Every year, the Vatican receives two incredible gifts coming from abroad for Christmas. European dioceses, consortia, and other organizations take turns to pay tribute to the Holy See gigantic fir and a real-size Nativity scene — each of them coming from a different place and telling a story of its own.
The tradition of putting up a Christmas tree on St. Peter’s Square started in 1982 at the request of the Polish Pope, John Paul II. It is believed that fir Christmas tree, which is an evergreen plant, represents the resilience of life in fighting against harsh weather.
Christmas tree and Nativity Scene at the Vatican, December 2022.
Christmas 2022: Gifts from Abruzzo and Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy)
In occasion of Christmas 2022, two Italian regions decided to give their gifts to the Vatican. This year's Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square will be a 30-m high silver fir from the small mountain village of Rosello in Italy's central Abruzzo region. The tree, whose decorations were made by residents of a psychiatric rehabilitation centre in Rosello, will be illuminated on Saturday 3 December at 5.00 pm.
Vatican Christmas tree, December 2022.
At the same time the Vatican will inaugurate its Christmas crib, a gift from Sutrio in the province of Udine, in Italy's northern Friuli-Venezia Giulia region.
The Nativity Scene, which will be installed under the Christmas tree in St Peter's Square, will be made entirely of cedar wood harvested from a sustainable forest, reported by Vatican News.
The Nativity scene will feature life-size figures, with the Holy Family joined by hand-carved characters representing traditional artisans from Sutrio, including carpenters, weavers and craftspeople.
This will be the 40th Christmas tree in St Peter's Square, continuing a tradition begun by Pope John Paul II in 1982.
The tree and Nativity Scene will remain on display until the end of the Christmas season, which coincides with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, on Sunday 8 January 2023.
St Peter's Square Christmas Tree - December 2021
Christmas 2021: Last year's gifts from Italy and Perù
Last year's Christmas setting at the Vatican came from Chopcca (Perù) and it had been inaugurated on 10 December 2021, with the traditional lighting ceremony. The Nativity scene, instead, came from Perù, Latin America, and it was composed of more than 30 statues, realized by five artists of Huancavelica. This Peruvian Nativity Scene wanted to remind us about the independence of this country and recalls the typical clothes of people from the Andes.
The tree was just as much majestic: 28 meter high, the red spruce came from Andalo, in Trentino region of Italy.
Both Christmas tree and nativity had been inaugurated at the Vatican on 10 December and remained in St. Peter’s Square until the feast of the Lord’s Baptism on 10 January 2022.
Looking for a new Nativity scene for your household? Browse below our selection of hand-carved wooden and resin nativities from Italy.
St. Peter's Square Nativity Scene - December 2021