Annual Sewanee Christmas Tree Lighting

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Anna Mann

Staff Writer

On Friday, December 2, the Sewanee community gathered in the Quad to kick off the busy weekend of Lessons and Carols with the annual Christmas tree lighting. Volunteers at a table near Breslin Tower handed out Santa hats, bells from St Nick’s sleigh on string, and green or red sheets with a few classic Christmas Carols printed on them.

People from the surrounding town of Sewanee, professors, and students alike came together to sing carols, munch on snacks, and hear a brief speech by vice chancellor McCardell about this tradition.

Clad in Santa hats and Christmas sweaters, the Sewanee a-capella group sang Christmas songs before the lighting of the tree. The festive crew seemed to enjoy performing for their peers, and ended up singing quite a few tunes.

When prompted, Eva Bogino (C’20) stated, “White Winter Hymnal was my favorite of the songs because of the additional percussion. Having the extra movements is really important.”

While the performance continued around them, people had the opportunity to visit the sprawling snack tables and the station set up for ornament decorating. The former had everything from green and red rice crispy treats, to creamy peppermint bark, and hot chocolate to warm icy fingers.

While the latter seemed frequented mostly by college students, young children and a couple of adults stopped by the ornament table as well. The table had tiny Christmas themed knick knacks such as miniature Santa hats, small plastic bells, a plethora of multicolored buttons. Additionally, people had the option to fill their plastic globes with powdery fake snow or synthetic rocks that resembled chips of ice . Above all, the craft table gave party-goers the option to create a memento to commemorate the event.

After the festivities had continued for a while, the vice chancellor paused the singers in order to begin the countdown. Once the excited crowd reached the ten count, everyone let out an impressive cheer as the towering American Holly lit up with strands of beautiful white bulbs.

When asked about her favorite part of the annual tradition, Caroline Holmes (C’17) articulated that, “I’ve gone the past two years, and I like the community sing along best.”

After the crowd had thinned and much after the singing had ended, Amelia Warnock (C’18) offered some closing thoughts on the ceremony. Claiming that, “this is a Sewanee tradition that happens every year. It puts us in the holiday spirit, and reminds us of our Christian roots while still accepting other viewpoints. It’s a great way to kick off Lessons and Carols!”