It’s the build up to the holidays and things are staying festive here at the website of Blocks, the LEGO magazine for fans, as we take a look at how Christmas trees have evolved in the LEGO Winter Village series over the years.
The tradition of Christmas trees goes back to the 16th century, and they’re a staple of most festive decorating. Whether it’s a Norwegian spruce in Trafalgar Square or a massive pine gracing the front of the Rockefeller Centre, Christmas trees are everywhere once December hits (and often earlier!). They’re also popular with the LEGO designers and have been included in almost every Winter Village set released.
With over a decade of LEGO Christmas trees in these special festive sets, how have they changed? And how do the designers somehow keep them looking different? Join Blocks, the LEGO magazine for fans, as we take a walk through a plastic Christmas tree forest.
Back in 2009 came the first Winter Village set – 10199 Winter Toy Shop. Alongside the typical LEGO pine tree elements was a brick-built Christmas tree, which is still the largest to come in any set within the theme. It used a simple yet solid method of alternately stacking layers of green plate pieces, topped off with a snowflake and a string of stud lights. It speaks to the quality of the design that the re-release of this set, 10249, used almost exactly the same method.
Blocks reviews 10293 Santa’s Visit in Issue 85 and hears from the designer of the set in Issue 84. To get the LEGO magazine for fans every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
After that brilliant debut, the theme ditched brick-built Christmas trees for several years, although 10229 Winter Village Cottage did come with a chainsaw, so apparently the minifigures were off to get one. Then 10245 Santa’s Workshop in 2014 came with a mini Christmas tree, built around a central stand with segments attached on the side. Transparent studs imitated baubles and a tiny star element fit on top. It was cute and effective.
Two years later 10254 Winter Holiday Train added movement to Christmas trees, with every festive decorator’s dream of a rotating one. If it can rotate you can see the decorations all the way around! It even had a little blue LEGO train around the base that looked suspiciously like the Polar Express.
In 2018 the Winter Village theme took a bit of an unusual direction with a non-traditional location in 10263 Fire Station, and the Christmas tree followed suit. It was almost a pencil-tree (yes, that is a technical term), thin and with an obviously tall trunk. Continuing the red theme that comes with a fire station, most of its decorations were various shades of scarlet too.
The tree in 10267 Gingerbread House continued this smaller, thinner theme and looked quite a lot like the one in 10254, but with one big difference. Rather than using a moulded star element, new kite shaped pieces were combined to create a diamond-like star topper. It looked a bit oversized on the tree but that hardly mattered.
When it comes to the most realistic Christmas tree then that title has to go to 10275 Elf Club House from last year. It ingeniously used roof tiles and cheese slopes to imitate a needle bough effect of a real pine, interspersed with dozens of studs to make a bauble extravaganza. This kind of style was then continued in this year’s offering, 10293 Santa’s Visit, which also uses roof tiles of a different kind for a more realistic shape. However, it had an added extra that sets it apart from all the rest. It can light up thanks to a light-brick cleverly hidden inside the base, adding a real touch of festive magic.
So, from tall to tiny, baubles to working lights, there’s been just about everything a tree could hope for over the years. If one thing’s for certain it’s that the LEGO designers love Christmas trees and they keep finding ways to have them looking fresh in every set.