Community Prepares for Holidays

Tree Trimming

On Sunday, December 8, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., many members of the Hotchkiss community gathered to trim the large Christmas tree set up in the Main Foyer just outside of the Tremaine Gallery.
Students took mini Polaroid photos and hung them on the tree, along with blue, silver, and green ball ornaments. Attendees ate sugar cookies while the jazz band played Christmas songs, getting everyone into the holiday groove.

Senior Caroling

On Tuesday Night, Hotchkiss Seniors dressed up in Christmas sweaters, Rudolph headbands, and other festive outfits. Students, pictured above, gathered in front of each dorm to sing Christmas carols. The event was organized by Mrs. Amanda McClure, dean of the class of 2020, and Mrs. Lisa Brown, director of events and special projects.

Holiday Dinners

Over the course of the past week, the Dining Hall has hosted the Feast of St. Nicholas, Hanukkah, and Winter Holiday dinners as part of its effort to expand its menus and feature foods from diverse cultures. “The Holiday season is a fun time of the year, and we try to be as inclusive as possible when celebrating holidays at Hotchkiss,” said Mr. Mike Webster, director of food services.
On Friday, December 6, the Dining Hall hosted a dinner celebrating the German holiday of St. Nicholas Day for the second year. Students were served a variety of traditional German foods such as bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes), bratwurst (sausages), and apfelstrudel (an apple dessert).
The Dining Hall also hosted the holiday dinner on December 10. The event, which used to require formal dress, now allows students to wear relaxed clothing. The menu featured prime rib, squash lasagna, roasted cauliflower, green beans, roast potatoes, and chocolate torte.
Lastly, on December 11, the Dining Hall hosted the third annual Hanukkah Dinner. Foods included traditional favorites such as brisket, challah bread, latkes, and applesauce.
Overall, the dinners offer community members a chance to celebrate with each other and enjoy different backgrounds and cultures. Mr. Webster said, “In dining [services], we believe that food should be fun and that holidays should be enjoyed by everyone.”

Menorah Lighting

Since Hanukkah does not begin until Sunday, December 22 this year, community members will not light the menorah together on campus. When the nights of Hanukkah take place during term, students, staff, and faculty members gather to light the menorah on the first night, play dreidel for gelt (chocolate coins wrapped in shiny foil), and eat traditional holiday foods, including challah bread and grape juice.

St. Luke’s and Dining Hall Gift Drive

For the past several years, community members have donated money and gifts to families in need in Salisbury and Canaan. This year, participants could check gift requests online or choose a tag hanging on the mantle in Dining Hall to see local children’s specific requests. The gifts, ranging from toys and crafts to clothing, were placed under the tree in Dining Hall or set outside the Head of School’s office and will be distributed to the families in time for Christmas. Billy Meneses ’22, a board member of St. Luke’s, said “I think its important [to donate], because we have so many resources. It’s great to give back to communities in need, especially the communities around us.”
Donation boxes for toys, gifts, and gently used winter clothing will remain outside the Head of School’s office until Saturday, December 14.