The Return of Groton Holiday Traditions


Courtesy of Mei Matsui ’23

Last year, with the cancellation of in-person classes during the two weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break and stringent Covid-19 restrictions, Groton cancelled most of the holiday traditions that make winter term so fun. In fact, only this year’s Fifth and Sixth form were on campus for the last pre-Covid-19 winter, meaning most of the student body have never experienced all the exciting winter events.  For Groton’s new students, we have decided to highlight some of the fun traditions here.


Groton Pops

On the first weekend back from break, the Groton community enjoys a loud, exciting concert featuring the Orchestra, Jazz Band, Maqupellas, and other musical groups. Students and faculty alike show up to the forum in Christmas sweaters and with festive spirit, making the whole event cheerful. There is always a photo booth with holiday-themed props that help students capture this fun-filled night. In previous years, there have also been food-related activities such as cookie-decorating, and we hope that they will make a comeback soon.


Lessons and Carols

Wrapping up the two weeks is Lessons and Carols, a traditional Christian service to celebrate Christmas. With favorite carols and classical hymns, the orchestra and choir create a beautiful, moving performance. Check out this article in the Arts section for more details on the history of Groton Pops and Lessons and Carols!


Festive Traditions in the Dining Hall

For the Lessons and Carols festivities, the dining hall’s baker, Jared, “will bake and hand decorate about 2,500 fresh cookies for the public and Groton School community,” says Executive Chef Ed Wetterwald. The dining hall is also planning to have gingerbread houses and gingerbread men for students to decorate. Although the exact details are still up for change due to Covid-19 protocols, they hope to carry on this tradition by keeping the crowding to a minimum. After we return from break, the beloved winter bread will also be making a comeback. Every lunch, students can enjoy fresh, homemade bread to warm up a cold winter day.


Twelve Days of Christmas

On the last day of chapel, we traditionally sing “Twelve Days of Christmas” together. Each form (along with teachers!) have a different part which they are supposed to sing, and the unwritten rule is that they must “sing” as loud as possible. Inevitably, the “singing” turns into screaming, making the whole affair incredibly chaotic and fun. This year, instead of doing this in the chapel, we had it outside the schoolhouse during a conference period in the last week of classes. The prefects sent out lyrics beforehand and revived this great tradition in unlikely circumstances.