A giant 'international' Christmas tree, carried all the way from the German state of Bavaria, has been lit up in the St Peter's Square on Friday.
"This is an international tree! It grew near the border between Germany and the Czech Republic," the pope said as he received a delegation of pilgrims from Bavaria.
He said that the gift reflected "the spiritual closeness and friendship that link the whole of Germany, and particularly Bavaria, to the Holy See".
The 25-metre (82-foot) high pine is a gift from the town of Waldmuenchen and will stand next to a Nativity scene from Naples that will highlight the role of ordinary people in line with the pope's humble style.