Headmaster Dr. Todd Flanders opened the annual Upper School Choir and Band Concert by saying, “It’s no secret that at Providence Academy, Christmas is a big thing. I mean, we put it on a billboard…”
Christmas is celebrated in a big way at PA, not only because it honors our Lord and Savior’s birth, but it is a time for all the students and teachers to come together and participate in fun activities filled with the Christmas spirit.
Even students from other schools know Providence goes above and beyond during the holiday season.
A co-op athlete from Heritage Academy, Lisey Langhus ‘24 says, “I can’t wait to see what the school looks like, all decorated. I just know it is so fun there during Christmastime.”
The PA community is grateful for the fact that we can be open about our faith and celebrate during the Christmas season. This is partially why everywhere you look, you will find wreaths; large trees complete with lights, ornaments, and garland; poinsettias; Nativity scenes; and many other ways showing that Christmas is not just about presents.
These decorations stay up well into the new year to serve as a reminder that the Christmas season is not over on the 26th. Mrs. Nancy Galgano, Lower School Director explains, “Especially with the younger kids, we really do try to teach them early on the real reason behind Christmas. It is all about preparing for Jesus, who came to give us grace.”
Along with traditional methods of celebrating, the Lower School is especially active during this time, with their annual caroling during the last hour of school before break, Advent prayers, Jesse trees, crafts, Christmas concerts, and an all-time favorite celebration of St. Nicholas. Each child puts out a shoe overnight on the 6th of December for St. Nick’s Feast Day and comes back the next day to receive a special treat in his or her shoe.
Santa even makes an appearance every year at Providence to surprise the little ones! There are also multiple charity drives to help those who may be less fortunate, making sure they also have a blessed Christmas. The Hat and Mitten Drive has been very popular for years, and the school receives so many donations of winter accessories that multiple, mini-Christmas trees are adorned with the donated items before they are distributed to those in need. The Toys for Tots pile under the tree in the Great Room overflows, requiring the path around it to be cleared several times a week. The festivities don’t even end in December: after the break, on the Feast Day of the Three Kings, each classroom gets blessed by Father McClellan to celebrate the Epiphany.
While the Lower School is drawing pictures of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the stable, the Upper Schoolers have final exams, but they still find ways to show some Christmas cheer during this time with the school choir caroling throughout the halls, students decorating hallways, Secret Santa gift exchanges, an ugly sweater competition, “story time” with Mr. Skemp before finals, and last but certainly not least, Mass, to let us remember why we can celebrate this lovely time in the first place.