Best Season, Worst Goodbyes

Hello everyone!! It’s wild to me how we are nearing the end of the end of the semester and this will be my last post until the New Year. This semester has absolutely flown by and although finals week was a tough hill to climb, we have successfully made it to the other side! The fact that I’m finished with another semester at Holy Cross is bittersweet: while I am thankful to have the time to relax at home with family and enjoy the holiday season, I will be missing my friends and the community at Holy Cross tremendously. I’ve mentioned before how study abroad has been quite the buzz on campus as of late, and it really puts into perspective how little time we really have at Holy Cross. While this is a troubling and even frightening realization for sure, I’ve been doing my best not to worry about it too much and instead embrace each moment as is. Besides, at the end of the day, I have so much to be thankful for right in front of me, and I honestly can’t end my third semester at Holy Cross feeling anything but grateful.

Without a doubt, the Christmas season is my favorite season to experience at Holy Cross. Though it is short-lived, as the end of the semester only allows us to celebrate about half of Advent together, it is overflowing with joy nonetheless.  The annual Tree Lighting, organized by the Holy Cross Purple Key Society and executed alongside the efforts and talents of various music groups on campus, is a great way for the student body to experience the classic magic of Christmas together. After the tree lighting, there was even a sleigh ride organized by the Resident Hall Association, and my friends and I (shoutout to the girlies!) enjoyed a lively sleigh ride around campus while singing “Sleigh Ride.” In addition, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) always does a great job at bringing the holiday spirit to campus. This year’s Winter Weekend was named “The CAB Express,” and it featured a holiday shop of local small businesses, mug-making, bear-stuffing (Barry and I pictured below!), tote bag decorating, a gingerbread house contest, and of course, plenty of hot chocolate.

The bear I was able to make (and befriend!) at one of CAB’s many holiday events.

The peak of all of this holiday celebration has got to be Holy Cross’ Celebration of Lessons and Carols. Every year, the chapel is filled to the brim with students, families, alumni and community members all gathered to participate (in-person or via livestream) in one of Holy Cross’ most beloved traditions. As I mentioned before, I was part of the choir this year, where we sang some classic Christmas songs like “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Silent Night” (conducted by one of my good friends!) and “O Come All Ye Faithful” (my personal favorite), as well as some newer carols, a few even arranged by members of the Holy Cross community. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to sing alongside many of my friends, who performed in the choir, in the orchestra and even in the organ loft, and seeing my family sit proudly in the front row meant the world to me.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be the Christmas season without Kimball Dining Hall’s Christmas dinner, accompanied by festive decor and Christmas songs, two Secret Santas, a Yankee Swap, and caroling after mass (you had to be there). These are the memories I will hold onto as I approach winter break – the ones spent with the people who make Holy Cross what it is. I will miss them so much over break, but I am eager to what is in store next for us on the Hill.

I hope everyone has a very happy holidays filled with joy and good health – I’ll be back in 2024 for another semester of fun, faith & friendship!