Boston’s Christmas Tree

Soul-soothing stories have been hard to come by in recent days. I’m happy to see this one, from “Why Nova Scotia Gives Boston Its Christmas Tree for Free Every Year.” It’s a story about gratitude and being a good neighbor.

Although I live not too far from Boston, I hadn’t heard about the wonderful Christmas tree tradition until a visit to Halifax about fifteen years ago. I was a tourist, heading up to incomparable Cape Breton Island. I stopped enroute in Halifax, where my cousin and his family gave me a quick tour of their tidy, friendly city. They showed me a memorial to the Halifax explosion. The what?

That’s when I learned about the terrible explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax harbor in December 1917. The explosion killed two thousand people, injured 9000, and leveled part of the city. A catastrophe, by any measure.

First city to send relief: Boston. Say what you will about Mayor Curley, but he and the people of Boston rose to this occasion.

The people of Halifax sent Boston a Christmas tree the following year as a gesture of gratitude. In the 1970s, they made it an annual gift. When you go to Boston Common at Christmastime, that’s a Nova Scotia tree all decked out for you.

The story clued me in to the @TreeforBoston Twitter account, filled with photos of the tree as it’s being delivered and welcomed. Best set of tweets you’ll see all day, I’ll wager. You’re welcome.