Yes, Virginia. There Is a Santa Claus at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s!

Beginning with the school's annual Thanksgiving Food Chain and concluding with the all-school Christmas Pageant, St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's celebration of the holidays reflects the school's dedication to childhood joy and its diverse school family. 

On Thursday, Dec. 7, eighth graders celebrated their final Christmas at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's by joining with nursery students to decorate gingerbread houses together. The festive gathering paired the school's oldest students with 3- and 4-year-olds. This partnership is one of the special benefits of choosing an early education program at an ongoing school, says Lower Division Director Emily Holt. "For students to see themselves as part of a bigger school universe is an important part of our program," she said. "Our eighth graders love acting as buddies and mentors—and also, returning to the traditions that they loved so much in their own early years at school."

The following day, the school’s St. Nicholas Celebration honored the fourth century Turkish bishop whose good works and generosity inspired the Santa Claus legend. Students gathered to hear Head of School Virginia Connor’s recitation of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” known to most as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and then enjoyed their own visit from Santa. Milk and cookies and carol singing completed the event.

In Chapel Thursday, the school celebrates Hanukkah. Then on Friday, the annual Kwanzaa celebration will take place.

"Our founder, Mother Ruth, established this school to foster diversity of all kinds, and our holiday celebrations reflect that desire to include and honor all," says Head of School Virginia Connor. 

Finally, on Friday, Dec. 21, the annual Christmas Pageant, written by famed author (and former faculty member) Madeleine L'Engle, will feature every student, from nursery through eighth grade. 


St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's is an independent, Episcopal school for boys and girls, with early childhood, elementary, and middle school programs. Founded in 1950, the school endeavors to create and educate an inclusive and diverse community, preparing students to make meaningful contributions to our global society. St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's is located in Morningside Heights, on New York City's Upper West Side. 

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