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From the sight of red Starbucks cups to the sound of Salvation Army bell ringers, it's clear that the city has slipped into holiday mode.
Each year, Boston welcomes the season with a number of festivities to get you into the spirit. We've put together a list of free upcoming events, open to all ages, that are part of the classic Boston holiday experience.
The annual Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting Spectacular kicks off on Saturday Nov. 23. The 80-foot Norwegian spruce — topped with a three-foot star — is the tallest lit tree in the Northeast. Over 30,000 lights and 1,500 ornaments will spruce it up (pun intended!). Music and entertainment will lead up to the ceremony, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
- Watch out for: A tribute to Mayor Menino and a performance by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus
This night also marks the launch of Blink! Boston's light and sound extravaganza, where over 350,000 LED-lights sparkle to the sound of holiday music played by the Boston Pops.
Hanukkah comes early this year, and on Sunday Nov. 24 you can celebrate. The Boston Workmen's Circle Center for Culture and Social Justice is hosting a free family party at the Runkle School in Brookline. The event begins at 10:30 a.m., but stay to enjoy a latke lunch. Suggested donation is $10 per family.
- Watch out for: A concert of Jewish music from around the world with members of the Guy Mendilow Ensemble
Another kind of lighting ceremony will take place on Monday, Nov. 25. The Christopher Columbus Park will be lit up with 50,000 blue bulbs that will cover the park's 260-foot trellises and surrounding trees. The North End Music and Performing Arts Center Children's Choir will preform during the ceremony, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
- Watch out for: Giveaways, treats and refreshments from Magic 106.7, Starbucks, and the Mariott Long Wharf Hotel
Warm up with Pop It Like It’s Hot — Boston’s seasonal pop-up gourmet hot chocolate stand which will offer free gourmet hot chocolate for five Fridays in a row, starting Friday Nov. 29. Visit the Revere Hotel Boston Common on Stuart Street from 3-6 p.m. to find it. Donations are suggested and all proceeds go to The Home for Little Wanderers.
- Watch out for: Celebrity chefs with cocoa creations like candy cane cream pie and black lava salted caramel
On Saturday, Nov. 30, the annual holiday market opens in Downtown Crossing. Artisan vendors will set-up shop in a giant tent on Summer Street across from Macy's. The market, which runs through Dec. 28, will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
- Watch out for: A rotation of new artisans each week and special appearances by Santa
Have you ever seen 150 tuba players all in one place? You can on Saturday Nov. 30 at the 28th annual Boston Tuba Christmas concert held in front of Faneuil Hall. Starting at 2 p.m., the ensemble will play a variety of popular holiday tunes. If you're out shopping at Quincy Market, you might as well stop by.
- Watch out for: Fun and festive decorations on the tuba player's instruments
This program aired on November 22, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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