World’s Largest Floating Christmas Tree: No wimpy Charlie Brown tree for Brazil

The question is: who puts the star at the top?

It’s an head-scratching combination. Sure, if you have the mountains that Rio de Janeiro has, placing a Christ the Redeemer statue on top is only natural. But placing a huge Christmas tree on the water?

The Guinness Book of Records officially proclaims the tree of lights that floats in Rio’s Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon as the “Largest Floating Christmas Tree in the World.”

It’s as tall as a 28-story building (85 meters high). If you’re imagining your tree at home (with maybe a string out lights out), you’d best add a few million more lights to your imagination. This tree uses 2.9 million miniature bulbs spread over 52 kilometers of strands to produce its colorful twinkles, available in 11 sequential patterns. And what’s Christmas without Christmas music? Yes, it does have a sound system that plays carols that were recorded in Italy.

Designed by Brazilian artist Abel Gomes, the tree and its lighting have been a tradition since 1996. It’s no small event either — the Christmas tree lighting is actually the third biggest event in Rio after the Carnival and New Year’s Eve.

And before you get turned off by the thought of all of the energy expended, consider that the lights are powered by biodiesel generators. Plus, we’re told that any carbon dioxide emissions produced by the set-up, display, and tear-down of the tree will be offset by the planting of trees.

You still have time to see the lights, before they go out on January 6, 2010.