Rudolph, Rabbi Al and a partridge in a pear tree

by Beacon Staff • December 12, 2007

It is a little known fact that the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" actually refers to the 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany in the Christian faith, a tradition that is upheld in many cultures. While not commonly observed here, the song is nevertheless heard ad nauseum Last week The Beacon brought you some Hanukkah festivities, and this week we bring you the 12 ways that Christmas can be fun at college, too.

Twelve degrees with the wind chill...

...may make walking to class a bit rough, but use it as a perfect excuse to bundle up in festive apparel that not only keeps you warm, but also advertises your Christmas spirit. Wear a Santa hat, or coordinate your outerwear to be red and green. For the daring out there, maybe even wear a Rudolph nose.

eleven grams of sugar... a Spangler candy cane would probably make the health-conscious cringe, but at Christmastime those worries can be forgotten when you pass around a box of them with your friends. It is a great way to let them know you're thinking about them, without having to reach too far into that ever-shrinking, college-student wallet.

ten versions of jingle bells... an hour could get a little obnoxious after a while, but that's no reason to turn the radio off. There are a number of local radio stations in Boston that play a variety of great Christmas music all the time. Tune in to stations like 105.7, and play those carols proudly to get everyone into the holiday mood.

nine ladies dancing...

...does that ring a bell? Well, it may not be exactly nine ladies, but the Boston ballet's annual performance of The Nutcracker is a beautiful reminder of the magic of Christmas. The ballet is currently being performed at the Opera House at 539 Washington St. and will remain there until Dec. 29. Tickets begin at $30, and can be purchased at or by calling (617) 931-2787.

eight unforgettable characters...

...come together to bring you a show that will give you that warm, fuzzy feeling so often lacking in dorm life. At the Wang Theater at 270 Tremont St., it is only a $20 expense to see a live performance of a beloved Christmas classic. Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" is now playing and will be open through Dec. 23. See pg. 11 for a review.

seven dollars is a pretty small price to pay... spread Christmas cheer to those in need. Jumpstart, a national organization and one of the most active community service groups on campus, is collecting toys, school supplies and winter apparel to turn into "Baskets of Love" for pre-school children in Dorchester. If you want to make a contribution, bring your unwrapped gifts to the Human Resources Office in suite 401 of the Walker Building by Friday, Dec 14.

six suitemates can come together... celebrate the season and help to turn a dreary dormroom into a holiday home. Decorate your suite or living area with anything from Christmas lights to snowmen. Pick up some cute, inexpensive decorations at CVS or, better yet, make your own. Be creative, but if you are running low on ideas, visit to find an endless supply of suggestions from Q-tip snowflakes to coat hanger Christmas trees.

a five dollar limit...

...for secret Santa with your friends is a fun way to build the camaraderie and show them you care, without worrying about spending money you don't have. With that money, you could even buy craft supplies and make your gift. If you aren't feeling crafty, get them a new ballpoint pen, a new pair of cute socks or a coffee mug just for finals week. The possibilities are endless, even if your pocket isn't.

four hundred forty-eight square feet of train track... South Station. It sounds like common sense, but this isn't any old train track. This track carries the model "Holiday Express" train, which will be displayed on the Grand Concourse through Jan. 1. It is free, so take a peek. Many of you could even make the stop on the way home, as your last glimpse of Boston until next semester.

three professional bell-ringing groups...

...the Back Bay Ringers, the Merrimack Valley Ringers and the New England Ringers join forces to present the "Bells of Boston" series of holiday music at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Performances begin at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. every Saturday until Dec. 29. It is outside and it, too, is free.

two hours on a sunday morning... all the time you need to attend one of the many churches Boston has to offer as they celebrate the Christmas season. Visit to see a list compiled by the Center for Spiritual Life of all of the places nearby for each faith. But if attending church itself doesn't sound appealing, read on.

and the one and only rabbi al...

...invites everyone to visit the living room of the Center for Spiritual Life, to celebrate not only Christmas, but every holiday. "We represent a highly pluralistic approach to the festival season," he said via e-mail. "Meditation, reflection, contemplation, study and prayer time is available throughout the holidays, and holiday decorations and light refreshments will greet all visitors." Though the Center's student organizations have already had their celebrations, it is not too late to take part in the warm and welcoming atmospehere.

Whether it's sleigh bell songs or dorm room decorating, there is always something at Emerson or around town in Boston to fulfill your every Christmas need. So don't wish away the time until you are finally home for the holidays, use it instead to deck the halls and have yourself a merry little Christmas.