Transylvania Crimson Christmas to bring spirit of season to local schoolchildren

Transylvania University is readying the elves and preparing for Santa Claus’ visit on Saturday.

That’s when the school will bring the spirit of the season to 25 local elementary schoolchildren and their families for the 28th annual Crimson Christmas at the Living Arts and Science Center. The holiday carnival is a partnership between Transylvania and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass.

Crimson Christmas is one of the biggest ways Transylvania gives back to the community each year. 

Tevin Monroe, assistant director of campus and community engagement, stressed the importance of this collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters. “We’ve partnered with them since the beginning. We work together to provide a holiday experience to kids who may not normally get that,” he said.

Madelyn Frost, interim director of residence life, explained how the event works. “Each child has a list of wants and needs submitted by their parent or guardian to Big Brothers Big Sisters, who gives that wish list to us.” Then the university finds a sponsor, or elf, who shops for the kids from the wish list.

Frost said the children also are assigned a buddy for the day who is a Transy student. The buddies help kids find their presents from Santa (wrapped by Residence Life). The Office of Campus and Community Engagement finds student organizations to participate, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus are volunteers from the Transy community.

Around 100 of the school’s employees and students are involved with Crimson Christmas. “Although the event lasts for about an hour and a half, the planning usually takes about 100 hours,” Frost said. In addition to Residence Life and Campus and Community Engagement, the offices of Spirituality and Religious Life and Student Wellbeing help make the event possible.

Monroe pointed out that even though it’s called Crimson Christmas, it’s not a Christmas-exclusive event — there has been an expansion to include other holidays celebrated this time of year.    

If you are a member of the campus community and would like to volunteer, please contact Monroe.


Annebelle Klein is a Transylvania senior double majoring in writing, rhetoric, and communication and French.