Sporting a bright orange and blue coat and winter boots, a little boy pushes his way past students and faculty trying to sneak a peek at Santa Claus in Student Commons on Nov. 28.
He’s one of hundreds of attendees at Algonquin College’s sixth annual tree lighting ceremony hosted by the Students’ Association and Student Support Services.
The event offered free egg nog, treats and pictures with Santa for all visitors and a kids corner with holiday crafts and activities.
“We want an opportunity to do something for the students that kicks off the holiday season, but is also fun for them too,” said Student Support Services director Shelley Styles, who helped with the inaugural lighting of the 20 ft. Christmas tree.
The ceremony brought on happy reactions to students and faculty after the five-week college strike that left a more sombre mood on campus.
Students and faculty, some wearing jingly elf hats, shared conversations and laughs as they waited to sit on Santa’s knee.
No matter your age, Styles says the event helps bring the child out in everyone to celebrate the magic of the holiday season.
Algonquin Commons Theatre staff assisted in setting up the event, looking after decorations and lights for the Christmas tree days before the event.
“It’s a lot of pre-planning,” said SA events programmer Baldeep Randhawa. “And then, the day of it’s a lot of last minute things, getting together and decorating and just making sure everyone has fun.”
While mostly ceremonial, the tree lighting gave students who are parents the opportunity to show their children the college in a fun environment.
With more holiday-themed events planned in the coming weeks including a DIY holiday card workshop in the AC Hub, Algonquin students have plenty to look forward to leading up to the holiday break.
“It sounds corny, but I like the Christmas spirit,” said performing arts student Bianca Bhatnagar, who got a free picture with Santa. “I feel like people are in a more jolly mood and family-oriented.”