Photos: Christmas at Creighton through the years

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By Micah Mertes

Creighton has a rich history of Christmas traditions — carols, decorations and a holiday-hued embrace of the giving spirit and religious values that make up our Jesuit, Catholic identity. 

(You can read all about Creighton's holiday history here.)

But of course there's no better way to show how things have progressed than a big ol' chronological collection of photos.

Merry Christmas, Creighton!

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Christmas traditions at Creighton really got going in the 1920s, even if some of those traditions lagged a bit mid-century. 

Still, the holiday spirit has remained alive and well over a very long span of time.

With carolers in the 1950s ...

Creighton students sing Christmas carols in the 1950s.


Decorations throughout campus in the '60s and '70s ...

Creighton students put up a Christmas tree. Creighton students put up a Christmas tree.


Campus encounters with a certain bearded gentleman throughout the '90s and up to today ...

A Creighton student poses with Santa. Creighton students pose with Santa.


And of course the evergreen traditions of making time for friends and studying, studying, studying.

Creighton students pose in front of a Christmas tree. A student studies in Skutt during a Christmas party.


Some traditions date back to our very beginning. Christmas Mass at St. John's, for instance, continues to bring the community together year after year. 

St. John's interior. The choir sings during St. John's Christmas Mass.


A new tradition began in 1978, with the lighting of the Christmas tree, which originally stood atop the St. John's Fountain. 

The Christmas tree goes up in front of St. John's. The Christmas tree goes up in front of St. John's. The Christmas tree in front of St. John's. The Christmas tree in front of St. John's. The Christmas tree in front of St. John's. The Christmas tree in front of St. John's. The Christmas tree in front of St. John's.


The tree eventually moved from the Fountain to make way for the "Eternal Flame" sculpture. 

Creighton decorated in Christmas lights.


Though the sculpture occasionally undergoes temporary modifications each year, weather permitting.

Someone built a snowman on the Eternal Flame sculpture/St. John's Fountain.


The campus Christmas tree first moved to the front of Creighton Hall, then outside the Kiewit Fitness Center. Over the years, lights and other decorations have continued to shift and expand across campus and 24th Street. 

Creighton decorated like Christmas. Creighton decorated like Christmas. Flurries in front of a light-covered campus.


Nativity scenes were added in the '00s.

A Creighton Nativity scene. A Creighton Nativity scene.


Year after year, students, faculty, alumni, friends and University presidents have celebrated the lighting of campus. 

Students watch the Christmas tree lighting. Students watch the Christmas tree lighting. Students watch the Christmas tree lighting. Students watch the Celebration of Light. Fr. Schlegel at the Creighton Christmas celebration.


Just recently, Creighton hosted the Celebration of Light ceremony and the traditional lighting of campus for the holidays, which honors the many faith traditions represented at Creighton.

(See more photos and videos of this year's ceremony here.)

Fr. Hendrickson at the Celebration of Light. Fr. Hendrickson listens to a student speak at the Celebration of Light.


Each holiday season, campus looks bright, festive and gorgeous. 

Campus at Christmas-time. St. John's lit up in blue for Christmas. St. John's during Christmas-time. St. John's and the Mall lit up during Christmas-time.


It's especially beautiful when it snows. 

A snowy Christmas scene in front of Creighton Hall. A snowy Christmas scene in front of St. John's. A snowy Christmas scene in front of St. John's.

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Stories like this wouldn’t be possible without the help of the University Archives, the keeper of Creighton’s history. Please consider making a gift to the Archives and helping us preserve Creighton’s amazing story for generations to come. 

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