It is difficult to say what the very best time of year is to visit Boston, but Christmas time has got to be right at the top of the list. Seeing this beautiful historic city dressed in lights for the holidays is a magical experience and it all begins with the Boston Common Tree Lighting, the city’s premier event kicking off the holiday season.
The tree is the tallest Boston has ever had standing 53 feet tall and comes in from Nova Scotia. There is a special relationship between the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia and the city of Boston that we didn’t know existed until coming to this event.
The people of Halifax have thanked the people of Boston with the gift of a Christmas Tree each year since the the Halifax Explosion of 1917. This tragic event occurred when a French ship loaded with munitions collided with a Norwegian vessel in Halifax Harbour, creating a massive explosion that took more than 2000 lives and injured 9000 more. The City of Boston was one of the first cities to respond, immediately sending medical teams and supplies and establishing the Halifax Relief Committee, donating a total sum of $750,000 toward the rebuilding of the city. This year marks the 100 year anniversary of that event and before the lighting, they unveiled a new monument in honor of the longstanding friendship friendship between Boston and Nova Scotia placed right in front of the tree.
We entered the Common from the T stop at the corner of Tremont and Park Street, passing though the sponsor’s tents and TV broadcasting trucks around to the lawn in front of the stage. These businesses promotional giveaways actually added to the festive atmosphere as people donned foam reindeer hats and carried blue light sticks, in addition to the usual novelties sold at these type of events.
As we gathered on the lawn, the show kicked off with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Nova Scotia’s Premier Stephen McNeil commemorating the friendship between the two cities, then WCVB’s Anthony Everett and Shayna Seymour took over the hosting duties for an evening of entertainment that included performances from former American Idol Judge Kara Dioguardi, the cast of “Elf: The Musical,” Ellis C. Dawson III from the cast of “Aladdin,” the Boston Pops Gospel Choir, Nova Scotia’s Port Cities, and the headlining group All 4 One.
Performances by emerging local talent (shout out to Red 13 Studios’s talented Jenna Holiday) and appearances by Rudolph, Frosty and Santa Claus gave the show a real hometown feel, despite being a “big city” event. This event is truly perfect family friendly fare for the holidays. At the end of the show, Mayor Marty appeared again to commence the main event – the lighting of the 2017 Boston Common Christmas Tree! We had seen from previous years photos that fireworks were part of the presentation and we were really looking forward to seeing the display. Never having been to this event before, we decided to divide and conquer: the “Big Tree” looked to be partially obscured by some trees from our position on the lawn in front of the stage, so with about 15 minutes to go, Tori made her way to the tree, which is closer to Tremont Street.
When tree lighting went off, from our position in on the lawn, we were treated to an amazing blizzard of paper snow blown into the audience with a confetti canon with fabulous fireworks shooting up beyond.
Tori on the other hand had an incredible view of the tree lighting itself and a much clearer view of the fireworks with bits of confetti blowing in like snow all around them. Oh to be in two places at once!
Overall we really enjoyed beginning our own holiday season at this event and think you would too!
EVENT ENTRANCE: Free
Ice Skating Show by Skating Club of Boston:
5pm – 6pm
Holiday Tree Lighting Performances:
6pm – 7:50pm
Holiday Lighting Ceremony and Fireworks Show:
7:50pm – 8:05pm
139 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02111