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Hamline decks the halls

The+annual+Tree+Lighting+was+held+in+the+Anderson+Forum+for+the+first+time.
The annual Tree Lighting was held in the Anderson Forum for the first time.

The annual Tree Lighting was held in the Anderson Forum for the first time.

Ethan Eng

Ethan Eng

The annual Tree Lighting was held in the Anderson Forum for the first time.

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One of Hamline’s tried and true traditions is the Tree Lighting Ceremony that takes place each year at the beginning of December. The tradition generally takes place at the Bishop, but this year the ceremony was moved inside in order to accommodate the potential for cold weather.

Some students were not excited about this change, especially due to the fact that the weather was not cold after all.

Senior Emily Anderson, an avid attendee of the ceremony, felt like the change was unnecessary.

“I think [the inside ceremony] is weird because I feel like it’s breaking tradition.”

Senior Steven Strate had a similar reaction to the inside ceremony.

“It’s super nice out, and I know they anticipated it being cold so they moved it inside, but they could have had it outside.”

In spite of being moved inside, many of the usual traditions were followed, including complimentary hot chocolate, adorably decorated winter themed cookies and a few carols in which students and staff were invited to sing together. This year, these included “Frosty the Snowman”, “Jingle Bells” and “Let it Snow.”

Many Hamline students appreciate that the ceremony and festivities brings the Hamline community together.

“I think it’s cool to have something for the Hamline community to come together, because I feel like that’s part of the holidays,” Anderson said. “Just coming together to have a good time. There’s not a lot of things that Hamline does to get together as one community.”

In President Miller’s address to the attendees at the event, her thoughts were also focused on bringing the campus together.

“To me this is a wonderful thing that we do every year, when we come together and light a tree,” Miller said. “Think of the lights as Hamline University’s way of bringing together this university every year and reminding us of the fact that we are a community.”

Senior Allison Eastham said that the tradition is valuable, so long as it iss not marketed solely to a certain religious population.

“I think [the event] fine as long as it’s not marketed towards a specific religion. Yeah, we are a Methodist Univeristy but at this point it’s become more of a winter thing as opposed to a Christmas thing.”

The tree was described as a holiday tree, which allowed for inclusivity among Hamline students. There was no mention of the word Christmas, with the exception of some Christmas themed music playing in the background. Overall, the event was successfully welcoming to anyone and everyone who wanted to celebrate the holiday season.

Another new tradition was introduced this year: donation buckets are placed in front of the tree, one designated for Puerto Rico, and the other for Feed Your Brain Campaign, an organization that has been heavily involved on campus this year addressing food insecurity. The Campaign has had several donation events, working to ensure that no Hamline student goes hungry. The student organization will be there throughout the rest of the semester, and are open for student and staff donation.

“We do all the good we can, those are not just empty words, those mean something to all of us, so when those lights shine, they shine for a reason,” Miller said.

As tradition dictates, in her speech Miller made a joke or two about finals.

“I wish you well for those exams, and I know that the professors who are here are going to give everyone who is here an A.”

She also called for students to prepare for finals by taking care of themselves, as she called for healthy eating, staying hydrated and getting plenty of sleep.

With new traditions and old traditions in action, students generally seemed to enjoy the event, as there was abundant laughter and smiling present in the space throughout the ceremony.

Strate said that the event was as enjoyable as ever and that, like the lights, the event was “lit.”

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Hamline decks the halls