A couple weeks back, I compiled a list of oddball Christmas tree displays from ‘round the world including ones made from shopping carts, lobster traps, and tumbleweeds. Now, here is — courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Tourism — yet another nontraditional tannenbaum to marvel over.

Erected in Haifa, Israel’s third largest city, is a 38-foot tall Christmas tree composed of 5,480 recycled plastic water bottles and a whole lot of LED lights. From what I gather and contrary to the news angle that the below video segment takes, Israeli designer Hadas Itzkovitch and her father, artist Ernest Itzkovitch, conceived the faux tree in advance of and not in response to the deadly Mt. Carmel forest fires that destroyed at least 9,900 acres of forest and killed 44 people outside of Haifa earlier in December.

Initially intended to convey messages of eco-awareness and religious harmony and to "demonstrate the possibility of creating an environmentally friendly work that is beautiful, impressive and festive whilst using cheap and simple materials," Haifa's Christmas tree has become somewhat of a poignant, makeshift memorial that reminds Haifa residents of the millions of real trees — ones that could have been used if the annual Christmas tree display if the city hadn't decided to go the recycled plastic bottle route — lost in the environmentally devastating fire. 


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Recycled plastic bottle Christmas tree elicits wows, deep thoughts
A Christmas tree in Haifa, Israel made from 5,480 recycled plastic bottles takes on an additional meaning in the wake of a devastating forest fire in the region