by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
With finals looming and assignments piling up, many students may feel like the holiday season is a long ways away, even though the days until winter break are dwindling. However, thanks to student organizations like the Board of Programmers and long standing traditions put on by the Office of Student Activities and Cultural Programming and Campus Ministry, Christmas comes early at Providence College.
“I think it is so important to help keep the students’ spirits up during this time of year because the holiday season is such a special time at PC,” said Libby Jancsy ’18, president of BOP. “We have so many ways to get involved, celebrate the holidays, and spread Christmas cheer, and sometimes we forget that amongst the hustle and bustle of the finals.”
Holiday themed events start as early as this Friday at 7 p.m., as Campus Ministry is hosting a “Jingle Bell Bash” in the Campus Ministry Center. The event will feature a cookie exchange, Christmas carol bingo, and a hot chocolate bar. At a Student Congress meeting this past Tuesday, Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P. stated that ugly Christmas sweaters are highly encouraged.
That same evening at 8 p.m., Student Activities is sponsoring a Christmas Karaoke, Cookies, and Craft Night in McPhail’s. On Monday, December 4 at 4:30 p.m., Student Activities is also putting on their annual Christmas tree lighting. The event will feature music, refreshments, and a blessing of the tree. The tree that will be used for the lighting has already been placed on Slavin Lawn.
Rita Murphy ’19 shared that the Christmas tree lighting is something she always looks forward to. “It gets me in the holiday spirit and brings the community together right before the end of the semester,” she said. “I love leaving Slavin, the library or anywhere else late during finals studying and seeing the little tree lit up, it brings me a lot of joy.”
Lots of departments have gotten involved with decorating for the holidays, and the campus is seeing more decorations than previous years. Highlights include the front entrance of Harkins Hall, the lobby of the Smith Center for the Arts, and the business school.
“I think it is absolutely special when departments decorate for Christmas,” said Teddy Kiristy ’19, who helped decorate the lobby of Smith. “We all came together decorating Smith lobby and listened to Christmas music while drinking apple cider and eating brownies.”
“In general I love seeing all the decorations go up around campus,” said Murphy. “It feels very home-y.” She went on to explain that she looks forward to the A cappella concert at the end of they year as well.
Other holiday festivities BOP puts on are their annual holiday events and study breaks. Jancsy explained she always looks forwards to the Tuesday Time Outs, which occur every other Tuesday during the year in McPhail’s. “This coming week we have a special Tuesday time out for the holidays,” Jancsy said. “There will be fun holiday games, activities, and Christmas music.”
She also encouraged students to submit videos to BOP’s annual holiday video contest. “Students can submit their own holiday movie and we will stream them on the night of the event,” Jancsy said.
Another tradition students can look forward to this weekend is Lessons and Carols at 7 p.m. on Saturday. At this event, stories from the nativity passages in the Bible are read, which are broken up by songs from choirs such as I Cantori, the Liturgical Ministries choir. “I only attended Lessons and Carols last year, but I really enjoyed seeing the PC community mix with the surrounding Providence community to come together to celebrate advent,” said Murphy, who will be reading at the event.
“Sometimes it can be hard to get into the holiday spirit when you’re not at home with your family or with all of the work at the end of the semester, so they sort of give you a chance to stop and remember what this season is really all about,” Murphy said. “The music is beautiful and the PC students and staff always do a wonderful job.”
Regardless if students celebrate Christmas or not, Murphy and Jancsy both stressed that with the craziness of finals spending time with friends is so important during the end of the semester. “This is a time for students to take a break from studying and grab some free food, and enjoy,” Jancsy said. “We love hosting events that bring students together to relax for a bit during this hectic time.”