Watch the tree lighting in Boston Common from home

The Christmas tree in the Boston Common in 2018. Every year, Nova Scotia delivers a tree to Boston in thanks for the city’s help after a devastating explosion in Halifax in 1917. (photo by Cheryl Landes)

Update, December 3, 2020: Stream the countdown to the tree lighting here.

The 2020 tree lighting in the Boston Common on Thursday, December 3, will go on without a live event. WCVB Channel 5 is broadcasting the 79th annual celebration with hosts Anthony Everett and Shayna Seymour of Chronicle.

The broadcast starts at 7 p.m. Eastern time. Entertainment from the U.S. includes the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, Nicholas Christopher from Hamilton, Shaggy, and Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. Nova Scotia’s Barra MacNeils and Sarah and Elizabeth MacInnis with Jenny Mackenzie are also featured.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Santa Claus will light the 45-foot white spruce virtually. This year’s tree was donated by Heather and Tony Sampson of West Bay, Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia began sending Christmas trees to Boston every year after a devastating explosion in Halifax in 1917 as a thank-you for the city’s support throughout the tragedy. The explosion was caused when a ship filled with munitions collided with another ship in Halifax Harbor and caught fire. The ships exploded when the fire reached the munitions, killing 1,000 people.

Massachusetts Governor Samuel McCall sent doctors, nurses, other aid workers, and medical supplies from Boston to Halifax quickly after hearing the news. Bostonians continued sending supplies, financial donations, and more groups of responders to help Halifax recover.

Get more details about the tree lighting program at the City of Boston’s website.

Curious about what happens behind the scenes at the Boston Common tree lighting? The City of Boston posted this five-minute video on YouTube last year.

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