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Lobster Traps Tannenbaum

No one could ever accuse Yankee ingenuity of not having a whimsical side. The hard-working fishermen and lobstermen of coastal Maine aren’t ones to chop down a perfectly good fir tree just to put it up somewhere else for a month. But that doesn’t mean they let their practicality get in the way of the Christmas spirit.

Hence, the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree: a large, evergreen-shaped arrangement of lobster traps—or lobster crates, or lobster pots.

The honest lobstermen of Rockland, Maine will acknowledge the whole thing took off when the residents of Gloucester, Massachusetts, erected a lobster trap tree downtown in 2001. But they will be quick to note that the “lobstering capital of Maine” followed in 2003 with—honestly—a bigger and better tree.

On Thanksgiving weekend, when the town gathers for its Festival of Lights, Santa arrives by lobster boat to light the tree with the help of the Maine Lobster Festival Sea Goddess. The tree itself is 30 feet tall, built from 152 red and green metal lobster traps. It’s ornamented with buoys decorated by local families, and topped with a five-foot tall illuminated fiberglass lobster. It may have been the lobster that got Rockland featured on the 2012 TLC special “Extreme Christmas Trees.”

Farther south, the town of Kennebunkport creates its own trap tree each year in Cape Porpoise Square. Kennebunkport prides itself on building its tree from old-fashioned wooden lobster traps. The tree lighting ceremony is part of the town's annual Christmas Prelude festival, which also includes caroling, craft fairs, a pooch parade and, yes, the arrival of Santa Claus by lobster boat.

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