June 5, 2023

CBU tradition inaugurates Christmas season for student body. 

Christmas came to life at California Baptist University Nov. 29 during the annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Celebration.

Administered and hosted by both the Office of Community Life and ASCBU, the event served as a means for students, staff and faculty to enjoy time together and ring in the season with a variety of music and entertainment, games, activities and food.

Kristin Holderman, director of campus activities for Community Life, explained the significance of the evening’s festivities.

“This event is a long-standing tradition that kicks off the Christmas season at CBU,” Holderman said. “It celebrates the meaning of Christmas, which is the ultimate purpose. I love the tradition of the tree lighting up and we will be lighting candles again this year, which I also love.”

Holderman also emphasized the collaboration between Community Life and ASCBU as each office assumed integral roles to plan and execute the event with ASCBU providing the more traditional aspects and Community Life adding more activities to foster community.

Paige Vaughan, senior early childhood studies major and executive vice president for ASCBU, said ASCBU and Community Life host the celebration as a service to the students.

“There is a lot of preparation for this event,” Vaughan said. “Our team has been planning it since September to have everything ready. It is also a long process to decide what the event should include. We try to take into consideration all of the feedback from previous Christmas Tree Lightings and collaborate with other offices.”

Highlights of the event included a reading of the Christmas Story by Dr. Ronald Ellis, CBU president, a blend of Christmas music and worship provided by For All Seasons and the countdown and actual Christmas Tree Lighting.

“The purpose of the Tree Lighting is to celebrate Christmas as a community,” Vaughan said. “Being able to carry on this tradition and create such a close-knit community is amazing. It is a special feeling to be able to create an event like this for the students and CBU community.”

The celebration also featured opportunities to decorate ornaments, go snow-sledding, take pictures at a themed photo booth and visit Santa Claus.

Kathryn Goldsmith, junior marketing major, has attended the event every year and related her experience for the evening.

“I loved all the details of the festivities of the event,” Goldsmith said. “The sledding was a fun way to relive my time in the Midwest, and getting a cup of cider with friends is always fun.”

Vaughan said she enjoyed seeing the campus unite. “I loved seeing not only all the students but the amazing community that our campus has,” Vaughan said. “Being a part of this event is humbling as we get to watch everyone interact and enjoy the spirit of Christmas.”

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