Update: For photos of the 2012 Boston Christmas Tree Lighting, click here.

The Boston Common Christmas Tree live-tweeted its journey down from Nova Scotia, and tonight the tree will finally be lit! The 71st Annual Boston Common Christmas Tree Lighting takes place this Thursday, November 29th, lighting the city aglow with holiday spirit. The Boston Common Christmas Tree Lighting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8p.m. tonight in Boston Common with a slew of holiday musical performances. Mayor Thomas M. Menino will do the honors of lighting the 45-foot tall Christmas tree on the Boston Common shortly before 8 p.m. Below you’ll find complete details on the 2012 Boston Common Christmas Tree Lighting, including a schedule of performers and how to watch it at home.

The Boston Common tree lighting will be broadcast live on WCVB-TV Channel 5 beginning at 7 p.m., hosted by Anthony Everett and JC Monahan. During the show, Boston Common spectators will be entertained by special guests such as “The Voice” contestant James Massone and “American Idol” finalist Elliott Yamin. Additionally, the band Squid from Nova Scotia, the Floorlords dance group, the Boston Arts Academy and the Grinch will take the stage for holiday performances.

Refreshments and giveaways will be provided from sponsors such as Dunkin’ Donuts, HP Hood LLC, and Nantucket Nectars, with Dunkin’s hot chocolate sure to keep hands toasty during the 2-hour spectacle.

The tree lighting will feature 54,000 LED lights, including lights that will grace 60 other trees in Boston Common around Park, Tremont, Beacon, and Charles Streets. Soft, white-colored LED lights will also be placed on trees at the entrances to the Common, and ten additional trees will be lit around the Frog Pond, as a courtesy of the Skating Club of Boston.

If the Boston Common Tree Lighting is not enough to get your fill of early Christmas cheer, following the ceremony, Mayor Menino will move to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall for a second lighting with Back Bay residents on Arlington Street. Trees all along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall will be lit with white lights for Christmas and will remain illuminated until April 1st.

Even though Faneuil Hall’s Christmas tree is the biggest in New England, the Christmas tree to be lit in Boston Common is latent with history. This is the 41st year that Nova Scotia has provided the city of Boston with its Christmas tree. The tree serves as a thank you for relief efforts after a December 6th, 1917 munitions vessel explosion in Halifax Harbor and caused a major fire in the city. Boston sent a ship to Halifax carrying supplies and emergency personnel to aid the victims of the fire.

Historic photographs of the 1917 catastrophe are on display in Boston City Hall through November as an effort to educate Boston about the annual Halifax gift-giving tradition. Along with the Boston Common tree, this year, Nova Scotia also donated two more smaller trees to two local Boston charities, the Pine Street Inn and Rosie’s Place.

Be sure to check out the Boston Common Christmas Tree Lighting tonight at 6 p.m. For photos of last year’s ceremony, check out the slideshow below.