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Notre Dame decks the halls for Christmas

Ann Marie Jakubowski | Thursday, December 1, 2011

With lights lining the dining halls, Christmas music blasting out of windows and wreaths dotting the doors of buildings campus-wide, the only thing keeping Notre Dame from being a winter wonderland is the conspicuous lack of snow, though students are still decking the halls.

McGlinn and O’Neill Halls put up large wreaths the week before Thanksgiving break. According to McGlinn rector Sister Mary Lynch, the wreath is a beloved tradition.

“Our shamrock wreath was made by one of the McGlinn residents a few years ago,” Lynch said. “She made it with wire, and we had the maintenance shop back it with metal and hang it up each year since.”

The wreaths, shaped like the McGlinn shamrock and the O’Neill “O,” are not necessarily Christmas themed, but Lynch finds them seasonally significant nonetheless.

“We thought about keeping them up all year, but then it would lose its wintertime effect,” she said.

Not content to have decorations exclusively outdoors, freshmen roommates Maggie Lawrence and Rachel Miceli of McGlinn Hall decorated their room on the first day back from Thanksgiving break.

“We have Christmas lights up, gingerbread men across the window and paper chains in Christmas-inspired colors zigzagging across the ceiling,” Lawrence said.

“Our entire section decorated, so there are giant paper snowflakes and ornaments dangling in the hallways,” Miceli said. “There are bells on the doorknob and giant red bows on the door too.”

According to the maintenance office, trees have been set up in Bond Hall, O’Shaughnessy Hall, the Jordan Hall of Science, the Hesburgh Center, the Basilica, the Eck Visitor’s Center, the Main Building and the Stepan Hall of Chemistry. The individual departments purchase the ornaments and decorations, and maintenance teams have been working to set up the arrangements according to the departments’ instructions.

Employees decorated the dining halls, and many hall council members oversaw the decorations for their respective dorms.

Notable decorations beyond the wreaths on McGlinn and O’Neill Halls include the “Have a Phoxy Christmas” banner outside Pangborn Hall and the cutouts of Santa and Mrs. Claus in the lobby of Walsh Hall. Other campus traditions include Carroll Christmas, an annual Christmas party put on by the men of Carroll Hall, complete with a tree-lighting, a Glee Club performance and refreshments.

Another major event is the Dillon Hall Light Show on South Quad, which begins with a performance Sunday at 7 p.m., another show at 9 p.m. and continued performances throughout the week. According to senior Thomas Catanach, one of the organizers, about 6,000 LED lights are used to create the show.

“Basically, we have a bunch of strands of Christmas lights suspended from the building and divided into different sectors,” Catanach said. “The sectors are choreographed to Christmas songs, and it’s all coordinated by computer.”

Although impending finals can add great stress to the last few weeks of the semester, many students said they refuse to let them put a damper on their holiday joy.

“We make up for the sadness and stress that finals bring by decorating and celebrating Christmas,” Miceli said.