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Putting a Great Christmas Tree upPublished on 28 October 2019
The Great Christmas Tree of Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas, was put up on Monday, place Kléber, in the center of town. Here is a walk through of the event
1/ Choosing the tree
The tree is chosen based on particular specifications. The selected tree must above all be cone-shaped, have a beautiful crown, and perfectly even proportions, and look like the “perfect Christmas tree” as far as is possible. The symmetry of its branches and its skirt, which must be full and heavy, are studied closely. To achieve that, nothing like full sun exposure and the roots in water, rooted on the mountainside to protect it from the wind.
The tree selected generally measures 32 to 33 meters tall, so it doesn’t rise taller than the buildings on place Kléber, which in turn protect it from the wind.
The ONF is Strasbourg’s preferred partner for this operation. After weeks or even months of searching, the Office specialists take care of felling, rebranching and lifting.
2/ Its arrival place Kléber
A wide load transports the tree from its forest to the center of Strasbourg. The vehicle is as magic as the Great Christmas Tree since its back wheels can be remote-controlled from a second vehicle which follows the first, to be able to go around roundabouts without any problems. Also, its trailer is retractable and opens out and folds away again to adjust to the size of the tree to be transported.
3/ Lifting and bracing
The agents from the Office national des forêts cut the base of the trunk so the tree fits perfectly into the 2-meter deep pit. It is then placed in the hole and braced using wooden planks and timber. A hydraulic flat cylinder at the bottom of the pit is used to remove the tree once it is no longer needed.
4/ To lean or not to lean?
A tool as rudimentary as a plumb line is used to check that the tree is fully upright in the pit. The tree is looked on by millions of visitors and the Great Christmas Tree of 2016 hit the headlines due to its slight tilt.
The ancient plumb line method is preferred to the laser level as the tree, a living object, projects shadows and distorts the lines due to its branch volume.
The slightest inclination of 1 cm at the bottom on the ground is equivalent to 30 cm at the top, and modifies the end visual result by as much.
5/ Fixing in concrete
For safety reasons and to ensure the stability of the Great Christmas Tree, a concrete base is poured into the pit.
It will take 3 weeks to decorate. Be there on November 22nd from 5.45 p.m. to see the lighting of the tree and the streets of Strasbourg.