Twinkle Time: The 72nd Annual Boston Common Tree Lighting Ceremony

Posted December 4, 2013 by Sarah Stanley in Downtown Boston
Christmas Tree on Boston Common

Forget those red Starbucks cups. In Boston, the holidays don’t truly begin until the Boston Common Tree Lighting Ceremony says so. And this year, that’s on Thursday, December 5, 2013.

If you haven’t been, know that the tree lighting ceremony is so much more than flipping on twinkle lights. For starters, the celebration is rooted in a story of goodwill between Boston and Nova Scotia, Canada, which dates back to December 6, 1917, when a munitions ship exploded in Halifax Harbor. Boston quickly hopped into action and sent trains full of supplies and emergency aid to its northern neighbors. Nova Scotia has made a tradition out of donating the official Boston Common Christmas tree as a show of thanks. After first sending a tree as a gesture in 1918, the practice was revived in 1971 and continues this week for the 42nd straight year.

A relationship this special, of course, deserves a proper party. There will be live performances by Joey McIntrye, American Idol finalist Erica Van Pelt, the Boston Ballet, Blue Man Group, and more. If you have yet to see the Red Sox 2013 World Series trophy in person, that shiny monster will be present, too. Also, promotional sponsors like Dunkin’ Donuts, DAVIDs TEA, Archway Cookies, and more are sure to be handing out goodies.

Though the program doesn’t officially kick off until 6pm, it’s worth showing up to the Frog Pond prior to the ceremony. At 5pm, The Skating Club of Boston will be presenting a figure skating show, featuring multiple U.S. skating champions.

Twinkle lights during holiday time in Boston

Friends take in the twinkle lights during holiday time in Boston. Photo Credit: Sarah Stanley

Shortly before 8pm, holiday decorations throughout the Public Garden and Boston Common will begin to light up. The pièce de résistance, that 47-foot white spruce hailing from Halifax, will then be lit, with Mayor Menino, Minister Andrew Younger from the Government of Nova Scotia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Santa Claus himself all present. To close things out, there will be a show-stopping pyrotechnic display, every bit worthy of this spectacular celebration.

The fun doesn’t end in the Boston Common. After the ceremony, follow the Mayor down to Arlington Street, where the Commonwealth Avenue Mall decorations will then be lit. I’m especially excited for hot cocoa and cookies that the Taj-Boston plans to provide.

Grab the family and head out to the Common on Thursday night. Considering our city’s monumental year, a joyful holiday celebration is fully deserved.



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