Joyful Columbia College lighting


Art by Richard Sapp

Maria Kalaitzandonakes

Art by Richard Sapp
Quick Details:
What – Lighting of Columbia College 
When – Friday, Nov. 30 at 4:45 p.m.
Where – Columbia College main campus
When we are kids, the holiday time was a fast paced whirl of magic. Come December, Santa Claus’ squeaky black boots and big rumbling belly occupied my daydreams. At nighttime, I would fall asleep to the sound of the rapid tapping of reindeer hooves. I used to count down the days on my calendar with a big fat black marker, waiting in unbridled anticipation until the number would read Dec. 24 — Christmas eve, possibly the most magical day of them all.
Slipping and sliding over the wood floor in my footie pajamas, I fell to a stop in front of the toweringly tall tree and closed my eyes tight. I squished my fists at my sides and thought as hard as I could, “Cabbage Patch Kid. Cabbage Patch Kid. Cabbage Patch Kid,” or whatever my dream gift for that year was, over and over – praying that a jolly man living at the North Pole would hear me.
This magic seems to fade as we grow older. Maybe it gets squashed by the now repeating thought of, “Finals. Finals. Finals.” Maybe when we finally find out the white bearded man is really our well-intentioned, white-lying parents, it simply flies away. I guess it could just be the cycle of Christmas; we lose our magic until we have children of our own to pass it on to.
But, there are times when I am unwilling to give up this feeling: the toe-tingling and the broad smile stretching across your face that comes when you have an overwhelming belief in something enchanting. And there is one place in Columbia that will give it back to you.
Columbia College during Christmastime is perfect. It has white lights strung up on every possible surface. The roofs make little glowing triangles, and the sides of the buildings line the dark night. Here, stretching across frost-covered ground, is my Columbian castle. The turrets are majestic and seem to point to the sky, putting in a good word for the countless spoon-under-pillow-wielding children across the city. Get this: there are over 4,500 white lights in Columbia College’s display.
And as every royal place should, they have a beginning ceremony. Slowly, families cross the moat. The straight, yellow-lined “draw bridge” is very inviting. The lighting ceremony begins with the speaking of a few hushed words and a serenade of wintertime carols. The voices ring out into the cold night air, and one lucky elf hits the switch. In a single moment, the entire place lights up and every single person believes in magic once more.
Luckily for you, you have not missed this moment yet. It is this Friday! You can participate in this amazing community event.
Go. And for a few moments, ignore your pressing finals. Ignore the college applications. Ignore the scholarship deadlines. And all of the other things hanging over our heads, ignore them too. Look up at the lights as they click on, and look down at the faces of the kids who are still living in the magical moments of childhood. Enjoy the stinging on your cheeks from the cold. Bring a mug of hot cocoa and some friends along. Sing the carols at the top of your voice. This is something you won’t want to miss.
By Maria Kalaitzandonakes
This opinion piece is labeled as such on the desktop version.