Boston College’s annual Christmas tree lighting marked the start of the holiday season on the Heights. Students sipped hot chocolate, stuffed teddy bears, and roasted marshmallows as green and red lights illuminated Gasson Hall in the background.
“I always liked [the tree lighting] because it’s just kind of a community thing where you’re back from Thanksgiving break and it’s just a great way to meet up with your friends,” Martina Harkin, CSON ’25, said.
BC students packed O’Neill Plaza on Tuesday evening for the holiday ceremony, which was organized by the Campus Activities Board (CAB).
Kaitlyn Bell, MCAS ’27, said she had been eagerly anticipating the event and enjoyed the activities that CAB presented.
“I’m really excited to see the tree lighting,” Bell said. “I’ve seen all the hype.”
Students gathered around the tree and a hush fell over the crowd as University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., addressed the crowd with a prayer.
“Lord our God, we’ve gathered here as these people of faith whose lives have been so influenced by the people around us,” Leahy said. “We ask for your continued blessings upon us, upon our families, and upon our reward. We, together, can be even greater voices for good and bringing forward the world into better times.”
Leahy also reminded the crowd of the Christmas tree’s significance as a symbol of the University’s values.
“We pray in a very particular way, that this Christmas tree—this reminder of the coming of Christ—will encourage us to be examples, to be people who uplift those around us,” Leahy said.
With that, Leahy declared, “let there be light,” and O’Neill Plaza exploded in applause as the multicolored lights on the tree lit up.
The night of festivities also featured a cappella performances from the Madrigal Singers, BC Dynamics, and the Heightsmen.
According to Eunice Lee, LSEHD ’25, the tree lighting is always a widely attended event.
“I’ve been to it every year,” Lee said. “I think it’s really cute how everyone comes to watch a tree light up. It’s definitely a crowd, but I think I’ve always gone with my friends and it’s something I look forward to.”
According to Harkin, the tree lighting offers students a break from studying during what is often a stressful time of the semester.
“It’s getting dark out so early so … it’s just something to cheer everyone up before finals,” Harkin said.
David Kim, MCAS ’24, said the event brings the entire BC community together in one space and rekindles friendships.
“You’ll run into random people … and see a lot of the community come together over a shared joy and be in the festive spirit,” Kim said. “It’s good to have community—it’s part of what makes BC special.”