St Peter's Christmas tree to be unveiled early

St Peter's Christmas tree and crib to mark the Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The Vatican will unveil the St Peter's Square Christmas tree on 8 December, coinciding with the first day of the Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy, rather than waiting until its usual time nearer Christmas.

This year’s tree is a 32-m tall spruce donated by the German region of Bavaria. The crib scene and its 24 life-sized figures will be donated by the Archdiocese of Trento in northern Italy, in collaboration with a local crib group. The crib scene presents the Holy Family and the Magi, as well as another group of people dressed in traditional clothes from the Dolomites.

The tree decorations were organised by the Countess Lene Thun Foundation which offers recreation therapy to children suffering from cancer across Italy. The colourful decorations were based on designs made by children who were asked to create designs representing their dreams and desires.

The Christmas tree will be illuminated on 18 December.