’Twas the night before the annual Christmas Lights Celebration—well, actually, this story begins long before that. See, in the weeks leading up to Christmas Lights, the PCC campus transforms into a Winter Wonderland. From the Commons to the sidewalks to the residence halls, Christmas cheer can be seen and felt everywhere.
In the residence halls, students get creative to make their rooms festive. Alumnus Dan Bontrager (’17) recalls the fun he and his roommates had blasting Christmas music as they hauled in their latest find: a Christmas tree abandoned on the edge of the road. Though it was a little squashed, the guys spruced up the branches and decorated the tree. He said, “As guys, we didn’t generally do too much for our rooms; but for Christmas, we would go all out. We even made our own decorations for the tree.”
Some floors have “Decorate Your Door” contests, while others hang cutout snowflakes and lights from the ceiling in the dayroom. “We love putting up decorations of all kinds,” said freshman Kristen Siegler (FL). “We made a ton of pretty snowflakes to hang from the doorframes and ceiling. We also made our bulletin board like a window with a wreath across it. We probably did a little extra, but it’s all in the fun of the season!”
Senior Tasha Dickerman (RI), along with her roommates, has decorated cactus and bamboo with ornaments in lieu of a Christmas tree. “Typically, the most creative designs I have seen are the ones people steal from Pinterest,” she joked. “My sophomore year, we put a letter on the door with a list of the things we wanted. That Christmas, we actually all got the items we asked for on the list.”
Meanwhile, the maintenance department worked every weekend since the beginning of October to install Christmas lights around campus. When they finished, there were over 350,000 LED bulbs ready to shine brightly after the annual Christmas Lights countdown.
Even before the maintenance team began their work, a group of students known as the Spirit Singers began meeting weekly under the guidance of music faculty Jonathan McIntyre to put together a special program for the Christmas Lights Celebration. They spent hours practicing favorite Christmas carols and hymns along with funny skits. Each year has a different theme and often includes an element of surprise—whether a special guest or falling snowflakes.
Symphani Owens (So., FL), enjoyed practicing Christmas music all semester and looked forward to her first time performing with the Spirit Singers. She said, “For me, Christmas Lights has always been a fun way to bring in the Christmas season! To now be part of it and truly get in the holiday spirit with the audience was so life changing!”
To each student, Christmas decorations give more than simple aesthetic quality in their rooms or residence hall. “I decorate because it helps me and my roommates look forward to something more than school. Studying can be monotonous and tiring, and decorating our room helps to provide some excitement in our busy schedule,” said Austin Tolle (Sr., IN). “Christmas decorations help bring our spirits up every time we turn on the lights and enjoy just doing homework and listening to Christmas music. I’ve always enjoyed decorating for Christmas all my life. It makes me happy to see lights and decorations. I know that it makes others happy as well.”