A longstanding Boston tradition is famously tied to, of all places, Nova Scotia, as the Canadian province continues to honor the Hub’s help in sending immediate aid in the aftermath of the disastrous Great Halifax Explosion of 1917 that was touched off by a damaged World War I munitions ship that floated into its harbor. For its magnanimity, Boston has, for 50 years now, received a large evergreen that adorns Boston Common throughout the season following a much-ballyhooed, escorted drive from the Great White North. This year’s tree—a 48-foot white spruce—is officially illuminated, along with the other lights on the Common and Public Garden, on December 2 just before 8 p.m. as part of the 80th annual Boston Common Tree Lighting. The celebration officially begins at 6 p.m., with a television broadcast of the proceedings taking place on WCVB-TV Channel 5 from 7–8 p.m. Expect seasonally appropriate performances as part of the pomp, which includes appearances by the Mayor of Boston, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Rudolph, Frosty and Santa himself before culminating in a pyrotechnic display. Get there early for the Frog Pond Skating Spectacular, produced by the venerable Skating Club of Boston, which takes place at 5 p.m. at the nearby outdoor ice sheet and features top-notch figure skaters and an appearance by former Olympian Scott Hamilton.