The Boston Common Christmas Tree, By the Numbers

Impress your friends with this tree trivia.

boston common christmas tree

Photograph via iStock

Like any Boston landmark, the city’s famous evergreen has a long history. In 1917, a massive explosion rocked Halifax, Nova Scotia, killing 1,800 people and injuring thousands more. Boston swiftly stepped in, sending much-needed medical aid north, and the next year, Nova Scotia sent us a thank-you in the form of a Christmas tree. The tradition was revived in 1971, and now Nova Scotia provides a tree—which gets a sendoff celebration in Halifax before road-tripping down to Boston for the lighting ceremony on the Common—every year. Here, we take a closer look at this year’s white spruce.

47 feet

Height of the 2016 tree in all its glory (or 14.3 meters, if you’re in Canada)

boston common squirrels

The Parks Department has to watch out for wire-nibbling squirrels


Number of multicolored light bulbs draped around its branches

1 hour

Amount of time it takes arborists to trim the tree to fit its stand


Circumference of the trunk at the base of the tree


The tree’s official Twitter handle, which (naturally) live-tweets the lighting ceremony

4 feet

Height of the LED star placed on top by crane

30–60 minutes

Time it takes border control to check the tree for invasive species

Ainslie Glen, Cape Breton Island

Hometown of the 2016 tree

Nova Scotian truck driver Dave MacFarlane hauls the tree 700 miles over two days


Number of trees lining the perimeter of the Common

nova scotian flag boston common christmas tree

A Nova Scotian flag is tacked onto the tree for its travels