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A Mountain Perspective

A Mount Christmas

Chelsea Baranoski

(1/10) Christmas time means snowfalls, hot chocolate, sledding, bulky sweaters, and chilly temperatures. Every year, I look forward to Christmas time at the Mount. The weather may be frightful, but the Mount community is definitely delightful. Every year, the Mount decorates for Christmas.

The dining hall becomes a Christmas postcard: forest green wreaths hang on the walls and a tall Christmas tree lit with white lights announce this most wonderful time of the year. I absolutely love when the Mount turns on the Christmas lights. Every year, the Mount places several fir-covered arches along University Way. There is a Christmas lighting ceremony that follows holy hour and lessons and carols. During the ceremony, the fir-covered arches become awash in white Christmas lights. The Christmas tree in Founders' Plaza also glows with white lights. The lighted nativity scene in front of the Academic Center proclaims Christ's birth. Every time I see the lights, a smile spreads across my face. The lights are an instant mood booster! The Monday before the lighting ceremony, the freshman I was working with in the library told me that the Christmas lights were lit. When I looked out the window, my eyes widened and I yelped with glee. I think I scared my coworker. I had to tell him that I always get excited when the Christmas lights are lit. Unfortunately, this night must have been a testing of the lights, for the next couple of nights were pitch black, without a light in sight. Now that the Christmas lights are lit, a burst of joy surges through my veins every evening.

Christmas at the Mount also means that it is time for the first formal dance of the year: the Christmas dance! The Christmas dance is a Mount tradition. Every December, the dining hall is transformed into a winter wonderland. This year, Santa was the DJ against a backdrop of dangling white lights. The dance floor was a sea of vibrant colored dresses and dark suits. An array of Christmas cookies and cheeses filled a table next to an inflatable snowman. The Christmas dance is definitely my favorite dance at the Mount. I love dressing up and enjoying all of the decorations.

The one fault that I found with this year's Christmas dance was that the DJ did not play "Don't Stop Believin," one of my all-time favorite songs to belt out on the dance floor. However, I suppose that the DJ's decision to play a Backstreet Boys song made up for it. When the Backstreet Boys song blared through the speakers, the dance floor got crazy. Students hoisted some boys into the air, and everyone sang along to the music. After all, this was the music of our childhood: boy bands. I have no idea how we manage to retain the lyrics to these 90's songs that we have not heard since middle school. Another positive about the Christmas dance was the cha-cha slide. The Mount plays this song at every dance, without fail. I love it because my high school also played it at all of the dances. I tell my roommates that I will play that song at my wedding reception. They probably think I am joking, but I find it to be quite the party starter! And of course the night would not be complete without hearing Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA." If the Mount had a theme song, "Party in the USA" would definitely be it. Every weekend, someone on campus plays "Party in the USA." In fact, when I attended the senior trip to Fells Point, every bar played this upbeat tune.

It would not be Christmas at the Mount without the giving trees. Every year, the Mount places giving trees throughout campus. The trees contain tags with anything from toiletries to hand held games written on them. Once the items are collected, they are distributed to those in need. The giving tree is a great way for students to prepare for Christmas. After all, what better way to prepare for Christ's birth than giving to those less fortunate? When I see a giving tree with plastic bags of goodies under it, I remember that Christmas means more than receiving gifts and dancing the night away. It's about caring for a neighbor in need.

Christmas time at the Mount also means that the bell that chimes three minutes before every hour takes on a different tune. Now, the bell plays Christmas hymns, such as "Come, O Come Emmanuel." Every day as I dart to class, I am reminded that Christmas is nipping at my heels. The bells signal a close to the semester and the start of Christmas break. Every time I hear the bells, Christmas hymns filter in and out of my brain.

Because my mountain home is known for its chilly temperatures, Christmas time is the perfect opportunity to check out Ski Liberty. Last year, I went snow tubing with BUMS (a campus organization that stands for Building Unified Mount Spirit). I loved gliding down the icy paths, holding onto the tube for dear life! My friend, Fallon and I tied our snow tubes together so that we could soar down the slippery path at the same time. Snow tubing was incredibly fun, and I would love to go again this year! As for skiing - I think that will have to wait. I can picture my awkward self breaking a leg or an arm while attempting to ski. There is also the possibility that I could run into something or someone. After all, when I drive a go-kart, I am known for crashing into the person in front of me.

I am definitely going to miss Christmas time at the Mount. I will especially miss the Christmas lights and the Christmas dance. I have never missed a Christmas dance since attending the Mount, so it will be strange not attending this upbeat holiday function next year. If my schedule permits, I will definitely try to pay the Mount a visit during the winter of next year. I may no longer be a student at the university, but the Mount's contagious Christmas spirit will always be a part of me.

Read other articles by Chelsea Baranoski