Photo by Caitlin Cunningham

Santa Claus soon makes his annual descent from the North Pole to the Boston College campus—not by sleigh, but by special BC Police Department escort. He will celebrate the Dec. 3 Christmas tree lighting with BC revelers at the annual event officiated by University President William P. Leahy, S.J., from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Plaza at O’Neill Library.

The tree lighting once again features caroling and performances by student groups, including the Heightsmen, Dynamics, Bostonians, Acoustics, Liturgy Arts Group, BC Bells, BC Irish Dance and the Saint Columbkille School Choir. There will be Campus Activities Board giveaways, Christmas games (including a “Twelve Days of Christmas”-themed raffle) and booths run by BC cultural clubs. BC Dining Services will be on hand with treats, and hot chocolate will be available to warm the crowd.

The weeks leading up to the holidays will feature numerous other festive events, including musical performances, an annual Advent-Christmas Mass, and other activities celebrating the season.

•The School of Theology and Ministry presents Advent Lessons and Carols at St. Ignatius Church, on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. Contact for information.

•More music of the season will be performed that weekend when the University Chorale and Symphony Orchestra present their annual Christmas concerts under the direction of conductor John Finney. Performances are Dec. 6 and 7 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 8 at 2 p.m., in Trinity Chapel on Newton Campus. Contact the Robsham Theater Box Office [; ext.2-4002] for ticket information, prices and purchase. Contact for more information.  

Finney will raise his baton again on Dec. 10 at 4 p.m., when he conducts members of the University Chorale in performance at St. Mary’s Chapel, during the Music at St. Mary’s Christmas Concert. Contact for information.

•Also on Dec. 8, as part of its annual holiday celebration, the McMullen Museum of Art will host festive activities throughout its hours of noon to 5 p.m. Visitors of all ages are welcome to tour the exhibitions, participate in arts and crafts and storytelling activities, and enjoy holiday-themed vocal performances, hot chocolate, and holiday treats.

•At 3 p.m. that same day, the Boston College Bands Christmas Festival will be held at 300 Hammond Pond Parkway. Performances by three bands, a visit with Santa, and an instrument petting zoo are all part of this family-friendly event, which also includes a Christmas carol sing-a-long with the Symphonic Band, a swing-a-long to BC bOp!’s jazzy holiday renditions, and a dance to excerpts from “The Nutcracker” performed by the University Wind Ensemble. Contact for information.

•Campus Ministry’s Advent-Christmas Mass, an annual holiday tradition, will take place at 8 p.m. on Dec. 8 in St. Ignatius Church.

•The Alumni Association offers its popular seasonal celebration for alumni, their families, and friends: Winter Wonderland, on Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Cadigan Alumni Center. Festivities will include photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, cookie decorating and crafts, musical performances, visits with baby animals, plus rides around campus on a horse-drawn carriage or special Christmas train. Hot cocoa and cookies will be available, and additional snacks and lunch items may be purchased (cash only).

Attendees are encouraged to bring new and unwrapped toys for kids ages six to 14 for donation to the Italian Home for Children. The Winter Wonderland cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children under 12; there is no charge for children under age three. Register at

•Gingerbread house-decorating workshops will be offered at the Connors Center in Dover from 10:30 a.m.-noon and 1-2:30 p.m. on Dec. 19. Prebuilt houses, candy adornments and hot chocolate will be provided. The cost is $35 per gingerbread house. RSVP to or call ext.2-9210.

For more information on these events and their sponsorship, see the University Calendar at

–Rosanne Pellegrini, University Communications | November 2019