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A Carroll Christmas

Jordan Gamble | Friday, December 4, 2009

Three hundred paper bags filled with sand, tables heaped with cookies, a giant tree and … a guy dressed up as Mrs. Claus.
Yes, it’s time for “A Carroll Christmas,” the Far Quad dorm’s signature event. Its tagline? “If you only come to Carroll one time, come to ‘A Carroll Christmas.'”
Hall president Rob Wilson, a junior, said that close to 1,000 people trekked to the event for the 2008 edition, and he hopes the mild weather will bring big crowds this year.
Earlier in the week, residents spent several hours filling paper bags with sand and candles before hauling them out in wheelbarrows to place along sidewalks. The lit candles will mark the path to Far Quad.
These luminaries go “all the way up to Lyons, because, quite frankly, not that many people have ever been to Carroll Hall,” Wilson said.
Wreaths, paper snowflakes and artificial trees decorate the dorm’s first floor, while a giant real tree takes a place of honor on the front lawn. After its lighting ceremony on Friday night, it will be able to be seen across the lake and even from the top floor of the Hesburgh Library.
Residents also judge a cookie-baking contest, picking out their favorites of the entries from students across campus. These batches are part the veritable cookie buffet, along with hot chocolate and cider, which fills at least one room of Carroll’s first floor.
Other highlights include Christmas karaoke and “Santa’s workshop,” where visitors can pose with Santa, Mrs. Claus and some elves —all Carroll residents in costume.
“There’s not a lot of people in the dorm — just a hundred,” Wilson explained, so each resident takes up some of the work — which includes freshman duty as Santa’s elves, tights and all.
Wilson said that the event is also hosting a toy drive for the charity Hannah & Friends. Visitors can bring along unwrapped toys and place them in the marked boxes before heading inside to get their fill of cookies and karaoke.
Besides providing yet another place to wear that snazzy sweater from Goodwill, “A Carroll Christmas” gives students an opportunities to stretch their boundaries, so to speak.
“We’re really proud of the event, and we try really hard to get as many people as we can to come. A lot of people have never been out to Carroll before.”
The Christmas party grew out of a Halloween haunted house tradition, which was shut down in 1997 amid some controversy. Carroll decided to take up another holiday event and started with the open house that has grown over the years.
“I personally think it’s the best Christmas celebration on campus,” Wilson said.

Contact Jordan Gamble at jgamble@nd.edu