Saint Anselm Brings Back Beloved Holiday Traditions

November 2, 2021

By Emma McDonald '22

Christmas on the Hilltop is a special time of year. From the 16-foot Christmas tree in Davison Hall to the Meelia Center’s annual Holiday Fair, Saint Anselm College is filled with holiday spirit. The College spreads cheer through an abundance of holiday traditions that are loved and cherished by the entire college community. This year is especially exciting since everyone's favorite holiday traditions are back.

The season will begin with the Meelia Center’s annual Holiday Fair on Sat., Nov. 20, 2021 when the college welcomes children from the Manchester area to campus. The Holiday Fair was virtual last year due to COVID-19 restrictions so the Meelia Center is excited to be working on in-person plans to spread the holiday spirit amongst the greater Manchester community. Ellie Carlson-McNally ’23, the Meelia Center’s service events coordinator says the holiday fair is a free and fun event for families and children with craft tables led by Saint Anselm students, fun games, and free food and photos with Santa. More information will be coming soon from Carlson-McNally and the Meelia Center.

For many students, Davison is the heart of their favorite traditions with the Thanksgiving Cheesecake and Pie Sale, the Gingerbread Competition, and Christmas Feast. “While AVI is new, many of the same amazing team members are here to continue the festivities that students know and love,” said Dining Services Director Esther Reed. Dining Services has already started preparing for both events.

Students, faculty, and staff can purchase their favorite cheesecakes, breads, and pies in time for Thanksgiving from Nov. 22-23, 2021 at Davison Hall.

Registration for the Gingerbread House will open on Nov. 17, 2021 with the big event taking place on Nov. 28, 2021. The Gingerbread competition is one of the student’s favorites, with everyone vying for first place. 

On Nov. 30, 2021, will be the beloved Christmas Feast. Executive Chef Richie Baressi and Director of Culinary Brian Csaky have prepared a wonderful menu. “[I’m] very excited for the unlimited eggnog station at the Christmas Feast and the homemade pastries,” says student body president Rit Flandreau ’22. He shares that his favorite part of this beloved tradition is the comradery among the students.

The beginning of November has the campus community giving thanks and giving back. Last year, the community donated 75 gift cards for community members in need to purchase Thanksgiving dinner. This year, the college will return to the tradition of donating full holiday meals complete with a turkey and all the fixings in baskets to families experiencing food insecurity. Baskets will specifically be donated to Catholic Charities and foster care families in greater Manchester.
Anselmians interested in providing a Thanksgiving basket may register online. Baskets will be collected on Mon., November 22 between 8 – 10 a.m. in the Abbey Church. A blessing ceremony will follow at 10:30 a.m.

The Dana Center is getting in the holiday spirit with two major performances. On December 3, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., the center will host “A Christmas Carol” featuring Gerald Dickens (great grandson of Charles Dickens). Learn more about the Dana Center's event: "A Christmas Carol” featuring Gerald Dickens. Attend Irish Christmas in America on December 11 at 7:30 p.m. Learn more about the Dana Center's event: "An Irish Christmas in America"

Traditions are held to a high standard at Saint Anselm and the holiday spirit will be vibrant across campus as the entire community of students, faculty, and staff share in the excitement of welcoming back these traditions. Check your email and take a look at the dining services and the Meelia Center’s social media to learn more about these upcoming events.

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