Jingle All the Way!
On Saturday morning, a motley crew of our students, faculty, administration, and their friends and family, went to two local assisted living facilities to sing Christmas carols and bring some holiday cheer to the residents there. The student core of the group assembled outside of Christie Hall at 9:15, hunched up with their hands in their pockets to evade Jack frost, who was out in full nose-nipping force ahead of the languidly rising sun, dressed in their bright holiday colors. Once assembled, we donned reindeer antlers, snowmen and gift-festooned headbands, and colorful, blinking light-up necklaces in preparation for the fun ahead. Then, we previewed expectations for the excursion and enjoyed the station-tuning skills of Avery D., who fueled our festive mood with contemporary hits on the radio as we headed out.
Arriving to sing at Manor Court first, we met up with others of our caroling crew, masked up as was required by the facility for the safety of their residents and staff and ours, and were led to a foyer where about 30 residents and staff eventually gathered to sing with and listen to us as we checked off beloved Christmas classics: Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Deck the Halls, and a couple of lesser-known songs, including Christmas Chopsticks. Before leaving for our next and final caroling destination (Integrity Health of Carbondale), our students walked around a display of handmade Christmas ornaments for the audience members to have as a memento of our time with them.
We repeated our melodious merry-making with a more scant gathering of residents and staff at our final spot; but, unfazed, we jingled through the same collection of holiday favorites, passed out more ornaments, and ended the morning with some sweet confections to help refuel our energy stores before dispersing for our separate subsequent To-Dos. Driving back to campus with our students afterward, it tickled my heart to glimpse their faces, flushed and radiant in the rearview mirror, no doubt reflections of the warmth brimming their hearts from the gifts of time, music, and cheer shared with others as much in need of them as we were.