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A Carroll Christmas’ held tonight

Rohan Anand | Friday, November 30, 2007

Carroll Hall will unofficially kick off the Christmas season at Notre Dame with its 10th annual “A Carroll Christmas” tonight at 7.

The men of Carroll have been working hard throughout the week to promote the event and hope to exceed last year’s attendance of 400, hall president Derek Sanchez said.

“It’s a great intermediate for students between dinner time and their evening plans for later on in the night,” he said.

And he emphasized that passers-by need not stay for the entire event, which last for two hours. “It’s more like a stop by, move through, enjoy the festivities, sing a few songs and be on your way,” Sanchez said.

The planning committee, which consisted of Sanchez and seniors Peter Hadley and Jimmy Buffi, has commissioned some fun activities that may keep attendees around for a while.

The decorations begin at the entrance to the dorm on Carroll Drive, where luminaries – candle lanterns made from small paper bags – will line the road to provide the dorm entrance a warm glow. Just outside the building, a large Christmas tree will be lit and landscaped for visitors to appreciate.

Inside, snowflakes, lights, and garlands will be hanging from the ceilings and walls. Each Carroll resident will have a Christmas stocking bearing his name. A giant pole – to represent the North Pole – will be the centerpiece for the lounge, along with blow-up polar bears and snowmen.

Best of all, there is a designated space for Santa’s workshop, where people will have the opportunity to take pictures with Santa and meet Mrs. Claus and two of the couple’s elves.

“In the past, the pictures with Santa have been a huge hit,” Hadley said. “It’s a popular thing for couples or groups of friends to take photos with him. On Saturday, people will be able to download their pictures along with a limited Christmas frame from a Web site and print them at no charge.”

Other parts of the Carroll Christmas include Christmas karaoke, a snow cone machine and a cookie-baking contest. A panel of Carroll residents will judge those who bring in cookies, and the winner will receive a gift certificate to the South Bend Chocolate Factory.

Carroll received 10 percent of the Hall President Council’s budget to fund the event.

“We’ve been putting a lot more work into it and it has been improving dramatically, and HPC has realized that it has become the premier Christmas event on campus,” Hadley said.

Sanchez said he worked hard to make this signature event for Carroll stand out when he applied for funding earlier this year.

“They evaluate past history, the [event’s] contribution to Notre Dame, significance, and allocate funds based on those criteria,” he said. “In submitting our application, I was audacious in talking about ways to design the event, and noted how each year we have attracted more people.”

Once the funding distributions were announced, the planning committee was shocked to discover that its event was tied with the Keenan Revue and the Fisher Regatta as the top dorm events in terms of funding, at $2,000 apiece – up from Carroll’s funding last year of $1,200.

With an expected attendance four times Carroll’s population, the members of the planning committee said it is gratifying to welcome students from other parts of campus all at once.

“I felt a slight amount of pressure when we were awarded this sum of money,” Sanchez said. “But now that I have seen the enthusiasm show, especially from our freshman this year, the pressure is off now. We feel like we need to make this big and it’s exactly what we’ve done.”