The countdown to the holidays is underway. On Dec. 3 at 4 p.m., University President William P. Leahy, SJ, officiates at the annual Christmas tree lighting – with a special appearance from Santa Claus – on the Plaza at O’Neill Library, and the campus is now festooned in decorations. A look at some upcoming campus events that celebrate the holiday season:

“Christmas on the Heights”
Dec. 4 and 5, 8 p.m.
Dec. 6, 2 p.m.
Conducted by John Finney, the University Chorale and Symphony Orchestra present an annual concert in Trinity Chapel on Newton Campus. Admission: $12; $15 at the door (if available); Robsham Theater Arts Center Box Office or ext.2-4002.

“A Festival of Lessons and Carols”
Dec. 6, 3 p.m.
Offered at the beginning of Advent, this festival of music and scripture, called Lessons and Carols, is a service of Christian worship that celebrates the coming of Jesus as Redeemer. The story of Jesus is told in six short Bible readings, interspersed with the singing of traditional Christmas carols, hymns and choir music. Holiday refreshments will follow the 45-minute service, held in the STM Chapel in Simboli Hall. The cost is $10 per person; here for more information, call ext.2-4700.

Voices of Imani Christmas Concert
Dec. 6, 6 p.m.
The student gospel choir will perform music of the season in Gasson 100. While there is no cost, donations are appreciated.

Photo of the University Chorale singing

Music at St. Mary’s Christmas Concert
Dec. 8, 4 p.m.
Members of the University Chorale will again perform under the baton of conductor John Finney, in the Saint Mary’s Hall Chapel. The event is sponsored by the Music Department.

Annual Gaelic Roots Christmas Concert
Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m.
Sponsored through the Center for Irish Program’s Gaelic Roots series, this concert features husband-and-wife duo Matt and Shannon Heaton as well as fiddler Hanneke Cassel and guitarist/vocalist Keith Murphy. The four, all mainstays of the Boston/New England music scene, will play traditional and original music of the season with a Celtic flavor. The Heatons are widely acclaimed for their instrumental skill – Shannon on flute, whistle and accordion; Matt on guitar and bouzouki – as well as their sensitive, expressive singing. Cassel is one of the foremost performers of the “American Scottish” fiddle style, and Murphy – a founding member of the innovative New England trio Nightingale – is known for his quietly powerful percussive-style guitar style and natural, intimate singing voice.

The concert, which is free, will be held in the Cadigan Alumni Center on Brighton Campus. See their website more information.

University Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band Christmas Concert
Dec. 8, 8 p.m.
Sponsored by Boston College Bands, the event will be held in Gasson 100.

Fair Trade Holiday Fair
Dec. 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The ninth annual event, which takes place on the second floor of Corcoran Commons, boasts an array of vendors. Buying Fair Trade, organizers note, supports grassroots efforts for change in the developing world by ensuring that those producing the goods purchased are paid a just wage for their labor. Attendees can learn more, support artisans and cooperatives, and find products from around the world. Sponsored by the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, BC Dining Services and the BC Neighborhood Center. For more information, including participating vendors visit this site.

“Winter Wonderland”
Dec. 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Alumni Association presents its annual family Christmas event, with such festivities as photos with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, crafts, entertainer Johnny the K, a live petting zoo and horse-drawn carriage rides. Attendees are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys for boys or girls ages 6 to 14, which will be donated to the Italian Home for Children. Held at the Cadigan Alumni Center, the cost of the event is $15 for adults, $5 for children 12 years and under, and free for children under the age of three.   
Registration here.

“Christmas Reflections”
Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 19 and 20, 3 p.m.
The Robsham Theater Arts Center main stage is once again the venue for this annual celebration of the Christmas season in story, music and dance. The performance features choreography by Jesuit Artist-in-Residence Robert VerEecke, SJ, and Helen O’Dwyer, a BC alumna and director of the O’Dwyer School of Irish Dancing. Admission is $20 (additional fees apply), available at the Robsham box office or ext.2-4002.

Scenes from Christmas Past