Another year has come and gone, and colleges and universities are once again sending holiday greetings to students, alumni and other members of their community.
From comedic sketches to parody songs to heartfelt ruminations on the past year, each video offers a glimpse into its institution’s campus and community. Here are a few of Inside Higher Ed‘s favorites in no particular order.
James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia
In JMU’s loose parody of A Visit from St. Nicholas — better known as The Night Before Christmas — an enchanted storybook tells viewers the story of JMU’s finals week, from students chugging coffee in the library to a sleek wheeled robot delivering food.
Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut
In this video, a group of talented students, bored amid a bout of bad weather, puts a hyper-local spin on “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, singing out things they love about the university and the larger New Haven area. Wooster St. Pizza, anyone?
San Jacinto College in Harris County, Texas
This community college, which has five locations in the greater Houston area, doles out holiday cookies iced in blue and yellow, the institution’s colors, to thank students, employees and parents for being an important part of the San Jac community.
East Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
While President Kenneth Long’s wife and daughters wait for him to come home and help them write Christmas cards, he is off playing ping-pong and Xbox with his East Stroudsburg University students in this hilarious sketch. Although Long’s background is in business and finance, he would make a convincing theater professor, based on the perfect expression he makes when his daughters finally discover him playing hoops with the university’s mascot.
Metropolitan State University of Denver in Denver, Colorado
Simple and effortlessly cozy, this video features the institution’s president reading a short poem over a stop-motion animation of a gingerbread house being decorated. One notable couplet rhymes “Denver” with “remember.”
Elon University in Elon, North Carolina
In this sketch, the university’s mascot, the Phoenix, helps two students use a laser cutter to create a unique, Elon-themed lantern as a gift for President Connie Ledoux Book. In addition to serving as a cheerful holiday greeting, it demonstrates the exciting technology and resources available to Elon’s students.
Citrus College in Glendora, California
Citrus College’s slideshow of this year’s achievements — which among other things include the growth of the Black Scholars Program and the first in-person commencement since 2019 — is elevated by the inclusion of a festive animation of skaters, decked out in the college’s signature blue and orange, and by the background music, a brassy rendition of Vince Guaraldi’s “Skating” played by faculty and students.
Stockton University in Galloway Township, New Jersey
Employees and students come together to make a mural of their greatest wishes for 2023 in this wholesome holiday greeting. Those wishes range from “personal growth” to “equal rights” to a national championship for the Stockton University Ospreys.
Purdue University Fort Wayne in Fort Wayne, Indiana
This video features footage of assorted holiday celebrations across campus, including a cookie decorating event, a holiday orchestra and choir performance and a festive dance routine performed by the Dancin’ Dons, the institution’s co-ed dance team (named for the university’s mascot, the Mastodon).
Auburn University at Montgomery in Montgomery, Alabama
In this sketch, AUM Chancellor Carl A. Stockton takes a page out of Kevin McCallister’s book when he finds he is the last person on AUM’s campus at the start of winter break. Like the Home Alone protagonist, he decides to take advantage of the empty university, making pancakes in the dining hall and reciting Shakespeare on stage. Of course, just as Kevin misses his family, so too does Stockton eventually begin to miss his colleagues and students, who show up to keep him company in the end.
Reinhardt University in Waleska, Georgia
President Mark Roberts serenades the Reinhardt campus community in this holiday greeting, which features the president playing guitar and singing “Auld Lang Syne.” The melody, traditionally used to ring out the old year on New Year’s Eve, is paired with a fitting collection of both historic and contemporary images of the Reinhardt campus.
University of Lynchburg in Lynchburg, Virginia
I know I said these were in no particular order, but I had to save my favorite for last: the University of Lynchburg’s 12-minute Hallmark-inspired romantic comedy short film. Titled “A Dell-lightfully Royal Holiday,” after the Dell, a central area on Lynchburg’s campus, the story follows two unlikely friends who meet under less-than-ideal circumstances but grow closer when they have to stay overnight in the library amidst a snowstorm. Featuring European accents, a dance sequence and a brief cameo from President Alison Morrison-Shetlar, this video is sure to go down as a holiday classic.
From all of us at Inside Higher Ed, wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season!