Published Saturday, 17 November 2012
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The Lord Mayor, Alderman Gavin Robinson, was joined by UTV's Julian Simmons, Barazina Youth Choir, panto stars and children's favourites, the ZingZillas, on Saturday.
Earlier, the Belfast Christmas Market opened filled with stalls of crafts and food from all over Europe.
Also on the grounds of the City Hall is the Santa's Postbox - with a personal reply promised for every child who posts a letter to Father Christmas.
The family-themed event, which marks the start of the countdown to Christmas, was ticketed for the first time.
Alderman Robinson said: "The free tickets for this Saturday's event went like hotcakes."
"The arrival of the tree marks the official countdown to Christmas and with the Belfast Christmas Market setting up on the lawn this weekend as well as the switch-on event, the festive spirit (is) well and truly in the air."
The City Hall Christmas tree is a 15 metre Norwegian spruce from Pubble Forest in Tempo, Co Fermanagh.
The Belfast Christmas Market will remain open until Thursday 20 December.