Boston College’s annual Christmas tree lighting kicked off the holiday season on the Heights, with students bundled in winter coats racing between a bouncy house, teddy bear giveaways, and a hot chocolate station.
“It was fun seeing everyone together,” Claire DiBiase, MCAS ’25, said. “I love seeing everyone come out here. … I feel like it gets you out of the library to socializing with friends.”
Crowds of students gathered on O’Neill Plaza Tuesday evening to watch the lighting, which was organized by the Campus Activities Board.
According to Jack McConnell, CSOM ’24, the Christmas tree lighting is one of the few times during the year when the entire BC community comes together.
“I think it’s fun because it gets everybody to come out around one event,” McConnell said. “It’s fun to bump into people that you wouldn’t normally bump into … and now that I’m going to kind of hunker down and study for finals, I won’t be running into people as much.”
University a cappella groups, including the Bostonians, the Boston College Dynamics, and the Heightsmen, performed carols as students waited for the ceremony to begin.
As students gathered around the Christmas tree for the main event, University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., addressed the crowd and reminded students of the University’s Jesuit roots.
“We are called to share, called to give, and called to be individuals who can act according to the values of Jesus Christ,” Leahy said. “That, after all, is what has motivated millions of people throughout the years. And so we come here for this event before Christmas, the lighting of our tree, a symbol of light, of fate, and of hope.”
Leahy also encouraged the crowd to pray for others and bring light to the world.
“Pray in a special way for that person or people that are most on our minds, that we most want to remember and who need our support, and then be reminded about the importance of example,” Leahy said.
O’Neill Plaza filled with twinkling lights and applause as Leahy declared “let there be light,” officially commencing BC’s holiday season.
Kelsey Casamento, MCAS ’25, said the festivities provided a relaxing study break for stressed students preparing for final exams.
“I think this is a nice little break,” Casamento said. “And you get to all come together and listen to Christmas music and it’s super wholesome vibes.”
McConnell said he does not take these moments of community gathering for granted, especially after his freshman year Christmas tree lighting was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“There weren’t a lot of things that we could come and do, like having everybody out and about feeling the BC community,” McConnell said. “So ever since I’ve made an effort to kind of show up to be around a lot of people. And this is one of those events.”