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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Observer

Santa Claus and chapels: Christmas decorations pop up at Notre Dame

The Notre Dame community is in full Christmas swing, with halls hanging lights and Christmas trees decorated in buildings across campus. Notre Dame Stadium plays Christmas music throughout the day, a tradition that started seven years ago.

Notre Dame prepares for the Christmas season by decorating campus with lights.

With the help of the Student Union Board (SUB), Santa Claus made his way to campus to meet students Wednesday.

“We wanted to do it this week because everyone is stressed and going into finals. So just a little brightness in their day as they're walking around and parents love it too to get a picture of like their students during the day,” said Josie Humbert, committee chair of signature events for SUB.

Santa Claus had some encouraging words for Notre Dame students.

“Good luck on all your finals. I will bring better dining hall food next semester. I promise I've had a lot of people ask me for that. I can't give you A's on your papers, but I promise I'll do my best. Also a new quarterback is coming straight from the workshop,” Claus said.

People stopped to take pictures with Santa, with some even choosing to bring their pets to get photos.

As Notre Dame enters this Christmas season, Catholic faith and community play a pivotal role in celebrating the season.

For the past seven years, the Notre Dame Alumni Association has been sharing Sacred Stories of Notre Dame. The tradition originally started by sharing daily videos from chapels for two years. It then morphed into Sacred Places of Notre Dame, which included some chapels and beyond. Now, the tradition is in its second year under the moniker Sacred Stories of Notre Dame.

“I think the number one goal is to help people pray well, during Advent," Dan Allen, one of the leaders of Sacred Stories, said. "Advent is a special season preparing for Christmas, but it can also be a very hectic season."

Advent began Dec. 3 and runs until Christmas Eve.

Throughout Advent, a new story is posted each day on the Sacred Stories website. These stories are collected throughout the year during outreach events. Members of the Notre Dame community are welcomed to reach out to the Notre Dame Alumni Association email address if they have a particular story they would like to share.

“Through all of our efforts we just want to wish everyone a very blessed Advent and Christmas season. And we hope that these videos and these stories help them reconnect to the most important things in life, even when there can be a lot of distractions at this time of year,” Allen said.

Director of Campus Ministry Pete McCormick said the Christmas decorations bring joy to a time of year that can bring gloomy weather.

“I love it. Love it when the big tree outside of the main building. And the Basilica is officially lit. So I just love it. I love the colors that they choose. I think that it just beautifully kind of glows in the middle of what can sometimes be a gloomy December day. And I love it when the snow comes down and it just feels magical,” McCormick said.

McCormick added that the joy around campus makes this time of the year special for him..

"There's so much there's so much joy and hope Jesus was born and we call it a manger but in reality it was a glorified barn. So Jesus enters into the world, and in the midst of that transforms us all at the same time.

“You know, everyone loves to receive a good gift and gifts are beautiful things don't get me wrong. It's a symbol of someone's love for someone else. And that's, that's a genuine and human response. But we have to ask ourselves, what is the source of joy? What is the source of love? And for us to make sure that we're tapping into that," he said.

The end of the semester can bring about an onslaught of work and stress for many, so McCormick offered some advice.

“My best advice on this is make sure you do the things that make you human first. So then you can go about the work that is required. So I already alluded to it, getting good sleep, making sure you get nutritious food, making sure that you're spending time with your friends. Allow yourself to laugh,” Father Pete said.