Students make up for premature campus departure with festive holiday celebrations

Students celebrate Friendsgiving with turkey before the upcoming holiday break. Emileé Edwards | Photographer

By Lucy Ruscitto | Staff Writer

This year, with Baylor University’s decision to keep students at home , favorite Baylor and Waco holiday traditions have also been abbreviated or will be missed entirely.

With Baylor’s decision to keep students at home through the end of the semester after the Thanksgiving break, favorite Baylor and Waco holiday traditions have also been abbreviated or will be missed entirely.

San Antonio sophomore Abby Dotter said since 2020 has been awful and because of the unprecedented semester Baylor students have endured, her roommates and her decided they deserved to celebrate the Christmas season two months early.

Dotter said her roommates bought and decorated a huge Christmas tree and decked their off-campus home with garland, stockings and lights.

“It changed the whole vibe. We’ve been wearing Santa hats a lot and we’ll watch a Christmas movie here and there, and I think it’s allowed especially if you’re quarantine right now,” Dotter said. “We listen to Christmas music, we’ve been making hot chocolate with peppermint whipped cream. Honestly, we just pretend like it’s December.”

Granite Bay, Calif., sophomore Madeline Ahrens also lives off campus in an apartment. She said she and her roommates plan on getting a small Christmas tree.

“We’re getting going to get lights and do a gingerbread house decorating party,” Ahrens said. “We’ve been listening to Christmas music and kind of just starting Christmas in November.”

Ahrens said that while attempting to embrace the joy of Christmas spirit, it does feel a bit unnatural because it’s so early.

Dotter said that she believes one of the worst parts about the pandemic affecting this semester is having to leave early from her friends and Waco.

“We’re going to finish our finals from a hard semester, considering we didn’t get a fall break, and we’re going to finish and none of the people who helped you through the semester are going to be there,” Dotter said. “Now you’re just like, ‘OK, well, I’m done.’ Usually you’d have your roommates there to be excited for you.”

Dotter also said that she will dearly miss feeling the Christmas spirit in terms of Waco and Baylor celebrations.

“The first thing I thought about was not being around for the Dichotomy decorations,” Dotter said.

College Station sophomore Naya Noffsker, a roommate of Dotter’s, said she too will miss the decorations in the Waco downtown coffee shop, and along with Dotter, she is upset to not be in the Baylor Sciences Building for the festive red and green decor and array of Christmas trees.

Ahrens said that she is most upset about not being able to experience Baylor’s classic Christmas on Fifth Street tradition.

Despite the premature departure of students from campus this year, some students said they truly enjoy being able to celebrate the holiday festivities with both their college friends and their families.

Noffsker said that in a more “normal,” non-COVID-19 school year, she feels like typically students celebrate the Christmas season strictly with their families. She said while this is always special, it is unique and fun to be able to commemorate the season with college friends.

“It’s so special, when you go to college and get to have all that time leading up to Christmas with your friends,” Noffsker said.