Cookies, carols and community service

Laura Welch

Colorful lights fill room windows; familiar festive songs are blaring through the halls, and classes are happily finishing up. Villanova is alive with the buzzing of Christmas spirit. It is hard not to feel the yuletide warmth as you walk bundled up through campus admiring the faint glow from the sporadically decorated tress. Or maybe you are having trouble getting into the Christmas mood this year. Well, if that is the case, there is no need to give up hope! Villanova offers plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays that are guaranteed to have you singing “Jingle Bells” in no time!

“Villanova really does a good amount of Christmas stuff,” student Kelsey Whalen says. “I was kind of surprised when I read the list of holiday activities.”

The kickoff for the numerous holiday celebrations this week was the annual University tree lighting on Monday. The reception afterward featured cookies, carols and pictures with Santa.

Many students joined in on opening holiday festivities and the beginnings of Christmas excitment were felt in the brisk night air.

For those of you that were feeling more creative, gingerbread house and Santa hat making was another perfect activity to get you in the holiday spirit. There are few things more festive than wearing a big red hat while using gumdrops to decorate a house made of gingerbread.

“Gingerbread house making made my Villanova experience. They brought Christmas to us.” freshman Brittany Hedderman says.

“I rocked the Santa hat,” Lou Charest says. “But the hot chocolate was cold.”

Considering students are busy finishing up the last week of classes and getting ready for finals, the University’s Campus Activities Team is doing an awesome job of fitting in lots of ways to celebrate the holidays before finals week. At Villanova, being away at school does not mean you are also away from the traditions of the holiday. You can start your own holiday traditions at your new home with your Villanova family.

For example, every year you and your friends can go shopping at the annual Holiday Bazaar. This year the bazaar was held yesterday and continues today from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The festivities at the bazaar offer vendors, music and of course, lots of shopping.

“I need to get to the bazaar to do some Christmas shopping for my family,” Kathleen Nihill says. “It’s really convenient and sounds fun.”

The different vendors at the annual Holiday Bazaar sell arts and crafts along with brand name products at unbeatable prices. So whether you are shopping for your little sister of your grandma, you can get a great gift at a discount rate.

Watching holiday movie favorites playing tonight in the Cinema is another way to spread Christmas cheer. Not only are two of the greatest Christmas movies ever showing, “Elf” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” but Christmas cookies and the chance to win prizes will also be a part of the fun.

“‘Christmas Vacation’ is hilarious,” student Mike DeGoria says. “I am definitely going to go see that. It’s awesome.”

Kathleen Buckley also plans to attend, adding, “The Griswolds are just like my family.”

Villanova also offers several opportunities to give back this holiday season. Tomorrow, everyone will have the chance to come out and wrap presents that will be given to the children at the North Light Community Center. The wrapping will take place all day in the Radnor Room in Connelly Center. Another chance to give back during this special time of year is through volunteering to help out at the Holiday Hoopla: Philanthropy at NorthLight for Underprivileged Children on Sunday. There is no better way to get immersed in true holiday spirit than by giving joy to those who need it most.

New this year to the University’s holiday celebration is the Yuletide Ball. The event will be held in the Connelly Center tomorrow night from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., giving students the chance to get dressed up, listen to Christmas music while they get ready and take holiday pictures with their friends while at the ball. It is the perfect way to relax before an upcoming week packed with studying.

Whether you are making gingerbread houses or wrapping gifts, there are many different types of ways to celebrate the holiday season on campus. Don’t miss out on these festive events, and have a very merry Christmas!