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SMC Alumnae Club of Los Angeles releases new Christmas ornament

| Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Saint Mary’s Los Angeles Alumnae Club recently released the second in its series of five College-themed Christmas ornaments, this one featuring Le Mans Hall.

Susan Rice, class of 1961, said the Club decided to make Christmas ornaments celebrating different aspects of the College’s history to serve as a reminder of the alumnae’s time at the College.

“We thought that we wanted [an ornament] — and we thought a lot of other people would want one too — that depicts Saint Mary’s, because we love Saint Mary’s,” Rice said. “There’s so many wonderful buildings that have a nostalgi[c] feeling that we like.”

The ornaments also will be used to give back to the College, Rice said.

“We hope, at the end of the day, that the money we make, we can return to the College for scholarship, but that’s a couple years down the road,” she said.

The first ornament in the planned series of five came out in the winter of 2015 and featured The Avenue, whereas this year’s ornament features the front of Le Mans Hall, with open doors and Christmas wreaths.

“We all loved this [year’s] one,” Rice said. “We thought it had a lot of charm. For those of us who don’t get to Indiana very much, it brought back memories of snow and the campus at Christmastime.”

Rice said these ornaments help celebrate Saint Mary’s, especially since Christmas is an important part of the time spent on campus.

“We all have wonderful memories — special ways in which Christmas was celebrated, or pre-Christmas and Advent were celebrated on campus, before we left to go home or spend our holidays somewhere else,” Rice said. “It ties in the season, the memory of Saint Mary’s as a Catholic women’s college that celebrates the religious traditions and the beauty of the campus, the heritage of the Sisters, the planning that they did [and] the commitment they had to women’s education. So it all comes together.”

Rice said another alumna in the club, Rebecca Votto Bennett ’93, had the idea for the series, and did research to make sure that each of the five ornaments related to the College’s history.

“The Avenue we knew would be the first, because The Avenue is something that means something to everybody, and so many people have wonderful memories of the very first time they visited the campus with The Avenue,” she said. “The second one, Le Mans, that’s an anniversary, and that’s what our plan is for the rest of them. There is either an anniversary of something the Sisters [of the Holy Cross] did, or the construction of some other significant part of Saint Mary’s history.”

According to Rice, the College was helpful in promoting the ornaments and ensuring the accuracy of the history. Each ornament includes a short essay about the significance of what the ornament represents.

Last year, the ornament featuring the Avenue sold out, and Rice said she expects this year’s to sell out as well.

“People have bought gifts for their aunts, their sisters or other people who have either attended Saint Mary’s or visited Saint Mary’s or loved it,” she said. “People have been very positive, so we’re hoping that enthusiasm will continue.”

Junior Stefanie Dyga said she purchased last year’s ornament because of its beautiful design, but also as a gift for her mother.

“My mom loves it because even though I am far away, it’s a little piece of Saint Mary’s on her tree before I come home for Christmas,” Dyga said.

According to Rice, the theme of the next ornament will be announced during graduation in the spring.

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About Nicole Caratas

Nicole is a senior English Writing and Humanistic Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. Now a senior news writer, she previously served as the Saint Mary's Editor. She was born in real Chicago but grew up in the suburbs, and she currently lives in Opus Hall.

Contact Nicole