The History of the Christmas Tree Lighting By: Haleigh Smith

The annual Christmas tree lighting has been a Hardin-Simmons University tradition since before 1961.


Despite all of the many changes that the University has experienced over the years, the festivities and meaning of the tradition have stayed the same. The tradition was originally influenced by the social committee and the Baptist Student Union, now known as the Baptist Student Ministry (BSM). The purpose of the event was to bring clubs, different organizations, students, faculty and staff together by each group being responsible for a different part in the tradition. One club was assigned to decorations, another was responsible for reading the story and another for food, etc. Today, this tradition remains true to its founders.


The most recent Christmas tree lighting was put on by the HSU Theatre Department, Sabers, The Six White Horses as well as the Cowboy Band and the Cheerleaders. Of course, Santa Claus made an appearance as well. “The Christmas Tree Lighting '' Poem was written by Herbert Hanley who was an assistant professor of English at Hardin-Simmons University. This tradition lives on as it is read by Santa every year.


This is a great tradition for current students, facility, staff, alumni and members of the community. Allison Hampton is a junior studying graphic design from Fort Worth who was one of the many who attended this year’s Christmas party. “The Christmas Tree lighting is my favorite HSU tradition because it always falls right before the week of finals and is a great way to bring the campus together one last time before going home for finals,” Hampton said.


Many students said the same, but Givan Rhodes, a junior biology major from Fort Worth, had additional thoughts to share. “I think what makes it so special to me is that, aside from the day that we light the tree with the festivities, the lights are kept lit all around the campus for the rest of the semester helping the tradition stay alive,” Rhodes said.


As the years go by, the tradition of not only the Christmas tree lighting but also the lighting of the campus will remain in the top traditional favorites for many HSU students.