Updated Dec 13, 2019

Vatican Christmas tree decorated in energy-efficient lights

The Vatican Christmas tree has been decorated with "next-generation" lights meant to have a reduced impact on the environment and use less energy.

The 85-foot-tall spruce tree came from the high platncruxeaus of Veneto region in northeast Italy. Another 20 smaller trees were donated by communities in the region's province of Vicenza, and the lights supplied by the German lighting giant, OSRAM.

The large Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square was made entirely out of wood and replicated traditional northern Trentino-style buildings. Some 23 life-size wooden figures, all hand-carved, fill the scene, with some of the clothes real outfits handed down through the generations, or once worn by local shepherds.

The scene also features broken tree trunks and limbs salvaged from severe storms in the region in late 2018. About 40 trees will be replanted in the area that had been seriously damaged by hurricane-like winds and torrential rains.

The Pope said he was happy to hear that new trees will be planted in the region to help reforest areas hit by last year's storms.

"These alarming events are warning signs that creation sends us and that ask us to immediately make effective decisions to safeguard our common home".

The tree and Nativity scene will remain in St. Peter's Square until the 12 January.