3 Texas colleges wrap up top-10 spots among schools with cheeriest Christmas traditions
Students being away for winter break doesn't stop colleges from decorating and celebrating the holidays in their own ways. Three Texas colleges in particular – Baylor University, Texas Tech University, and St. Mary's University – have some of the most dazzling Christmas traditions in the U.S., says a new report.
Education advisors Academic Influence placed the Texas universities near the top of the nice list in its 2023 report of the "Colleges with the Most Cheerful Christmas Traditions."
Waco's Baylor University earned the glory of being named the No. 3 most cheerful college, thanks to its stunning annual holiday festivities. Starting with the School of Music's Christmas performances throughout campus, the cheery concerts uplift the spirits of all students and faculty for a much needed mood-booster to prepare for the hectic finals week. But there's one other magical event that solidifies how seriously Baylor takes its Christmas cheer.
"The highlight of the Christmas season kicks off each year with a Texas-sized celebration dubbed 'Christmas on 5th Street,' an event that transforms the Baylor campus into a winter wonderland," the report's author wrote. "Students and locals alike enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, food trucks, a Christmas market, a live nativity, a historic village to stroll through, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus."
Waco families delight in the Christmas on 5th Street's kid-friendly activities, including bounce houses, train rides, and festive performances.
Texas Tech University's Red Raiders also look good in green, as the Lubbock-based university came in at No. 7 in the report. The 65th annual Carol of Lights is one of the most popular holiday events, which brings in more than 20,000 attendees from Lubbock and beyond, according to the report.
"The Carol of Lights features a 38-foot-tall Christmas tree, a 20-foot wreath, 3,000 luminaries, and 25,000 lights," the report said.
The Carol of Lights event in 2022 kicked off Texas Tech's Centennial Celebration. Visitors won't want to miss out on this year's event, which will wrap up the centennial with "an even grander celebration" that features a drone show.
St. Mary's University in San Antonio rounded out the top 10 with its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and alumni Christmas social. Four inches of machine-made snow covers the grounds of the campus, transforming it into the perfect playground and backdrop for all families, alumni, and visitors to enjoy.
For some university Christmas cheer much closer to home, Austinites can head downtown to The University of Texas at Austin to experience the Longhorn Lights, a brand new festive holiday light show. Nightly from 5-10 pm, visitors and locals alike can admire the 24 heritage oak trees along Guadalupe (between 21st and 24th Streets) that will be lit up with the university's signature burnt orange and white colors.
The best U.S. colleges with the most merry Christmas traditions, according to Academic Influence, are:
- No. 1 – Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey
- No. 2 – The University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana
- No. 3 – Baylor University in Waco, Texas
- No. 4 – Villanova University in Villanova, Pennsylvania
- No. 5 – Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah
- No. 6 – High Point University in High Point, North Carolina
- No. 7 – Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas
- No. 8 – Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee
- No. 9 – St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota
- No. 10 – St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas
- No. 11 – University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio