The First Few Days of Christmas at Villanova


Courtesy of Villanova University

Students perform carols at the Tree Lighting.

Lydia McFarlane

Through the first few days of December, the University geared up for a week of Christmas themed activities. During the first few days of December, campus was enlivened with decorations such as heralds and wreaths, lighting up students’ commutes to and from class and other activities. December kicked off with a wonderful concert from the University’s own Pastoral Musicians in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church. 

The first weekend of December began with a tree lighting at the Riley Ellipse, where entertainment was provided by the University’s choral groups, Voices and Singers. As the two groups gave their renditions of classic holiday favorites, excitement and holiday cheer for the approaching season and tree lighting swelled in the air. The holiday cheer was palpable throughout the crowd. Students lined up to enjoy the festive spirit and some delicious food provided by many different food trucks. The tree features blue and white ornaments, encouraging holiday as well as school spirit. And as the tree lit up once and for all, the light glimmered from the ornaments adorning the beautiful tree onto the Riley Ellipse, a hallmark of the University. Nearby, students could be heard buzzing with excitement, as many experienced their first major winter holiday event here on campus. 

“It is so nice to celebrate the holiday with my second family here on campus,” one sophomore said. “After missing so many events freshman year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and such a strenuous semester this fall, it is so refreshing that the University provides us with events like this to get us in the holiday spirit, even if we might not feel it with finals approaching.” 

Students were seen grabbing their complementary hot chocolate and cupcakes and heading to the Villanova Stadium for the 7 p.m. kickoff of the Villanova vs. Holy Cross playoff football game. Students, alumni and fans alike bundled up in blue and white as our football team fought for its place in the quarter finals. The drum majors donned Santa hats for an extra festive halftime show. After a competitive match, the Wildcats came out on top, advancing to the next round of playoffs. 

Following an exciting day of festivity and school spirit, the Villanova vs. St. Joe’s basketball game tipped off at noon on Saturday, Dec. 4, with the Wildcats once again coming out on top. A Christmas themed student section showed Wildcats in antlers, Santa hats, ugly sweaters and all other sorts of holiday garb in between.

After a festive performance the night before at the tree lighting, Villanova Singers and Voices had their debut performance in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts’ Topper Theater. The two groups added various choral pieces to their holiday repertoire, giving a wonderfully festive and warm performance. On Saturday night, following a full day of holiday fun, students cozied up near fire pits on the Campus Green for a night of live music courtesy of groups such as the Christmas Dueling Pianos from 7-9 p.m., followed by a movie at 9 p.m. Students were happy to snuggle up with their apple cider and hot chocolate, framed by the sights of the tree near the Riley Ellipse and the Nativity Scene in the Grotto. As red, green and white lights flashed on the trees, students sang along to the crooning renditions brought to campus by local musicians. 

“It’s not often we get to perform in such a beautiful setting,” one performer singer remarked.

All was merry and bright on campus for the first few days of the holiday season, thanks to the hard work of the University, whose efforts at spreading holiday cheer have only just begun. Be sure to check your email to stay up to date on the next holiday happenings.