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Kick off the holiday season at the Boston Common Tree Lighting

There will be ice skating, music, refreshments, and a visit from the big guy in red.

The Boston Common Christmas tree in 2018. City of Boston

While some have already opened the floodgates of yuletide cheer, others are waiting for a sign that the Christmas season is upon us. The City of Boston is happy to shine some light (more than 7,000 of them) on the situation, with its signature December celebration and the 81st Annual Boston Common Tree Lighting. Not only will the Boston Common become awash with dazzling lights, but refreshments, musical performances, and special guest appearances will help to send us merrily into the holidays.

Mayor Wu will be joined onstage by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Santa Claus, and Rudolph to kick off the season, as lights on the city’s most beloved tree go on at about 8 p.m. Twinkles set ablaze on 80-plus other trees throughout the Common and the Public Garden and a pyrotechnic display will follow.


Performances will include Sons of Serendip, Jimmy Rankin and Reeny Smith, Tirgirlily Gold, Michelle Brooks-Thompson, and a performance from the Tony Award-winning “Six: The Musical.”

Prior to the lighting event, a free ice-skating show featuring Theatre on Ice of Boston, national and international competitive skaters, and Team Excel Synchronized takes place at the Frog Pond from 5 to 6 p.m.

This is the 51st year that Boston has received a tree from Nova Scotia to commemorate relief efforts following the December 6, 1917 explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax Harbor. In true Boston fashion, within 24 hours of the disaster, a train loaded with supplies and emergency personnel was making its way from the city to Nova Scotia.

Those who can’t make the event can watch on WCVB Channel 5 at 7 p.m.

The tree lighting will take place adjacent to the Visitor’s Information Center at 139 Tremont Street.

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