Xmas 3

This out of Belgium. This year, the traditional pine tree has been replaced by an electric tree. It’s called Xmas 3 (which means “Christmas Tree” – get it?). It’s at La Grand-Place in Brussels.

More pictures here.

My Austrian news site, religion.orf.at, reports that some people don’t like it. Over 25,000 have signed a petition calling for “respect for our values and traditions.” It was charged that the tree cost the city eight times as much as a real true – but in fact the energy concern Electrabel sponsored and covered the costs for the new tree.

There is a Facebook page for the return of a true Christmas tree to the square.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of taste. I kind of like it. What do you think?



  1. It might have been prudent to have both a traditional conifer and Xmas 3 at different locations. I kind of like Xmas 3 too. On the other hand I’m a traditionalist, put the tree up on Christmas Eve sort of person.

    Perhaps we should be grateful they didn’t have an Advent wreath in this style, with purple and pink fireworks going off on the appropriate Sundays.

  2. It’s visually interesting. Probably over the long-haul, it’s more ecologically responsible than cutting another tree every year. And, is it really more offensive than a white, artificial tree?

    Objectors on traditional grounds should be as ‘courageous’ as the Catholic U. grad students in the mid-nineties who burned a University Christmas tree in a parking lot to protest the prominent pagan symbol on campus. Now, THOSE guys were serious about “our values and traditions.” I’ll have none of these half-hearted objections.

  3. I kind of like it. What do you think?

    I think you’re scaring me, friar!
    Just give me the old fashioned, what was good for my grampa and dad is good enough for me, ah, the aluminum tree with the light wheel!

    1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #3:
      I always wanted one of those since my best friend next door to us in 1962 got one, with the spinning light and we’d sit outside in the dark and marvel at the colors. I still get nostalgic and have that same feeling when I see one today. But the photo on this post makes me think its some short of really cool flying kite! Maybe we’ll see it in the Macy’s Day Parade next year as float.

  4. It’s empty of everything that is specific to Christmas. It’s a total mathematical abstraction. As such it doesn’t even begin to signify the superabundance of all the different sorts of goodness made present to us by the incarnation of God.


  5. Each year Savannah, Georgia (the most beautiful city on the East Coast), my home town, decorates its squares for the Christmas holidays. One year it was decided to allow students from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to handle the decorations. Some of what we got resembled the “tree” in question. There were lots of “odd” colors and color combinations, little presence of wreaths and/or bows, and some things that just made us go, “Hmmmm…”
    That was the ONLY year SCAD was involved in the decorations.

  6. It seems to me that something this abstract is functioning more like a piece of public art than the usual symbol of Christmas. It is not pretending to be a tree. Are not the ersatz Tannenbäume in many living rooms (including mine!) more insidious?

    Take this with a grain of salt from someone who doesn’t like electric key actions on organs, or other ephemeral technologies headed for rapid obsolescence getting in the way of the simple technology/high expressivity quotient of traditional musical instruments.

  7. I’m less concerned with this “tree” of a kewl algae-like hue, and more concerned about it being judged outside “our traditions”. Exactly what are those traditions? Who should decide what they are? Austrian bureaucrats? A commission of artists hired by the state? The Church?

    Is this an indication all future Christmas trees and other decoration set up in our churches will have to pass muster in this pope’s special CDW commission deciding the admissibility of art, architecture, and music?

  8. I like it. It is a handsome foil to that very tradional space. Somewhat reminds me of I. M. Pei’s (now beloved) pyramid at Le Grand Louvre. I trust there was some necessity for the destrating fence around the structure.

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