Traditions of Gratitude and Joy
As the leaves change and the weather cools, the fall and winter seasons bring some of the most beloved traditions to the Baylor Family. Some celebrations are familiar, while newer traditions have quickly become campus community favorites.
Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., opens the doors of the presidential on-campus residence, Allbritton House, to students and guests each year on Halloween, handing out candy bars from Waco’s own Mars Wrigley facility alongside First Gentleman Brad Livingstone, their daughter Shelby and First Pup BU. Thousands of trick-or-treaters — both from the Baylor campus and beyond — visit the First Family and help kick off a busy holiday season.
Another of the favorite traditions among Baylor students is the All-University Thanksgiving Dinner, hosted each year by Student Government and Student Foundation. Thousands of students, faculty and staff gather on Fountain Mall to enjoy a Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings and fixings. The 2021 dinner added a post-meal praise and worship service led by Vertical Ministries, which added a new dimension to the tradition according to Associate Director of Student Governance and Character Formation Tanner Vickers, B.B.A. ’10, M.S.E. ’12.
“This year’s Thanksgiving celebration was really special with the added worship that led us all to a full spirit of gratitude for everything that the Lord has done,” Vickers said.
As a Christian university, Baylor proudly and publicly celebrates the birth of Christ through the campuswide celebration of Christmas. Christmas on 5th Street opens the heart of campus to the Baylor Family and the Waco community, welcoming all of the lights, festivities and joy of the season. This free festival includes live musical performances, family photo stations and activities, live nativity displays, local vendors and food trucks, petting zoos, crafts, ice skating, carriage rides, and the annual KOT Christmas Tree Lighting and concert. Thousands of attendees flock to campus to ring in the Christmas season. The events offer respite for many students as the last opportunities for fellowship before finals.
“While many of these beloved traditions have grown or expanded alongside the growth of Baylor, returning Baylor Alumni will find the same core themes of family, fellowship and community that led to the creation and adoption of these great holiday gatherings,” Vickers said.