7 Colleges with Unique Holiday Traditions
If you are worried about missing out on holiday festivities once college starts, have no fear! Campuses across the country have their own unique ways of celebrating the end of the year and the traditions are as varied and diverse as the universities themselves.
From decorating a lion statue with festive wreaths to a non-denominational pop-culture inspired party, these schools go above and beyond when it comes to spreading holiday cheer. Here are seven colleges with unique holiday traditions!
High Point University
Students at this university have the opportunity to jumpstart their holiday celebrations by attending the school’s annual Community Christmas Celebration. The event includes complimentary entertainment, warm meals, Polar Express train rides, and decorations galore. High Point University also hosts a yearly Hanukkah dinner where students can learn about the story of the holiday, recite Hebrew prayers, and dine on potato latkes.
If you enjoy ringing in the holiday season with song and dance, Purdue University’s Purdue Christmas Show will sound like a dream come true. The annual on-campus event features more than 100 student performers and has been running for 85 years straight. Purdue Christmas Show includes a variety of traditional holiday songs as well as choreographed numbers.
Harvard’s The Christmas Revels has been a holiday tradition for nearly five decades and the annual performance shows no signs of slowing down. The Christmas Revels is a theatrical celebration of the winter solstice that travels the world each year and spotlights different music, dance, folktales, and rituals. For 2018, the performance focused on the musical culture of the Nordic region and included Swedish carols, Danish wassails, Finnish rune songs, and Icelandic hymns.
Art Institute of Chicago
Every year this school’s iconic lion statue gets decorated with festive wreaths during a one-of-a-kind holiday celebration that has been a school-wide tradition for 27 years. The event includes an appearance by dancers from The Joffrey Ballet as well as a performance by a mariachi-style band and complimentary hot chocolate. After the lion has been decorated, visitors of all ages are invited into the Art Institute’s museum for an arts and crafts session in the Ryan Learning Center.
Northwestern University’s A Festival of Lessons and Carols is a beloved holiday tradition that combines readings and musical gems to portray the Christmas story and miracle of the holidays. The program includes carol settings from medieval to modern for brass, strings, organ, and choir and features work by Giovanni Gabrieli, Heinrich Schutz, and J.S. Bach.
Seinfeld fans will recognize the name of Connecticut College’s annual event, Festivus, which is a non-denominational holiday party inspired by the TV show. Each residence hall hosts its own Festivus party, which culminates in a dance in the College Center at Crozier-Williams, known as Cro. Daytime events from past years have included a carriage ride and a fun run with hot chocolate while an elaborate holiday feast and school-wide concert were part of the evening’s festivities.
Philanthropists and activists will appreciate Skidmore College’s annual holiday tradition known as Skidmore Cares. Each year, the College pauses during the holiday season to gather faculty, staff, and students to connect with one another by giving back. In 2018, the Skidmore community collected more than $13,000, 4,000 food items, and over 1,000 school supplies and personal care items to support nonprofit organizations through the Skidmore Cares community service program.
Whether you hope to participate in traditional religious celebrations or put your own spin on festivities, the holidays are a big part of student life at many colleges. Students who are eager to learn more about residential life, including holiday celebrations, should do their due diligence by researching their best-fit colleges when building their balanced college list. If you are looking for guidance on how to prepare for campus visits and narrow down your school list, our team of expert counselors can help guide you through every step of the process!
The team at IvyWise hopes everyone has a safe and happy holiday season!