HPU Hosts Thousands of Visitors at Ninth Annual Community Christmas Celebration

The Aust family, Brad (left) and Robin (right) enjoy dinner inside the Holly Jolly Hot Dog Shoppe during night two of HPU’s Community Christmas.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 13, 2019 – Over the past two nights, High Point University’s campus was filled with thousands of guests who came out to enjoy Christmas music, decorations a visit with Santa Claus and so much more.

HPU’s ninth annual Community Christmas celebration attracted families from across the Triad and beyond. Shantay Redd of High Point came with her two sons, Jakob and Josiah, and her sister, Felicity McRay.

“Every year, we look forward to coming back to Community Christmas,” said Redd. “We love seeing Santa, the train, and the Legos. Really, we enjoy all of it.”

Santa enjoys seeing the children each year at HPU’s Community Christmas, which is why he flies down from the North Pole year after year.

“I’ve already been busy, but children and adults always come see me at Community Christmas,” said Santa Claus. “I love to see community, and this university represents community. This is High Point’s University, and for HPU to do this for the area is amazing.”

HPU has hosted the two-night event for nine consecutive years and has turned into the premier complimentary Christmas event of the Piedmont Triad.

“The joy and sparkle you see in the eyes of these children who come with their families remind us all of the magic HPU’s Community Christmas brings,” said HPU President Nido Qubein. “We have hundreds of faculty, staff and students who volunteer their time to make this special for our community.”

Despite the rain, the Christmas spirit was brighter than ever on HPU’s campus. Robin and Brad Aust didn’t allow it to disrupt their annual tradition. They have attended every HPU Community Christmas since the event began nine years ago.

The High Point residents began the tradition when their now 11-year-old daughter was just 2 years old. Since then, they’ve added two more daughters to their family, five-year-old Taylor and 6-year-old Payton, both of whom were in attendance tonight.

“It’s become a true family tradition for us,” says Robin Aust. “Our girls have grown up coming to this campus, and it only gets better with each passing year. Beyond just the lights and festive nature of the event, it’s really all about bringing the community together. On these nights, HPU invites everyone to campus with welcoming smiles and friendly greetings.”

“You get to see people you may only bump into here or there around town,” added Brad Aust. “The fact that HPU opens campus and gives the community this space to celebrate the holidays together – it’s really something special.”

What they said about Community Christmas

“This is a time to bond with your family and create memories for my daughter that she can remember when she gets older. It’s great that the university gives back to the community.” -Andrew Cartledge, store manager in High Point and father to a one-year-old daughter, Emma

“Here, I get to rediscover the magic of Christmas again with my six-year-old daughter, and you realize there is still a magic and light left in Christmas.” -Shena Holliday, Greensboro

“I had just finished two exams, and this got my mind off school. And when I came here to volunteer, it was like the whole community coming together, and that was really cool. The people I met were all telling me how they come back every single year and how they appreciate what we’re doing. It shows the university’s compassion. They give to us, and we give back.” -Robert Walker, first-year physical therapy student from Akron, Ohio, and first-time volunteer at Community Christmas

“It’s a good time to escape the daily life as an adult. Here, you get to create some family memories, spend time with each other and experience the joy of the night.” -Dylan Hisey, 21, High Point

“Coming here is just awesome. I like the trains and all the stuff. We had our pictures taken in those big rocking chairs.” -Christiana Holliday, 6, Greensboro

“It’s so much fun going to see Santa, eating our hot dog dinners, getting our picture taken in the big rocking chairs, seeing the tall stilt elves, and adding Anna and Elsa is all my daughter keeps talking about. Every year there is something new to do, and the event keeps growing.” –Cathryn and Eugene Campbell of High Point bring their children Elly, four, Coel, 11, and Trey, 14

“It’s very family-oriented. It’s so nice having families out here spending time together around the holidays.” –Jordan Greene, mother of Maddison Greene, of High Point

“I like the train because we were going so fast that I could feel the wind.” –Maddison Greene, daughter of Jordan Greene, of High Point

“We look forward to everything at Community Christmas, which is why we’ve been coming for the last four years. It’s a wonderful event for the entire family.” –Jenni Clayton of Kernersville

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