Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH) staff are busy applying the finish­ing touches to the hotel’s larg­est ever Christmas tree.

GPH general manager, Peter Gee described the 22-feet Christmas tree as a “big statement”, which aims to spark a strong festive spirit in Suva this December.

“GPH has had over 100 years of tra­dition and we want to lock this in to bring back the elegance and really bring out the Christmas spirit,” he said.

“It [the tree] is 22 feet – it’s probably the biggest in Fiji and probably the biggest in the South Pacific,” Mr Gee said.

The assembly of the tree, which sits well above the hotel’s main hall mezzanine, comes in anticipation of GPH’s annual Christmas event this Friday.

Friday’s inaugural Christmas tree lighting ceremony will kick-off with a warm welcome from the Nausori Family Harmony Choir before the Fiji Arts Club Choir and the Asian Ladies Choir also perform. The Archbishop of Polynesia, Winston Halapua will also be at the event to conduct a blessing under the Christ­mas tree.

Mr Gee said GPH is pouring more into Christmas this year than ever before in its modern history.

“We’ve occasionally had groups of people singing in here before and it’s actually sounded fantastic,”he said.

“We always do Christmas functions -we always have a lot of Christmas parties here, but we really want to take it up a notch.”

Mr Gee said there is a possibility the Christmas tree will be used for char­ity-fundraising in the coming weeks.

“Next week onwards we’ll work on getting some church groups to come in a couple of days to give gifts under the tree,” he said.

Tickets to GPH’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony are $80 per person, with $10 from every ticket donated to St Christopher’s Children’s Orphan­age in Nausori.