Whitworth University’s annual Christmas tree lighting

Ally McAfee

Christmas tree outside the HUB, Tues., Dec. 5, 2023, at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. | Caleb Flegel/The Whitworthian

On Monday, Dec. 4, the Whitworth University community will gather together beside the campanile for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The largest tree in The Loop has been trimmed and will be lit with Christmas lights for the first time this season during the event, which will also feature singing and warm food and drinks for everyone braving the cold to attend. 

Whitworth President Scott McQuilkin will return as a leader of the ceremony. “The tree lighting ceremony is a decade-old event, providing a neat addition to the all-campus reception that has been celebrated for many more years. For me and Janice, we really love serving ladles of wassail to students and employees. We enjoy the conversations that accompany the hot drink,” said McQuilkin. 

“I thought it was really cool to have a kickoff to the holiday season,” third-year student Maizie Mendenall said. “But [it is] also nice to see that the president wants to have interactions with the people [and students] on campus [and] cares about having a relationship with us.”  

The Christmas lights and food are not the only benefit of attending. The sense of unity created by the event was also a draw for Mendenall, “It’s nice that there’s a reason to come together. I feel like there’s a lot of events that are club specific […]. It’s nice for it to just be a general thing; ‘everyone come if you can,’” said Mendenall.

“This will be my first time, [so] I’m very excited,” second-year student Bailee Cook said. “I’m picturing the scene from ‘The Grinch’ where they’re all holding hands and singing around the Christmas tree.”  

It is unlikely that the Grinch will attempt to steal Whitworth’s tree on Christmas Eve, but according to Cook, there are “definitely big community vibes with it, because a bunch of people are going and all joining their voices together to sing beautiful Christmas carols and have a lot of fun […] and good food.” 

“We enjoy watching and participating in the community gathering accompanied by great food, including a dozen different cookie options. The HUB just seems to be overflowing with joy. And finally, even if it’s bitter cold in The Loop, singing a few Christmas carols with students and colleagues makes for a great day,” said McQuilkin.

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