#tbt: A Notre Dame Christmas Story

Author: Maria Fahs

SANTA? Looking back at the blizzard of 1978 in the 1978 edition of Dome.

“As we now write, the fields are shrouded with snow, the twinkling of sleigh-bells may be heard upon the not far distant road, and the surface of the lakes is covered with ice. Everything indicates that this year we are to have a white Christmas; and, somehow or other, that joyous holiday seems to us to be all the gladder and merrier when it comes with the snow deep upon the ground.”

As Christmas approached on campus during December 1878, these words opened the “Christmas Day” article in the Dec. 21, 1878 Scholastic. Today, sleigh bells are usually reserved for occasions like Carroll Christmas, but frozen lakes and snow dustings are still familiar sites on campus. There was doubt then that the snow would last until Christmas, due to the mercurial Midwestern weather, but the students were wishing for a white Christmas.

During that era, students could stay on campus during the ten-day break, far shorter than our modern winter break. “Impromptu entertainments were gotten up in the study-halls” by those who spent Christmas on campus, although a majority of students returned home to celebrate with their families.

Wishes for happy Christmases and good cheer abounded. As Scholastic said in 1878, “To all those who leave for their homes we wish all the joys of the season. May they, as they are gathered around the hearthstone, pass the hours in good cheer and joy and peace. May they enjoy with their friends and relations, not this Christmas alone, but, in the far future, when they have taken their stand in the world, may they enjoy their Christmas Day with the friends they now go home to meet.”