Christmastime is known to put people in a joyful mood. Traditionally, memories of hot cocoa, cozy movies and mistletoe might come to mind.
At Taylor University, however, there are not only typical Christmas traditions, but also new spins on the classics. Taylor makes no exception to celebrate all things holly, jolly and bright.
One of the brightest examples of Taylor’s Christmas habits is the lighting of the pine tree by Zondervan Library and the line of trees between Reade and Euler Science Complex.
The original plan was to have a lighting ceremony each year, but the impact of the coronavirus and the changes of presidency have never led to this plan being fully carried out.
Although an official ceremony has not yet taken place, it is never too late to start one.
“It would be fun to get one started,” Kerry Shanebrook, superintendent of grounds at Taylor, said. “I always thought it would be fun to have a giving tree like some churches have.”
This would be a good opportunity for Taylor students to connect with and bring joy to people in the community during the holidays.
At present, though, students look forward to a beautiful display of lights each year, starting around Thanksgiving break and lasting for the duration of the holiday season.
From First West Olson’s nursing home party all the way to English Hall’s Cellar floor event, “Mary did you know?,” students do not have to look far for the Christmas spirit.
English and Olson Halls throw Christmas open houses for the whole campus to enjoy.
Both dorms have their respective themes for their open houses, and each wing has a separate sub-theme that ties back into the main concept.
“Usually, on the Monday before, we have ‘deck the halls,’ where everyone goes through and decorates their wing.” Danae Passero, a sophomore and personnel assistant (PA) on first west Olson said.
Olson Hall’s theme this year is Christmas parties, where each wing depicts a unique type of party, including a nursing home party on first west and country party on third west.
These traditions bring students together at a stressful time in the semester, allowing them to shift their focus from exams and deadlines to a creative outlet.
Passero believes that nothing shouts Christmas spirit more than working with people that one might not typically have the time to get to know.
“Last year I was able to interact with people that I wasn’t that close to, but we were all at the same station doing the same thing,” Passero said.
Expanding community is at the center of Taylor University’s Christmas open houses.
These open houses help cultivate deeper connections between dormmates.
“My favorite part is the community and all of the stress of getting everything put together, and how it always comes through,” said senior Laurel Burgess, last year’s discipleship assistant (DA) on cellar.
Both open houses draw substantial amounts of people. Long lines are formed of students, faculty, staff and some family and friends.
Because of the large groups, the wings have to be careful not to go over a set amount of time so that people are not waiting in the cold.
“You want to be bringing people in and then moving them along, that’s a little complicated with planning how long things take activity wise,” Burgess said.
In both dorms, each wing has roughly five minutes for their portion of the open house to ensure a fun and timely event.
Still, even with the fast pace, students line the dorms year after year, celebrating the holiday season and enjoying their community’s more creative outlets during a stressful part of the semester.