Christmas on 5th lights Baylor campus with holiday cheer

Baylor’s campus is brightened by marquee letters at Christmas on 5th. Brittany Tankersley | Photographer

By Camille Cox | Staff Writer

Backdropped by the vocals of live music and confetti snow raining down, Baylor Student Activities and Kappa Omega Tau kicked off the holiday season with their annual Christmas on 5th celebration.

Christmas on 5th took place on Dec. 2, filled with a live nativity scene, ice skating, a petting zoo, Christmas carols sung in languages of the world, horse-drawn carriage rides, fireworks, hot chocolate and Kappa Omega Tau’s lighting of the Christmas tree.

Christmas on 5th, held at the center of campus, lasted from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Students, faculty, staff, Baylor alumni and surrounding community members attended the event.

“Carol around the World” — located outside of the SUB bowl and hosted by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures — kicked off the night as students sang holiday carols representing their target languages, illuminating cultural education and unity.

Yoshiko Fujii Gaines, senior Japanese lecturer, said that the department holds 11 languages and that 10 participated in the event, performing carols in their respective language of study.

“One of the songs that they all sang tonight was ‘Silent Night’ to showcase the same song in different languages to share the spirit of Christmas and culture in the language they are studying,” Gaines said.

Students had the opportunity to participate in free events at Christmas on 5th, such as ice skating, ornament making and a petting zoo, complete with camels, zebras, kangaroos, goats and cows.

Flat Rock, N.C., freshman Joseph Sherer said he enjoyed taking pictures in the blow-up snowglobe and ice skating with friends.

“All my expectations of Christmas on 5th have been met,” Sherer said. “I think this is one of the big things, like the Thanksgiving meal and the fall fest and the beginning of the year — a nice, big chance for everyone to meet in the middle of campus.”

Waco freshman Ellie Becker said she enjoyed each event she was able to do with her friends and community, feeling the Christmas spirit spreading throughout the evening.

“I feel like being at Baylor, I don’t see many families anymore, and it’s just college students, so it was fun interacting with younger kids and parents and seeing familiar faces,” Becker said.

Along with Baylor’s activities, Kappa Omega Tau (KOT) presented the lighting of the Christmas tree on Burleson Quad, filled with fake snow, live music and fireworks.

Coppell junior Tanner Woodby, one of the KOT Christmas on 5th chairs, said that they began planning their event in May 2021, contacting possible vendors to make the event happen.

“We started off by broad thinking about ideas that we possibly wanted the event to look like,” Woodby said. “The band was the last thing we had to hire, so that came down to the wire, but we got RELIC and Floataways which was a ton of fun.”

Woodby said KOT sold 500 sweatshirts and close to 1,200 T-shirts, with all of the funds going directly toward their philanthropy, Unbound Waco.

“Unbound is an organization in Waco, and their mission is to prevent and stop human trafficking,” Woodby said. “All the profits go to them, so that’s been fun to sell the shirts and know where that money is going.”

Woodby said he enjoyed seeing their work come to life as the audience watched the performance and tree lighting.

“The climactic moment of the fireworks going off and the lights coming on – just the whole shebang — was my favorite part,” Woodby said. “It was fun to see everyone’s reactions to the work we put in for the past few months.”

Complete with a vendor marketplace and food trucks, Christmas on 5th offered a community gathering of celebrating the holidays.