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'Big and spectacular': Edmonton man completes Christmas tree made of 20,000 Lego pieces


It took nearly a year, but an Edmonton man's Lego masterpiece is finally complete, just in time for the holidays.

Upon first glance, you might not notice anything different about James Hinchliffe's Christmas tree.

But a closer look will reveal that it's actually built of tiny bricks. Every branch and decoration is hand-crafted out of the legendary plastic toy.

"I am really partial to the snowman head. I don't know why," he told CTV News Edmonton.

"I started thinking about it last year at Christmas. I am a big Lego fan so I thought I'd like to do something big and spectacular."

"He said, 'Next year, you know, I am going to build our Christmas tree out of Lego.' And I just kind of looked at him and was like, 'OK,'" Hinchliffe's wife Kim recalled.

As you might guess, Lego doesn't sell a Christmas tree that's several feet tall. Hinchliffe has a smaller one that he joked is a "paltry" 784 pieces.

The tree is based on a design by members of the Tennessee Valley LEGO Club, who build one every year for the Fantasy of Trees charity event in Knoxville. Hinchliffe used their online building guide as a base and added his own touches and changes.

"The whole tree with decorations is right around 20,000 pieces," he explained. "You can't just walk into the Lego store and get 10,000 green bricks. It doesn't work that way."

"Once I saw those boxes of green bricks arriving, I knew there was no turning back," Kim said.

James and Kim Hinchliffe's Lego Christmas tree in December 2022 (CTV News Edmonton.)

Hinchliffe found many of the pieces on a site called "BrickLink," which he describes as the "eBay of Lego." He started the project in January.

It's a hobby he took up while undergoing cancer treatments about 10 years ago.

"So I was off work for a year, pretty much, and looking for something to occupy my time. I dug into the bins of Lego of my kids sitting downstairs... and it just kept going from there," Hinchliffe said.

He's been cancer-free for about eight years but his passion for building hasn't wavered. Hinchliffe says he had some doubts about finishing the tree but he's proud he persevered.

His hardwork and finished product won over a lot of people, including his wife.

"I enjoy hearing people's comments and that they like it," he said.

"It's absolutely beautiful and it's something you want everyone to see to appreciate," she said.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nicole Weisberg Top Stories

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