A Red Raider Christmas

The Christmas season is full of traditions, and Christmastime at Northwestern is no exception. We asked our Red Raider bloggers: What's your favorite Christmas tradition on campus?


My favorite Christmas tradition is Steggy Christmas. During one of the last weekends of the fall semester, all of the residents of Steg gather in the lobby for coffee and breakfast. We have a guest storyteller come in, then we compete for prizes with some Christmas trivia. Almost everyone in Steg comes, and it's hard not to feel festive when you're in your pajamas, sipping coffee and getting in the Christmas spirit with so many friends. Abbey Slattery

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Hands down, my favorite Christmas tradition here on campus is the Christmas music being played from the Zwemer Hall tower. I love Christmas music, and having it being played 24/7 makes it a treat to walk outside, despite the cold. Being from California, having there be white snow and Christmas music around makes the season even more evident and festive, and gives me a sense of what a true "white Christmas" would be like. Christmastime at Northwestern just wouldn’t be the same without it! Connor Sams

 Every year around Christmas time, after a semester of giving encouraging notes and small gifts to our "secret sister" many of the women in the theatre department get together for our reveal party. We exchange Christmas gifts with our sisters and finally learn the identity of the one who was encouraging us all semester. It's so much fun to watch people realize who their sister was, and the gifts are always so personal because we've had a whole semester to figure out what they love. This year, my secret sister gave me a set of brand new pens and other office supplies that I can use to correct student papers next semester while I'm student-teaching. Wow do I love office supplies. Giving is so much fun, and this is such a good way to secretly bless the people we work so closely with in the department. Liz Meier

One of my favorite events for Christmas is the Vespers Concert.  There is so much work that goes in to it, and I have loved being able to participate in it. Dani Duistermars

My favorite Christmas tradition on campus would have to be Coly Christmas. The men in the dorm decorate the halls and invite the campus community to walk through. It was a fun experience that helped everyone grow a little. Jonathan Johnson

The President’s Tree Lighting was a tradition that started this year, and I can already tell it’s my new favorite. Students, staff and community members gathered around the newly-planted evergreen on campus and sang Christmas hymns with the choir as we watched President Christy light the tree. After the tree was sparkling, we sang “Ode to Zwemer” and watched the beautiful Zwemer Hall light up as well. I can't wait for next year! Anna Perrenoud

I absolutely love Christmastime, and one of my favorite memories of living in Steg was the door-decorating contest! Each room could decorate their door however they wanted, then some judges would walk through and pick their favorites. The winning rooms would get a gift card, like to Blue Bunny, for a roommate outing! I always loved coming up with ideas and putting it all together on the door. Shelby Maznio

My wing is blessed with an amazing RA who planned the ultimate wing Christmas party for us. On top of watching “Elf” and Christmas episodes of “The Office,” we also decorated Christmas ornaments and signed stockings that we hung up throughout our wing. After being assigned a Secret Santa, we got the chance to exchange gifts during the party as well. With our RA knowing us extremely well, there was also plenty of food to go around which made for a fun-filled afternoon. Kaitlyn Asmus

My favorite Northwestern Christmas tradition so far is a little something we like to call Coly Christmas. For one night the men of Colenbrander Hall choose a theme, decorate their wing and take on character roles associated with their wing’s theme. The campus community is always invited to stroll through Coly to see the decorations and acting.  It's like walking through a weird, wacky storybook with a new adventure behind each door.  It's always popular and an event that gets people laughing–I would highly recommend. Caley Vink

 I work in the Advancement Office, which is the best work-study on campus (I may be a little biased, but still). For two years now I have helped the office set up various Christmas lights around campus. We string lights on trees and bushes around Zwemer, the Learning Commons, and in front of Fern. Though it can get quite cold, it is always a blast with the ladies from the office. It was a bit challenging to decorate the trees in front of the Learning Commons this year, which brought a lot of laughs, but in the end, the trees looked good! Many people even thanked us for our Christmas decorating as they walked by! I look forward to Christmas decorating with the Advancement Office every year. Lauren Weber