Christmas at Hope is nothing short of magical. Especially with snow on the ground, it feels like I’ve been transported into an idyllic Christmas painting. But even though the scenery is spectacular, it’s Hope’s Christmas traditions that make this time of year so special. After Thanksgiving break, there are ample opportunities to be festive on campus, and there’s something for everyone. However, there are a few events you simply can’t miss.

Tree Lighting

At Hope, the Christmas season only truly starts after the tree lighting. It’s not something you want to miss. The student body gathers around the tree next to the President’s house to sing carols, watch the tree lights come on, and get excited for Christmas! Plus there’s hot chocolate served during the event and cookies served afterwards in the BSC. What more can you want? My friends and I look forward to it every year, and we love getting to hang out afterwards too.


In case you don’t know, Vespers is a Christmas music extravaganza featuring all three of Hope’s vocal ensembles, our orchestra, and a few student organ players. But be warned, tickets sell out fast! If you are able to get a seat, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Besides the beautiful performances, it’s worth going just to see Dimnent Chapel decked out in stunning Christmas decor. The thing I love most about it is seeing all of my friends in the various ensembles getting to show how hard they’ve worked leading up to the event. The sheer effort put in by everyone involved is incredible. 

Lessons & Carols

Every year there’s a special Christmas Gathering service that features a blend of classic and contemporary Christmas songs. The service itself has more of a contemplative mood, with many moments for quiet reflection and prayer. If you’re looking for an opportunity to step away from the chaos of the season I can’t recommend it enough. 

Christmas Brinner

In my opinion, Christmas Brinner is the superior Brinner. It has all the fun and chaos of a regular Brinner, plus everything that’s awesome about the Christmas season. It’s a win/win! My favorite part of the night is when the whole dining hall sings The 12 Days of Christmas. Last year, my group got to sing “five golden rings” (which is objectively the best part of the song). If you’re looking to get one last dose of Christmas fun at Hope before exam week continues, I can’t recommend Christmas Brinner enough. 

Just take it all in!

While Christmas is super fun, it can also be overwhelming. Not only are there a ton of events to go to, but exams are right around the corner. So if there’s one thing I want to recommend above all else, it’s to take a quiet moment and look around. It’s important to take breaks when you’re studying, so why not take that opportunity to really soak in the scenery? The best Christmas gift you can give yourself right now is managing your time well and keeping your stress down. Plus, your friends are probably feeling the same way as you are, so you can take the opportunity to spend time with them and just relax.

No matter what your schedule may look like right now, there are a ton of Christmas activities you can go to around campus, and there’s something for everyone. It’s a great break from exams, and in my opinion, there’s no better backdrop for Christmas than Hope’s campus. So have fun, and make sure to stay warm!

Published by Mackenzie Niswonger

Class of 2026 Hometown: Gladstone, MI Majors: Computer Science and Philosophy

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