In Ukraine, Christmas lights defy the darkness of war.

KYIV, Ukraine — After hundreds of missiles and drones aimed at Ukraine’s energy infrastructure left dozens of towns without Christmas lights, some cities found inventive ways to win back the holiday season with decorations — and without wasting precious electricity.

In the usually serene square of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, the capital, the authorities erected what they called the Christmas Tree of Invincibility. It was bedecked with papier-mâché white doves and a strip of blue and yellow lights — the colors of the Ukrainian flag — powered by a diesel generator.

Kontraktova Square in Kyiv is usually filled at Christmastime with different entertainment and games for children.Credit…Laura Boushnak for The New York Times

They were fitting decorations for a city where the sound of generators is now heard more than the rumble of traffic. The Tree of Invincibility can be heard before it can be seen.

Ukraine celebrates Christmas as a national holiday on Dec. 25 — for churches observing the religious holiday on the Western calendar, like the Catholics in western Ukraine — and on Jan. 7, for churches observing the Eastern Orthodox religious holiday.

Sophia Square in Kyiv, which is struggling with power outages. “The war is horrible, but we should not leave our children without a holiday,” said a college student.Credit…Laura Boushnak for The New York Times

This year, Christmas decorations are hardly visible in Ukrainian cities, but when they are displayed, they almost always have a patriotic touch. Blue and yellow ribbons are used to create flags, children’s letters to soldiers are put on display and Christmas bunnies now hold blue and yellow hearts.

The city of Kropyvnytsky, in central Ukraine, put up 12 small Christmas trees in support of the towns and cities that have suffered the most in the war. In Khmelnytskyi, in central Ukraine, a Christmas tree adorned with blue and yellow Ukrainian flags was set on top of debris from a Russian S-300 missile. And in Kharkiv, in the country’s northeast, the traditional municipal Christmas tree is housed not on the central square but underground, in a subway station, where people huddle for protection during artillery strikes.

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