The clock strikes 5 p.m., Students excitedly filter into the CCM and the trappings of Christmas are flung from storage bins and unworthy cardboard boxes with cheerful abandonment.
During the evening of Monday Nov. 26, the Center for Campus Ministry hosted Hanging of the Greens, an occasion when many students and staff work together in beautifying the chapel building with Christmas decorations. Chapel goers will notice streams of garland, bright red bows, ornaments hanging from an evergreen, and even a classic nativity scene.
A tradition at Maryville College, Hanging of the Greens is open to all who wish to attend with roughly forty people participating in the event last Monday. Yet, this custom was not conceived by the bright minds of MC, rather the Hanging of the Greens is traditionally a time of preparation for many Christian churches, a ritualistic readying of the church for the birth of Christ, during the season of Advent.
The event also serves as a marker of the Christmas season at Maryville College. In addition to decorations, the CCM staff provide complimentary cookies and hot cider which are afterward available within the building throughout all of December.
“One of the things I love about the CCM is that it is a place of relaxation and rest,” said Campus Minister Rev. Dr. Anne Mckee. It is a space of quietness. Programs happen here but classes do not. It is a place where we like for people to feel that they are welcomed and at peace when they come in.”
The Hanging of the Greens has served to increase the already large amount comfort relaxation that can be found in the building by giving students a taste of home.
“When [students] are feeling frenzied at the end of the term having the CCM feel festive reminds them that they are going to get through the difficult times, and they are going to go home and maybe there are decorations at home too,” said Rev. Dr. Mckee. They know they can get through it. It is a little foretaste of the things to come.”
Maryville College sophomore Ali Lawson notes something similar saying “personally, the Hanging of the Greens is a reminder that even though it is a really busy time, it is also really close to the end of the semester and close to the end of this chapter of the year.”
For a breather from the chaos of finals, presentations, and papers, the CCM will remain decorated and provide hot cider until the end of the fall semester.