HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 14, 2018 – Visiting Santa Claus at High Point University’s Community Christmas is a favorite tradition always on the Holden family’s “must-do” list.
“I asked him for model cars and pillows for my room,” said Bryn Holden after she sat on Santa’s lap.
This is the eighth consecutive year HPU has held the complimentary, two-night event and the fourth year the Holden family has returned for the fellowship.
“The positivity of the university, the friendly faces,” said Stacy Holden, Bryn’s mother. “HPU makes it very enjoyable for the kids, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The eighth annual Community Christmas concluded tonight with plenty of indoor activities to keep thousands of guests warm despite cold rain. Nearly 1,000 volunteers made the second night of the event possible as they continued to serve hot cocoa and wish guests a Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
“It’s an honor to be here and to really embody those values that are instilled in us from the first year of being here,” said Kirby Hutcheson, an HPU student volunteer at the Holly Jolly Hot Dog Shoppe. “It’s amazing coming to school here and in this city. It’s such an opportunity to serve.”
The fellowship, joy and faith of the season is why HPU is High Point’s University.
“High Point’s University is blessed indeed to be able to welcome people from across the region to come here and know what Christmas is all about,” said HPU President Nido Qubein. “It’s about enjoying the beauty of this campus, to have families gather together in fellowship and to be in such a festival of lights, beauty, food and togetherness.”
Meanwhile, Heather Orr watched her two children, Jurnee and Tyson, tell Santa what they want for Christmas this year.
“It was so good yesterday that we came back today,” she said.
On the first night of Community Christmas, she took her children to see Santa’s Stable Petting Zoo, the Holly Jolly Hot Dog Shoppe and the Crafty Elf LEGO Workshop. But Friday night was the night reserved for Santa and more hot cocoa.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s all free and it’s done out of the kindness of their heart,” said Orr. “It’s a wonderful community-builder and it’s a good time for people to be with their families.”
Victoria Vega of High Point watched as her 7-year-old daughter, Mileidy Byrd, worked alongside her best friend, 7-year-old Janeeva Stockton, to assemble a Christmas tree made of LEGOs.
“This is our second year coming,” said Vega. “They love it. It’s especially nice this year because the snow had them stuck inside the house all week. It’s great having a place like this nearby where we can get them out and excited. So far we’ve visited Santa, seen Anna and Elsa and rode the Polar Express train.”
Four-year-old Zartaj Roberson and her sister 7-year-old Ja’Elle Roberson of High Point made their way toward two High Point University elves to receive their HPU gift after visiting Santa.
Ja’Elle Roberson motioned for an HPU volunteer to lean down so she could whisper the Christmas wish list she had shared with Santa.
“I told Santa that I want…” she said, sharing the string of Barbie toys she requested from the man in red.
And even Santa Claus, who made a special appearance from the North Pole to take last minute wishes from the children who visited HPU, is impressed with the spirit of the university.
“Can you imagine a university being so generous that they feed all of these people, they let them see Santa Claus, and they give them a free photo when they visit Santa Claus?” said Claus. “Then they give them a free gift as they leave and they have all the beautiful, tens of thousands of lights and activities.”
By the numbers – HPU’s campus will be decked in:
— 93,000 lights
— 12,440 feet of garland
— 173 wreaths
— 648 banners
— 460 bows
— 130 nutcrackers and soldiers
— 23 nativity scene figures
— 300 poinsettias
— 12 Christmas trees.