Santa delights children young and old in the Student Commons

Outside, the late afternoon air was crisp. Inside the warmth of the Student Commons, the stage was set for a magical celebration with the 12th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The Students’ Association and the AC Hub provided a wide range of activities, from gingerbread house-making to photos with Santa. The event attracted about 250 […]
Photo: Kerry Slack
Santa delights children at the 12th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Student Commons on Dec. 4.

Outside, the late afternoon air was crisp.

Inside the warmth of the Student Commons, the stage was set for a magical celebration with the 12th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

The Students’ Association and the AC Hub provided a wide range of activities, from gingerbread house-making to photos with Santa. The event attracted about 250 enthusiastic people of all ages.

Days in advance, Santa’s little helpers arrived with the towering tree. Through a lot of teamwork, some interesting tools and equipment and an Ingenious light-hanging technique, the giant tree didn’t take long to assemble.

On the day of the tree lighting, Santa led story time.

Children gathered in anticipation, their eyes sparkling with wonder, eager to hear their beloved Santa.

Santa created a mesmerizing atmosphere, weaving tales of love, kindness and the magic of Christmas.

“My two-year-old is Christmas-obsessed this year, so the best part was seeing her so fixated on Santa,” said Matt Regnier, manager of board communications and stakeholder relations with the Algonquin Students’ Association

At the gingerbread house-making station, children and adults showcased their creativity by decorating pre-assembled gingerbread houses with colourful candies and frosting.

Graphic design students and friends Cassidy Dingham and Alison Morin worked together on a gingerbread house.

“We will each be going home for the holidays, so this is a nice way to connect before we don’t see each other for a while,” said Dingham.

The sense of camaraderie encircled the entirety of the assembly tables as friends and families worked together to create unique houses.

Jackie Leroux, a developmental services student, delighted in planning and constructing a gingerbread house with the help of her co-worker, Bao Bao.

Developmental services student Jackie Leroux and her co-worker, Bao Bao make a gingerbread house while enjoying the happy energy.
Developmental services student Jackie Leroux and her co-worker, Bao Bao make a gingerbread house while enjoying the happy energy. Photo credit: Kerry Slack

“Doing the gingerbread house with my friends is a nice way to spend some time,” said Leroux.

“Look at how happy all these kids are,” she said. “You can’t help but get in the spirit.”

Adjacent to the gingerbread house-making area, an expert face painter transformed children into whimsical characters, animals and holiday-inspired designs with her skilled brushstrokes.

A constant stream of hot chocolate was available for everyone, providing a comforting treat. Students and families clutched their warm beverages while mingling with friends as they waited in line to see Santa.

“I’m so happy to be here,” said Santa. “Look at all these nice people. Not a sign of the Grinch anywhere.”

“That guy is always on the naughty list,” he said.

Children eagerly lined up, dressed in their festive best and Santa listened attentively to their wishes and shared precious moments.

The resulting photos captured the joy in each person’s eyes, becoming cherished mementos for families to treasure for years to come.

“She (daughter) loved every minute, and since getting the photos, she loves to look at it. It makes her so happy,” said Regnier.

“My seven-year-old is very skeptical of Santa, but I think seeing so many people (and adults) taking photos with Santa gave him a boost of Christmas cheer,” he said.

Accompanying the festivities was a talented and energetic band, filling the air with festive sounds. The lively performance inspired spontaneous singing and dancing, including an impromptu toddler breakdance session which topped off the party with smiles.

The Christmas tree was lit with happy cheers from all.

From gingerbread house-making and face painting to warming hot chocolate, inspiring story time and the joyful presence of Santa, the event left attendees with lasting memories and a sense of holiday enchantment.

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