What is Baylor’s Christmas on 5th Street?
Sweater weather, hot chocolate, roaring fires, snowfall (sometimes, at least). Christmas season is unquestionably the most wonderful time of the year — and at Baylor, the most wonderful time of the year officially begins with Christmas on 5th Street.
Nutcrackers and candy canes line 5th Street through campus. Horse-drawn carriages covered in lights trot past activities like a faux ice rink, bounce houses, face painting, and local food trucks. Outside the Bill Daniel Student Center, a live nativity features Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, plus live camels and donkeys. And inside the SUB are games for kids, a Christmas market with dozens of local vendors, and of course, Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Check out this 60-second overview:
The high point of the night is always the KOT Christmas Tree Lighting, started in 1965 by a handful of Kappa Omega Tau students. More than 50 years later, the tree lighting is still put on each year by KOT, a Baylor-local, social-service fraternity. Each tree lighting features a special guest; in 2017, for instance, it was Dr. Alton Hassell, BS ’69, a longtime Baylor chemistry professor, current KOT faculty sponsor, and one of the original founders of the KOT Christmas Tree lighting.
“The first year we put up a Christmas tree, we had maybe 20 people if we counted our girlfriends,” he said from the stage, just before reading the Christmas story. “But to see how many people can enjoy a Christmas tree and the Christmas story that goes with it, I think is remarkable.”
For students, December also means finals are rapidly approaching, and Christmas on 5th serves as the perfect time to take a break from the craziness of school. Students, faculty/staff and Wacoans alike join in celebrating the magic of this season and rejoicing in the truth that it brings — that Jesus Christ has come to Earth for us!
Sic ’em, Bears!