Christmas Celebrations at Trinity Hall

The Christmas season is finally here, and Trinity Hall students and faculty celebrated the season before school let out for Christmas break. Below, read the traditions that students and faculty continued, or created, for Christmas this year. 
Cookie Decorating
The sophomore class held a cookie decorating contest at the beginning of December to help get into the holiday spirit. Students brought in homemade cookies and were tasked with decorating their cookies to fit the Christmas theme. Cookie designs included Christmas trees, ornaments, Santa’s face, and Santa’s hat. Class President, Macy S. and several other students served as judges and crowned Jordyn T. and Sarah S. the winners of the contest. The sophomore class enjoyed this time together as a class to get in the Christmas spirit. 
Christmas Collection by Pen’s Den 
Pen’s Den, Trinity Hall’s Literary Magazine, published its first-ever Christmas Collection. Every week, Pen’s Den’s resident writers have added new parts to a Christmas narrative, accompanied by original illustrations by Hannah B. '22 and Grace S. '24. The first week was written by Annaliese H. ‘22, and readers met Louisa, a college student from England studying in Boston who is not quite fond of Christmas. The second week, Fiona O. ’23  introduced us to Merrill, also a college student studying in Boston who is particularly excited for the Christmas season. The third edition was written by Roselyn J. ‘22 who added Lupita to the story, our third college student studying in Boston, but Lupita is homesick and longing for the Christmas traditions she has with her family. All three students find a flyer for a “Winter Holiday Celebration in the Quad” with promises of music and food provided by each of the party-goers. The final parts of the story will be published soon! Read along here
Christmas Tree Lighting
On December 10, Trinity Hall invited our community to join us on campus for our inaugural Christmas Tree Lighting. The event consisted of the lighting of our newly planted Douglas fir, a Christmas concert with performances by the Chorus and Glee Club accompanied by the Instrumental Group, a hot chocolate bar courtesy of the Parent’s Association, and the first look at our Christmas Light Spectacular. The Lighting brought a great turnout, and visitors enjoyed the musical performances that even included an audience sing-a-long at the end. While Trinity Hall has put on a Christmas Concert for the past four years, this was the first year for the Christmas Tree Lighting, and we can’t wait to continue this tradition for many Christmas seasons to come! 
Christmas Toy Drive
The SCOPE Council held a Christmas Toy Drive from November 29 to December 10. The toy drive was led by junior class president Sophia A. who has been leading Toy Drives every Christmas since elementary school to benefit St. Peter Claver Church in Asbury Park. Each grade level was given a specific age group to buy presents for and was asked to bring the toys in unwrapped. The drive was so successful this year, with over 200 toys donated, we were able to benefit three different charities. Alex T. ‘22 shipped toys to an orphanage in the Philippines as part of a charity she has frequently worked with. The remaining toys were donated to Catholic Charities which will be distributing the toys through the Mt. Carmel Guild in Trenton. We couldn’t have anticipated the success of the toy drive this year, but we are glad to be able to help families during the Christmas season.
Christmas Light Spectacular
The Christmas Light Spectacular gave our campus light and life for the Christmas season! We welcomed applicants to the Class of 2026 and Family Resource Associates onto our campus for a special viewing of the light designs, as well as for a visit from Santa and our Monarch. The original idea for the Christmas Light Spectacular was created by Dr. Melissa Whelan, Dean of Student Activities, and the result was a culmination of the abilities of our students, faculty, and parents. “This event is the integration of the best of Trinity Hall, our student's creativity, engineering and design skills as well as our faith in the light that comes into the world at Christmas. It was so much fun to bring together faculty, students, and parents to create the Christmas lights,” said Dr. Whelan. The Christmas Light Spectacular will be available for our community to visit every night until December 25. “I hope that many will come on campus in the next few weeks and hear our students sing while enjoying their creations.  My hope is that this event will continue to grow as we demonstrate how the Humanities, STEM, and Arts integrate at Trinity Hall.” Make the trip to our campus and view the light designs created by our students and faculty, including a Christmas dinosaur, Trinity Hall Christmas lockers created by our Theater Design class, two ten-foot elves painted by Art Club, and many more! 
Mini Gingerbread Houses
As a Big Sister, Little Sister activity, our students created mini gingerbread houses out of graham crackers. Students brought in the traditional gingerbread-house decorations such as icing, candy and sprinkles and worked together to create gingerbread masterpieces. After the decorating was finished, our gingerbread village included a gingerbread tent, a double-decker gingerbread apartment, a smiley-gingerbread house complete with a driveway, and a traditional gingerbread house with gumdrop Christmas trees. The Christmas spirit was in the air during this bonding activity for our Big Sisters and Little Sisters. 
Trinity Elves
Trinity Elves, which is Trinity Hall’s version of Secret Santa, has been a staple in the Christmas celebrations here at Trinity Hall since 2013. Every December, each student is given the name of one of their classmates and acts as their “Trinity Elf”, buying them presents and leaving them notes. In the first two weeks as an elf, each student has to leave a small gift and a note containing a clue to who the elf is. On the last day of school before Christmas break, each class gathers in one room, and each student has the opportunity to guess who their elf is. Whether the student guesses their elf right or wrong, their elf gives them their final present. It is always exciting to watch the mystery of the elves unfold and to receive a present from a classmate. Trinity Elves is a tradition that encourages students to get to know each other on a personal level in a fun way.
Christmas Bake Off
The Christmas Bake Off tasked students with bringing in a cake of their own creation. Students went all out with the cakes this year, and it was a tough decision for our Core Council to make. They judged based on the look of the cake, the taste of the cake, and the best cake overall. Freshmen Julia V., Paige B., and Kate D. took Best Looking Cake for their Christmas tree cake, decorated with a fondant present and teddy bear. Best Tasting Cake went to sophomores Sophia M., Evelyn J., and Greta S. with their vegan chocolate reindeer cake. The Best Overall Cake was awarded to Gianna D. with her chocolate Rudolph cake complete with a red nose. The cakes that were submitted this year were both beautiful and delicious and were able to be shared with the whole student body. 
Ugly Sweater Contest
The Ugly Sweater Contest has been a Trinity Hall tradition where students and faculty go head to head with their Ugly Sweaters. Those who chose to participate in the contest walked the runway in the Commons, showing off their homemade creations or store-bought designs. Sophomore class president Macy S. and junior class president Sophia A. took the competition very seriously and carefully examined each sweater. First place was taken by Biz F. ‘25 and Bridie F. ‘25 who shared one Christmas-themed poncho with a Rudolph the Reindeer hood. Second place was given to Anna B. ‘23 and Scarlett B. ‘23 who wore matching Christmas llama sweaters, naming their duo “Dos Llamas.”  In third place was Eleanor O. ‘23 that displayed Santa in a yoga pose with the words “Namasleigh.” The judging was concluded with the faculty winners. Mrs. Orrico and Ms. Sobeski came out on top with their Ugly Sweaters. Mrs. Orrico accessorized with a white Christmas wreath decorated with a dove, and Ms, Sobeski showed out in an original 1980’s Ugly Christmas Sweater fit with shoulder pads. 
You could feel the Christmas spirit in the hall these past few weeks here at Trinity Hall, and our students left for Christmas break ready for the holiday and relaxation time. Thank you to all who celebrated the Christmas season with us, and we can’t wait to continue our traditions next year! 

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