By: Traci Wuerstl, Practicum Reporter
“God bless us everyone.” - Tiny Tim
As the sun began to set on Thursday, Nov. 29 around 5 p.m., Regis University students began to gather around as a community as they awaited the annual tree lighting on the Northwest Denver Campus.
Regis has been bringing the campus community together in the essence of the holiday for more than 25 years. For some students, this event marks the beginning of their Christmas season.
As the night progressed and cold set in, students and community members shared hot chocolate to warm their hands.
The Griswold family Christmas lighting made an appearance at Regis during the ceremony. Father John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J., re-enacted the iconic house lighting scene in the movie “Christmas Vacation” for the cameras, which included a 9News video photographer, giving the audience a good laugh.
Students made their way to the quad and gathered around the nearly 80-foot-tall white fir tree. Students rolled their tongues to create a drumroll that was heard throughout the quad before the University student choir led those in attendance in singing Christmas songs. Smiles were seen all around while “Noel,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Jolly Old St. Nicolas” and many more treasured Christmas tunes were sung.
Some of Regis’ leaders said a few words about the history of this seasonal tradition.
“They wanted to promote religious and racial unity,” said Barbra Wilcox, the vice president of Student Affairs.
For 109 years, the tradition of the Christmas tree lighting has continued in the United States. Tree lightings were used as a way to strengthen communities and bring people together after the rise of urbanization and industrialization.
“As we come together tonight on this campus, it’s fitting that we return to the roots of this tradition as it honors our core values and serves the most vulnerable among us to discern the greater good to glorify God,” said Wilcox.
The excitement began to rise as the countdown from five began: “5-4-3-2-1,” then everyone cheered as the tree was illuminated with blue and yellow lights top to bottom.
Some students have been coming to Regis’ annual tree lighting since their freshman year and have made it a tradition to begin their Christmas celebrations.
“I enjoy coming to the Christmas tree lighting every year because it marks the beginning of my holiday season,” said student Virginia De La Torre.
“It’s great to come together as a community and enjoy this special moment because everybody enjoys moments like this, so we can all join together on campus and enjoy it together,” said student Dani Starks.
After the tree was lighted, students gathered in Walker’s Pub to enjoy sweet treats and cookie decorating.
The night came to an end and students made their way home, but the blue and yellow covered tree continues to light the campus for the remainder of this holiday season.