The Seton Hall community gathered around to drink hot chocolate while waiting for the infamous 60-foot Christmas tree to kick off the holiday season.
Christmas at the Hall has been a tradition for years, making the university the number one school for Christmas festivities, according to Best College Reviews. The community gathered around to watch more than 40,000 lights brighten up campus with the holiday spirit on Nov. 28.
Christmas at the Hall started with a mass at 5 p.m., leading up to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. The event was live-streamed with a recording available on the university website.
Rachel Baumann, a freshman social work major, said she attended the event with her mom, brother and boyfriend. Her family’s tradition is to see the Rockefeller Center tree lighting, but this year they decided to attend Christmas at the Hall.
“It was honestly a lot more fun because I got to see some of my friends perform on stage,” Baumann said. “Seeing the tree light on our campus, and now, I get to pass [by] it every day. It’s more of a fun experience and more relatable to me and my family than seeing the Rockefeller tree.”
Baumann said she also went to the mass with some of her friends.
“It was fun getting in the Christmas spirit, especially after Thanksgiving break,” Baumann said.
Kayla Bennett, a freshman biology major, said she spent the evening with her roommates. She said she grabbed one of the blue and white snowflake ornaments a booth was giving out to attendees.
“It was really cold,” Bennett said. “I didn’t expect it to be that big. I thought it would just be the tree, but they had a stage and hot chocolate.”
Before the tree lighting ceremony, the SHU Theater Council, Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino fraternity, Seton Hall Sapphires and Seton Hall Pep Band performed for the crowd.
Bennett said her favorite performance was the Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino fraternity because of their mash-up dance.
With the wrap-up of the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the university’s Christmas-themed events are in full swing. In the remaining weeks, students can attend jazz band Christmas performances and University Christmas parties, according to the university website.
“I was looking forward to [the tree lighting] because it’s the start of Christmas, and it gives you something to look forward to after finals,” Bennett said. “With the holiday season coming up, it relieves some stress.”
Aryanna Borrero, a freshman nursing major, said she plans to attend the festive event again next year.
“I liked seeing how everybody got together in one giant group, and we’re all like one family,” Borrero said.
The 60-foot Christmas tree will stay lit every night for students through finals and will be taken down in January, according to Jessica Brinker, a FOCUS Missionary Team Leader.
“I like seeing the tree light up every night,” Borrero said. “It makes me happy.”
Calla Patino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org