Published on November 14th, 2019 | by University Communications


Decorating, gift-sponsorship events add to joy of ‘A Saint Leo Christmas’

To make the Christmas season even more festive, the Division of Academic Affairs is sponsoring a tree-decorating contest at University Campus organized around the theme of the 12 Days of Christmas. The contest will collect entry fees to benefit charities while fostering a  sense of community.

Up to 12 groups can enter the contest to decorate one of a dozen trees that will line the walkway to the front entrance of Benedictine Hall, where the annual “A Saint Leo Christmas” concert will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 3 and 4. University musicians will perform in the Black Box Theatre on the first floor of Benedictine at 4 p.m. and at 7 p.m. on both days. (See directions on making seating reservations below.) The decorative handiwork of competing campus employees and students will be on full display for concertgoers to enjoy as they arrive at Benedictine Hall.

Groups that want to join the competition can be made up of student clubs, Greek organizations, employee or department members, or any other informal group of individuals who want to decorate. But to be eligible to enter, each group has to collect at least $50 to make a donation to a charity of its own choosing, and follow specific entry and donation directions.

To start, a representative of the group must email Dr. Chantelle MacPhee at with a request to enter, and the email should include a full list of all the group members. Trees will be assigned first come, first serve. Proof of the $50 donation through a receipt or confirmation must also be supplied to MacPhee within 24 hours of the request to enter the contest. Otherwise, the entry spot will go to the next group on the list.

Qualifying groups will be supplied with 5-foot artificial trees that come with battery-powered lights for safety. The trees will be delivered to the contest site and secured with sandbags. The competing groups will need to specify to MacPhee when they intend to decorate on either Thursday, November 21, or Friday, November 22.

Groups should use decorations that will survive outdoor weather, but there are no restrictions on the types of ornaments, ribbons, banners, or other materials that contestants wish to use. Judging will be conducted by Academic Affairs and the winning group will be awarded a plush lion and certificate. The winning tree will be announced at the conclusion of the 7 p.m. concert on December 4.

For more information, contact Dr. Chantelle MacPhee, chair of the Department of Language Studies and the Arts, at The department, along with the College of Arts and Sciences, is the sponsor of “A Saint Leo Christmas.”

In addition, the Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Theology is organizing the display of an “Angel Tree” on the first floor of Benedictine Hall to benefit clients of Catholic Charities locally. Gift givers select from the tree a numbered paper angel-ornament  that lists the wants and needs of unnamed clients. Donors can use the list as a guide for gift giving and return the presents to Benedictine Hall. Those wishing to pursue that charitable route may contact Dr. Randall Woodard at for full details.

Also, please remember that everyone who wants to attend a performance of the “A Saint Leo Christmas” concert should reserve seating. Contact Megan Case and leave a message at (352) 588-8401 or email your needs to the with the words “Christmas concert” in the subject line.

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