From humble roots came the yearly holiday tradition known as High Point Universty Community Christmas. Nine years ago, HPU first hosted the event to fellowship with neighbors and host them for a stroll down the Kester International Promenade. A few hundred people came and enjoyed hot chocolate, lights and Christmas music.
Each year since, it has grown into the premier Christmas celebration in the city and greater the Piedmont Triad region, welcoming more than 25,000 people to campus each year. Complete with complimentary photos with Santa Claus and a gift for the children, falling snow, food, carolers and community choirs, elves, a petting zoo, Polar Express train rides and more, it’s an event that puts thousands who live in the Triad – and many more who drive from out of town to attend – into the Christmas spirit.
This year’s free event is happening Dec. 12 and Dec. 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Here are five things to look forward to Community Christmas at HPU:
1. Communion & Life-size Nativity
Each night there will be a communion service in Hayworth Chapel. Please join us at 6:30 p.m. each night!
Visitors often remark that their favorite campus holiday decoration is the life-size Nativity scene, complete with 23 Nativity figurines and a photo station. The Nativity scene figurines were donated by Mark Phillips, founder and president of Phillips Collection in High Point.
The Nativity scene is on view at the intersection of University Avenue and Panther Drive, between Norton Hall and the Plato S. Wilson School of Commerce.
2. Photos with Santa
Children who visit Santa Claus in the Slane Center will have their photo taken with him and printed for free on the spot. They will also receive a gift from one of Santa’s helpers!
After their visit with Saint Nick, families can enjoy a visit to HPU’s larger-than-life Dream Big Rocking Chairs for another festive photo opportunity.
3. Polar Express train rides
A favorite for all, Polar Express trains will shuttle visitors from Hayworth Fine Arts Center and around the Roberts Hall Lawn through flurries of falling snow and Christmas lights. Children and families can sing along to Christmas music that’s piped in through the train’s speakers in transit. The Polar Express trains are an easy way to view campus and provide another opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
4. Complimentary food
Visitors can take a break in the Millis Athletic and Convocation Center while they enjoy hot dogs and chips from the Holly Jolly Hot Dog Shoppe. Hot cocoa and coffee are also available at various stations throughout campus.
5. Holiday sights and sounds
Some of the most well-known Community Christmas traditions are twinkling lights and Christmas music. In addition to falling snow, HPU’s Campus Enhancement team transforms campus into a Winter Wonderland. This year, campus is decked in:
- 100,000 lights
- 13,191 feet of garland
- 175 wreaths
- 696 banners
- 491 bows
- 138 nutcrackers and soldiers
- 23 Nativity scene figures
- 324 poinsettias
- 13 Christmas trees