The $11 million Christmas tree (AFP)

Many around the world may be hurting for money not just for gifts or even for a Christmas tree but money is no object when it come to celebrating the holiday in Abu Dhabi.

The Muslim desert emirate decided the world needed the world’s most expensive Christmas tree, so it erected a 40-foot, fake evergreen to decorate the gold leaf bedecked routunda of the Emirates Palace AHotel.

The bejeweled Christmas tree is worth about $11 million.  The totals include 181 diamonds, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones, Khalifa Khouri, owner of the Style Gallery, provider of the tree‘s ornaments, tells AFP news service.

The hotel expects to submit the tree to the Guinness book of world records.

When someone with an ounce of sense suggested such an artifact might offend the United Arab Emirates, where most residents are Muslims, Hans Olbertz, general manager of the hotel, responded “This is a very liberal country.”

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Doug Thompson published his first story and photo at age 11 -- a newspaper article about racism and the Klan in Prince Edward County, VA, in 1958. From that point on, he decided to become a newspaperman and did just that -- reporting news and taking photos full-time at his hometown paper, becoming the youngest full-time reporter at The Roanoke Times in Virginia in 1965 and spent most of the past 55+ years covering news around the country and the globe. After a short sabbatical as a political operative in Washington in the 1980s, he returned to the news profession in 1992. Today, he is a contract reporter/photojournalist for BHMedia and owns Capitol Hill Blue and other news websites.