CELEBRATING THE SEMESTER’S END ON OUR CAMPUS
Beginning the first days of December, the grounds crew at Loyola assembles one of my favorite annual additions to campus: the pine branches and lights strung up on each light post throughout our campus. Each year, as I’ve pushed on through finals and on to the next break, those lit-up corners of campus remind me that there’s something extra-special about getting to celebrate the holiday season here at Loyola.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of holiday events on and around campus that have become part of my own traditions – if this is your first year on campus, make sure to stop by and participate in at least one of these special evenings as the semester comes to a close. Whether you celebrate Christmas or observe another faith tradition, there are plenty of things to do that create a community for us in the midst of this stressful time of year.
Firstly, I have to mention a Loyola classic – Chordbusters!
Don’t miss the chance to see the Belles and Chimes serenade the student community in an annually sold-out McManus Theater. Everyone enjoys a selection of pop and Christmas classics sung a-capella by each group, with a crossover performance between both groups to close out the show. Whether you’re going to boost Christmas spirit, enjoy great music, or celebrate with the friends you’ve made this semester, make sure to buy your ticket at the Box Office for $10 before they sell out!
For another musical night on campus, join Campus Ministry and the Chapel Choir for their annual Lessons and Carols performance on Friday, December 6th in the Alumni Chapel. This Christmas-centered celebration is a beautiful evening of light, sound, and community. Learning lessons from the bible through a collection of carols or Christmas songs is as fun and uplifting as it is educational. The group of students and staff in the Chapel Choir take up almost the entire stage, and you’ll be sure to recognize at least a few faces in the crowd. Make sure to dress up a bit for this one, but bring a jacket for the ceremony to follow!
Immediately after Lessons and Carols, the crowd gathers outside the chapel around our Christmas tree on the Quad, all decorated for the holiday. We will enjoy fun and upbeat Christmas music, hot chocolate, and a reading of the Night Before Christmas by a “Loyola Celebrity” before lighting the tree. The S.G.A. tree lighting has become one of my favorite events, especially when I get to be bundled up with a hot chocolate in my hand. It’s one of the few “social” events that draws a crowd, allowing everyone to mingle and catch up.
If you want to venture off campus and enjoy Baltimore’s holiday treat, make sure to catch a free Messina shuttle to the “Miracle on 34th Street” Hampden Lights! Rows of brownstone houses are decorated with lots of lights and themed doorsteps. This winter wonderland is a staple destination for Loyola students during the holidays, so make sure you get a chance to stop by.
No matter which events you get the opportunity to attend this December, make sure to remember that this season is – at its root – about loving those around you, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying all the good things that this year has brought. Make the most of your last few weeks on campus, and enjoy the break!