Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Intern and story by Lindsey McLemore | Reporter
Students and families walked through a colorful arch of Christmas lights welcoming them to Baylor’s annual Christmas on Fifth Street celebration on Thursday. But before the evening even started, students were already getting into the Christmas spirit.
A women’s chorus sang carols in the Hankamer School of Business, and a small brass ensemble played holiday tunes by Fountain Mall, both of which attracted students and even encouraged some to stop and listen between classes. Tacky Christmas sweaters were spotted across campus, and many students stopped to take photos of the giant ornaments and snowflakes hanging from oak trees near Rosenbalm Fountain as the Baylor community prepared for the evening’s festivities.
Candy canes, nutcrackers and toy soldiers lined Fifth Street, inviting students and visitors to take a break from end-of-the-semester stresses and get into the holiday spirit.
Carriage rides, a petting zoo, local food vendors and a live nativity scene filled street. Inside the Bill Daniel Student Center (SUB), students could shop from vendors in the Christmas Marketplace organized by the Multicultural Greek Council and then listen to the Baylor Religious Hour Choir.
Some students waited in line for more than an hour to ride in an old-style horse carriage.
Dallas freshman Olivia Bragg and Waxahache freshman Madison Wells arrived early and got hot chocolate from inside the SUB, before waiting half an hour for a carriage ride.
This was Bragg and Wells’ first Christmas on Fifth, and both especially enjoyed this Baylor tradition.
“I love that all the families come so that people can spend time together and get into the Christmas spirit. It’s magical; it’s really just serene,” Wells said.
Bragg was delighted to see so many animals on campus. “There are camels here. That was really cool to see, but I really love seeing people bringing their pets. There are so many dogs here tonight.”
Students and families alike wrote letters to send to Santa at the North Pole. Others took classic family photos and photos with Santa as well.
In and around the SUB, the Department of Modern Languages & Cultures sang traditional Christmas carols from around the world.
Student organizations decorated Christmas trees for charity at the Freshman Class Council Christmas Tree Farm on Fountain Mall.
“We buy new Christmas trees every year and invite student organizations to decorate the trees. The organization with the most votes for their tree won a donation from the Freshman Class Council to their charity organization,” said Coppell senior Jack Parsley, co-chair for the Christmas Tree Farm.
However, the Freshman Class Council’s charity efforts don’t end there.
“After tonight,” Parsley said, “we will donate the trees to local families who wouldn’t have them otherwise.”
Inside the SUB, local businesses decorated Christmas trees that were available for silent auction where the proceeds would benefit charities for the winner’s partner charity.
The truest Christmas spirit was alive across campus Thursday as the Baylor community joined together in worship and celebration.