The town of Milan, Italy was the first to claim the prize with the unveiling of a 450,000 USD tree in the Piazzo Duomo.

The spectacular tree was donated by Tiffany & Co. and has over one hundred thousand white lights and decorations all specially created by the renowned American jeweller.

The Italian church questioned Tiffany's generosity when the well-known store opened a shop beneath the tree to sell its jewellery over the festive season - but in true Christmas spirit, and to keep the church happy, Tiffany will donate 9% of all sales to a local charity.

The Milan tree held the title of "The most expensive tree in the world" for only a few days until it lost out to another jewellery store - this time in Japan...

When this stunning 24-carat gold tree went on display at the Ginza Tanaka store in Shinsaibashi, Osaka.

The tree weighs 21 kilograms and is decorated with over 240 jewels, including diamond baubles and strings of pearls. It has a price tag of 150,000,000 Yen (around 1,800,000 USD)

The store official felt the cost was justified despite the current economic situation, saying, "Economic sentiment is sluggish. But, at least in this store, we want people to feel a gorgeous atmosphere."

Yet, within just a few days, the 24-carat tree was surpassed by an even flashier number...

This year the titleholders of the "The most expensive tree in the world", are the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

The thirteen-metre high tree, which sits in the hotel's lobby, has been valued at over 11,000,000 USD - making the Tiffany and Ginza Tanaka trees look like poor relations.

In fact, the tree’s branches are adorned with watches, necklaces and bracelets, which between them contain 181 diamonds, sapphires, pearls and emeralds.

The Emirates Palace has asked the Guinness Book of Records to certify the tree as the worlds' most expensive and a twenty-four hour surveillance team is in place to protect the precious decorations.

The Abu Dhabi tree is officially "The most expensive tree in the world".

But sadly, there is also a prize for the worst tree, or the "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree", as it is has become known in America.

This year that prize went to the Castle Dene Shopping Centre, Peterlee in the UK.

This tree will not require a twenty-four hour security team, as it has just twelve coloured lights and no decorations.

Yet, the town's shopping centre hired one of the nation's pop sensations, Atomic Kitten star Natasha Hamilton, to switch on the lights in a lavish ceremony.

Since the tree went up the council have been inundated with complaints - locals had expected to see some Christmas cheer, rather than this forlorn spectacle.

Embarrassed, local councillor Joan Maslin, said "I would describe this tree as just like a twig. To be honest, it looks like something that people would throw in a skip after Christmas."

I actually think it has a “certain charm” and at least it's real, not some over the top artificial show piece, which has unfortunately now become the symbol of Christmas.

I’d like to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.


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