Seton Hall will celebrate the holiday season much differently this year as a result of the pandemic, with Christmas at the Hall, the University’s annual Christmas celebration, remaining virtual to mitigate the spread of the virus.
On Nov. 13, Father Colin Kay, alongside President Joseph Nyre, blessed the University Christmas Tree, which will remain lit throughout the holiday season.
However, other holiday traditions once celebrated at Seton Hall, like the annual Winter Concert hosted by the music department, will have to take place virtually.
“This year we are reimagining our Christmas at the Hall Tree Lighting ceremony to the format of a nostalgic holiday television special,” Alison Sotolongo Miller, director for student activities at the University, said. “This special will feature some familiar faces and performances, but be presented in a new way that we are excited to share with the Seton Hall community.”
The "Together at Home: Virtual Christmas at the Hall Special," will take place on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, according to Miller. Members of the Seton Hall community can register online for the event.
Most festivities and holiday events have also shifted online amid the pandemic. Alumni Relations will host the annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa virtually this year and the University Chorus and Chamber Choir will host lessons and carols virtually.
“I am grateful that we are able to continue so many of our Christmas at the Hall traditions this year, despite the circumstances,” Miller said. “Knowing that we can still host these traditions virtually and connect with our Seton Hall community globally, is something very special and that’s what Christmas at the Hall is all about.”
To join in on the holiday cheer, students can sign up to have a blue Santa hat shipped to their home. The Christmas at the Hall committee has also created a registration page for members of the Seton Hall community to reserve time slots to safely take pictures in front of the University tree with friends and loved ones.
Events like the Student Activities Board’s (SAB) annual trip to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes was unable to take place this year because of the pandemic. However, SAB’s holiday stuff-a-plush giveaway was able to shift to an online format. The Christmas at the Hall committee has also created a “Deck the Hall” Spotify playlist for people to get in the holiday spirit.
“The sentiments we have received are that people are happy that so many of our Christmas at the Hall traditions are still able to continue,” Miller said, “despite the pandemic.”
Laura Maltez-Barahona can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.