Oklahoma Christian University will kick off the Christmas season with the 11th annual Lighting of the Commons celebration tonight in the Student Center. Taking place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the event will feature hot cocoa, pictures with Santa Claus, a firework show, rides in horse-drawn carriages and the Soundings Christmas market.
Oklahoma Christian Event Coordinator Amanda Watson headed the planning of this event and said she hopes it draws people to campus.
“We love sharing our beautifully decorated campus with alumni, faculty, staff, students and the surrounding community,” Watson said. “I think it’s a great event to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season.”
Watson said the construction in the student center for the new cafeteria prevented her from adding any new elements to the event, but that should not deter people from coming.
“They have a great opportunity to shop at the Soundings Christmas Market and enjoy free activities like riding the carriages,” Watson said. “Bring $5 for your collector’s Lighting of the Commons mug filled with hot chocolate.”
Shaylin Reddell is currently the coordinator for the Welcome Center at Oklahoma Christian and has helped plan Lighting of the Commons for the past two years. Reddell is a 2018 alumna of Oklahoma Christian.
“My favorite parts when I was a student were the new coffee mugs and hot cocoa,” Reddell said.
Reddell said the events office puts an incredible amount of time and effort into planning Lighting of the Commons each year for students and members of the community to visit campus and enjoy the festivities.
“I think this helps the students get excited for the last few weeks of the semester and bring the community together for the holiday,” Reddell said. “It is a family friendly event that offers something for all ages, and who doesn’t want a picture with Santa?”
According to Watson, the event will have two Santas—one for students and one for families. Students should look for signs during the event to lead them to the student-only “special Santa.”
Soundings, a literary and visual arts journal, hosts the Lighting of the Commons Christmas market each year. Proceeds raised from the market help fund the publishing of the journal, which is given away for free each spring, according to Soundings copy editor Paige Holmes.
“We really like to do it this way so that the students who submitted their hard work and get accepted don’t have to pay to have a copy of their published work and so the OC community can appreciate our campus’s creativity without worrying about paying for it,” Holmes said.
Holmes said the Christmas market will offer opportunities to buy clothing, accessories, boutique toys and more from Oklahoma Christian organizations and vendors from the community.
“We’ve got a lot of different vendors this year,” Holmes said. “Some of them are familiar faces from OC—the nursing department, Iota Kappa Phi and the Society of Women Engineers. There will be booths showcasing Sigma Tau Delta, the English department’s honor society, art from OC students and Soundings will be there checking everyone in and doing face painting. It’s a well-rounded group of vendors, so college students, parents and everyone else will be able to shop around.”
As a student, Holmes said she enjoys Lighting of the Commons because it celebrates her favorite time of the year: Christmas.
“There’s such a community spirit at the event, especially because we get people outside of OC involved in it,” Holmes said. “It’s a fun and friendly environment where people can sell things they’ve worked hard on, and students can enjoy themselves and maybe pick up a Christmas present or two.”
The firework show will begin at 6:50 p.m. behind the clocktower. All other events begin at 6 p.m.