The High Point University campus is decked out for the holidays. Christmas lights and nutcrackers line the Promenade while holiday music plays throughout campus. It can only mean one thing: December is here.
The holidays are a season of celebration and traditions. Even in the midst of final exams and end-of-semester projects, the HPU family ensures campus is filled with the holiday spirit. Here are a few time-honored holiday traditions that HPU commemorates each year:
Each year, HPU invites neighbors and friends to experience the holiday season together at the annual Community Christmas Celebration being held on December 12 and 13, 2019 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event features complimentary entertainment, hot food, Christmas decorations and fellowship.
From photos with Santa, falling snow, Polar Express train rides, hot food, choir performances and more, Community Christmas has quickly become one of the most popular holiday attractions in the Piedmont Triad. Just ask one of the 26,000 people who attend the event each year.
“They (HPU) care about the community,” says Israel Bell, pastor of Without A Doubt Faith Ministries in High Point, at last year’s event. “They’re saying, ‘We’re not just here for the college, we’re here for the community,’ and they’re doing something we all can share. Everyone coming together. That is love.”
Religious life at HPU thrives all year and especially during the holidays.
At the Prayer Breakfast, a featured speaker delivers an inspiring Christmas message, the HPU Chapel Choir performs special music, and a silent prayer is held in memory of alumni, members of the university family, the community and other friends who have died during the past year. More than 800 attend each year.
Visitors often remark that their favorite campus holiday decoration is the life-size Nativity scene, complete with 23 Nativity figurines. The Nativity scene figurines were donated by Mark Phillips, founder and president of Phillips Collection in High Point.
The annual Hanukkah dinner allows Jewish students to share their faith and holiday traditions. Students, faculty and staff in the HPU Hillel community read the story of Hanukkah, recite a prayer in Hebrew, and serve traditional Jewish food such as matzo ball soup and potato latkes. The university lights a Menorah on campus each year as well.
During the Lessons and Carols service, campus and community members gather together to remember and retell the Christmas story. This service is based on the traditional Festival of Lessons and Carols at King’s College in Cambridge, England.
In addition, HPU offers dozens of concerts including the Holiday Choral Concert, Holiday Symphonic Band Concert and the North Carolina Symphony Holiday Pops Concert.
The HPU family’s caring spirit is amplified during the Christmas season. Each year, students, faculty and staff make the holidays bright for thousands of people in the community. Some fill hundreds of stockings through the Salvation Army’s Stuff a Stocking drive, while others donate $10,000 worth of gifts to the Angel Tree program. Education majors host an end-of-year holiday celebration with their Book Buddies at Montlieu Elementary, while the Student Government Association donates thousands of dollars to the Red Kettle campaign. The list goes on.
No matter how the spirit of giving is shared, the HPU family is proud to make it a holiday tradition.
With a campus that’s decked in awe-inspiring Christmas décor, it’s no surprise that pausing for a photo op on campus is a common tradition for the HPU family. From giant wreaths that welcome you into the Wanek Center, to nutcrackers lining the promenade and dozens of Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes, the opportunities are endless. A new addition this year includes the toy soldier pop-up art all outside of the Slane Student Center. Not only can students position themselves alongside two pairs of proud soldiers, but prop swords and a crown make the backdrop interactive!