Hundreds of holiday revelers and shoppers gathered in Downtown Crossing Friday night to celebrate the annual Macy’s tree lighting.
Families and friends huddled together under the 3,000-pound holiday tree donated by a family in Hampton Falls, N.H., and children held tight to their red and white balloons on the windy November night.
Tyesha Pereira, of Boston, said she was thankful for the chance to attend the ceremony this year.
At this time last year, her 6-year-old son, Reis, was undergoing cancer treatment. Reis has been cancer-free for six months, and thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he will soon be taking a trip to Disney World with his mother and three older sisters.
“As a single mother of four, this has been a difficult time,” Pereira said about her son’s battle.
“But I always believe that love can get you through anything, and it has.”
Reis stood tall in front of the crowd and thanked the foundation for making his wish come true.
The Downtown Crossing area, which once served as Boston’s commercial heart, has been regaining its former luster through a series of redevelopment projects.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino wished the crowd a happy holiday season and advised them to do their shopping locally.
Joelle Baehrend, of Dorchester, and her sister Laura Grande, of Quincy, took a break from their Black Friday shopping spree to bring their young children to the ceremony.
“This is always a fun way to kick off the season,” Baehrend said.
Baehrend said she is happy that construction is finally underway at the gaping hole where the historic old Filene’s once stood.
As confetti fell from the sky like snow, Gayle Colinet stood with her daughter Alexandra like she does every year outside the Macy’s department store.
“We have been coming here for years,” she said.
“We had to choose between seeing friends we hadn’t seen in over a year or the lighting.”
Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at Haven.email@example.com.