I’m Dreaming of an Ice Christmas? The World’s Most Expensive Christmas Tree 2010
By Devorah Isenberg , Tuesday, December 21, 2010
If you happen to be in the Abu Dhabi area this holiday season, stop in at the Emirates Palace hotel and check out the Christmas tree in the lobby. In a city already full of opulence and extravagance of every kind, the dazzling tree, said to be worth about $11 million, is just the icing on the cake. The Emirates Palace hotel isn’t exactly a Best Western: it has a private marina and heliport, and a vending machine that dispenses gold bars. So when the hotel’s management decided to put up a Christmas tree to give all their Christian visitors a taste of home, they had to do it in decked-out Abu Dhabi style.
What would you rather? A string of diamonds around your tree or around your neck?
The 43-foot tall tree isn’t actually a genuine fir tree (which aren’t too easy to find in the Middle East), but it is probably the most dazzling faux fir ever, as it is adorned with diamond, sapphire, pearl and ruby ornaments. There are decorative bows made of solid gold and strings of pearls instead of ordinary lights or tinsel.
According to the Guinness world records team, the world’s most expensive Christmas tree, worth $10.8 million, was a 2002 tree bedecked in 83 pieces of Piaget Japan jewelry. If the 2010 Abu Dhabi tree is really worth $11 million, it will take over the crown for blingiest Christmas tree of all time. So if you want impress your half on a Christmas, go to Abu Dhabi and choose most beautiful and expensive Christmas gifts 2010 !
Ever since the tree was unveiled on Thursday, critics have spoken out against the over-indulgence and excess represented by the Christmas tree. Some have even mentioned the original values of Christmas which have been lost in this display of wealth, and questioned how the money could have been better spent. Others wondered if this show of allegiance to the hotel’s Western, Christian guests might be offensive to the local Muslim citizens who work at and occasionally frequent the Emirates Palace.
The hotel’s management has responded to these attacks, however, with the explanation that in fact, no actual money was spent on the opulent tree, and the $11 million is just a theoretical price tag. The tree itself is the same faux pine tree used by the hotel every year, and the jewels and ornaments being displayed come courtesy of Style Gallery, a local jewelry gallery that uses the Christmas tree as an opportunity to showcase and advertise its luxurious wares. All the jewelry and ornaments will be returned to the gallery and placed on sale at the end of the holiday season. And as far as sensitivity to local customs, hotel management explained that the tree is their way of welcoming foreign visitors and giving them a taste of home, a notion very much in line with Abu Dhabi’s traditions of tolerance and celebration of world culture.
So this holiday season, for a little multicultural indulgence, try some bling on that Christmas tree. Or, for a more traditional approach, put the diamonds and pearls under the tree, for some good old fashioned Christmas cheer!
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