Christmas Carols and Celebration

A look at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Bishop’s


The Christmas Tree Lighting is an annual Bishop’s tradition, full of carols, food, and holiday spirit.

As the sun began to set, festive lights on the terrace and quad turned on in hues of blue, red and warm incandescent lights. A buzz of conversation took over the crowds as the food tents began to serve various treats. The 2021 Christmas Tree Lighting this year was filled with singing, good food and fun events.

Multiple tents lined the edges of the terrace with festive signs: “Hot Cocoa,” “Pizza,” “Sweet Treats,” “Soup,” and “Kettle Corn.” Much of the delicious food was served by parent volunteers who were working hard all night to provide lighting-goers with enough food for the night. Many parents didn’t even have the chance to try the food due to the long lines of people that kept them busy. 

Despite the busy environment, however, many of these parents enjoyed the lighting. “It’s my first time and I think it’s lovely, it’s just wonderful. I just love when the community comes together, enjoys each other, has food with each other and the whole campus is decorated,” said Mrs. Kate Hong, who was in the soup tent. Mr. Kurt Marek, who was in the sweet treats tent, also shared a similar sentiment when he said, “I think it’s a great way to bring the community together after the year and a half we’ve all had and let people have a good time and see each other.” Reverend Nicole Simopoulos also reflected these views.“It feels like one of those times of year when we come together for pure joy and celebration,” she said.

Reverend Simopoulos also commented on the chapel portion of the Christmas Tree Lighting. “I love the beauty and simplicity of being in the chapel, before we come out and have all the fun. I love that it’s a merging of the sacred and the secular all in one night so that everybody can participate.” Mrs. Alison Lee, who was in the pizza tent, also commented on the religious aspect of the lighting.“I think being an episcopal school, it brings the spirit of Christmas onto campus and for sure the chapel service with the readings and the Bishop’s Singers. I think it’s in line with the beliefs of the school.” Reverend Simopoulos also stated, “It brings our community together. That to me, is the whole point of chapel, it’s the coming together of the community. And enjoying everyone and celebrating, that’s the meaning of that evening.” 

For those who think of Christmas in a non-religious way, Christmas not only represents the community coming together, but family too. Mr. Kyle Baker, who was in the hugely popular Kettle Corn tent, states, “I’m not Christian or Catholic so Christmas isn’t really a religious thing. Every time I see Christmas lights it reminds me more of a family gathering.” 

Head of School Ron Kim spoke to a crowd of listeners after the middle school choir finished a performance.

In fact, one of the reasons for creating the Christmas Tree Lighting was to incorporate a more familial aspect into the celebration. According to Director of Marketing

 and Communications Mrs. Keri Peckham, before the Christmas Tree Lighting was introduced, there was a celebration called Christmas Tea. In 2013, however, the Parents’ Association introduced the tree lighting to make the Christmas celebration “a family-friendly event” so “the entire school community could participate and celebrate the holiday season together,” as said by Mrs. Peckham.

Another important aspect of the lighting was the choir singing. Bel Canto, Bishop’s Singers, and Middle School Singers performed various songs such as “Silent Night,”

“Let it Snow,” and “Sleigh Ride.” Totaling 16 songs, many of these were chosen out of the hymnal. Hanna Liang (‘25

), one of the members of Bel Canto, stated, “I like listening to the people performing and singing there.” Reverend Simopoulos also said, “I think it’s really a beautiful service of Christmas hymns and carols interspersed with stories of the Nativity and the birth of Jesus.”