Christmas returns to the Hilltop in style beginning November 29


Courtesy/Saint Anselm College

Several displays from the Gingerbread competition in Davison Hall from 2018.

Tom Canuel, Culture Editor

In the pandemic year of 2020, the Saint Anselm College community lost a significant amount of traditions for the holiday season. The gingerbread competition, Christmas feast, an in-person manger blessing, and an in-person Decembersong are just some of the normal traditions that students could not celebrate quite the same. Although offices and Davison Hall were decorated for Christmas early, things felt very strange and the normal Christmas spirit that prevailed around campus in normal years fell to ashes in the 2020 fall semester.

However, this year, the college is back with all the traditions of old, some of which are already starting. Offices have begun to decorate for Christmas, such as Campus Ministry and SEAL. Gingerbread competition sign-ups occurred this past Wednesday, with students beginning to line up outside of Davison Hall at 4 in the morning. Students around campus volunteered at Walk with a Child, an event run by the Boys and Girls Club that allows volunteers to walk around the Walmart in Hooksett to shop for Christmas gifts with a foster child. Even the Meelia Center is getting into the Holiday Spirit by kicking off Holiday Fair on Saturday, November 20. 

Additionally, the college community is bringing back four major traditions: the gingerbread house competition, Christmas feast, the creche blessing, and Decembersong.

The gingerbread house competition will occur this year on Sunday, December 28. Although registration has already occurred, students can without a doubt view all the creations right beside the giant Christmas tree in Davison Hall after the competition is finished. 400 students (100 teams of 4 people) will compete for prizes. First place this year is $400 cash, second place is $200 cash, and third place is $100 cash. Although most teams will not place in these places, students can still enjoy creating the gingerbread house and of course eating a few pieces of candy here and there.

Hannah Beaudry, a former student who graduated from Saint Anselm College this past May, stated that her favorite tradition when she was a student was the gingerbread house competition. “My friends and I always went into the competition with a great idea, and while it never went as planned, we had so much fun.”

Next is the Christmas feast, occurring on November 30 this year. For first and second-year students who have never experienced Christmas feast, get ready for a wonderful time. Davison Hall, decorated with all the gingerbread houses and Christmas decorations, serves the student body great food and a great time. Davison Hall is usually packed, so make sure to get here early to enjoy some food and great company. 

Two days after Christmas feast, on December 2, campus ministry and the Abbey Church will be celebrating the manger blessing and tree lighting outside the student center. Last year, the manger blessing occurred over video so students could view the tradition from home. However, this year, the event is back in-person with Christmas carols sung by Hint of Lime, cookies, hot chocolate, and the blessing with the student body present. The blessing will occur at 8pm this year, allowing students working on final exams to attend.

Finally, Decembersong is the college choir’s annual Christmas concert which will occur on December 4 at 7:30pm this year in the Abbey Church. Every year, the choir debuts a series of sacred and Christmas-themed pieces. This year, students can expect to hear pieces from Mozart, Darke, and many more.

Recalling Christmas traditions over the years at Saint Anselm College, Beaudry stated: “Students should feel excited to see the campus slowly transform for Christmas! There are so many great holiday traditions, and the first snow is always magical. Everyone gets caught up in the energy of it all.”

For more information on any of these events, students can head to the dining services Instagram page, the Saint Anselm College website, or check out their emails over the coming weeks.