In the classic story A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, his character Ebenezer Scrooge famously says, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

While enjoying “Winter Wonderland” activities recently at University Campus, some Saint Leo University students shared what they think the spirit of Christmas is and what it means to them.

Haley Gardner and mom, Chris


Haley Gardner, a sophomore accounting major, quickly pointed to her mom Chris Gardner, who was visiting her on campus. “Right there is the spirit of Christmas,” Haley said. “Family. We’re going to spend Christmas together and do some kayaking and some trips.

And they’ll share something special during the holiday break, her mother said. “The gifts of experiences,” as they explore and kayak, Chris Gardner added. 

Candis Brown


The Christmas spirit is about family for junior Candis Brown, too, who will head home to the Bahamas. “It means a time to bond with family.”




Yvenie Desrosiers


“I think the spirit of Christmas is being surrounded by love and happiness, and just people you really love and have a good time with,” said Yvenie Derosiers, who is a junior majoring in social work. She will celebrate with her boyfriend and his family in Philadelphia.



Caramia Davis


Senior social work major Caramia Davis said that the Christmas spirit for her is “about making everyone feel special.

“It’s giving back,” she continued. “Sometimes it’s hard to feel special, and I try to make the effort to make others feel special — at this time of year, especially. Christmas is really about giving back.”


Bao Han


For sophomore Bao Han, the Christmas spirit is embodied by time to gather with friends and family. “You get to be closer and do stuff together,” he said. “It’s children hugging you and making memories.”



Gabriela Rodriguez


This will be the second year that the senior has celebrated Christmas in the United States, away from her family in Peru. While she won’t physically be with family, she will be doing lots of video chats while celebrating with friends. “It’s funny for me, relating Christmas to winter, as in Peru we have summer now,” Rodriguez said. “In Peru, we go to the beach.”


Santa Claus (AKA K.J. Ryan)


It really is the most wonderful time of the year for Santa Claus! Santa, AKA, senior communications major K.J. Ryan, said, “I think that the Christmas spirit reminds me of magic. It brings out the happiness of people. It’s a time for making memories and magic with family and friends.”


Mrs. Claus (AKA Ashley Tucker)


“The spirit of Christmas is joy, love, and giving back,” said Ashley Tucker, a senior criminal justice major, who was Mrs. Claus at the university’s Winter Wonderland event. “It is a time of inspiring others to give back and spread the love.”



Earnest Alexander


“Joy” also came to mind to senior hospitality management student Earnest Alexander. “I think the spirit of Christmas is joy, happiness, being together with family and friends,” he said. “It’s going on family trips, and just having really strong, quality family time, sitting around the fireplace.”


Isa Riano


“For me, the most important part of Christmas — the way I grew up — is the spirituality,” said junior Isa Riano. “It is a time to be grateful for God for what He has done for us. And it is a time for getting together with family.”



Noah Henry


Senior Noah Henry said the spirit of Christmas is being able to spend special time with family and friends. “And it’s all about the Savior’s birth. It’s time to spend time with the family and really be present.”



We hope that everyone keeps Christmas in their hearts throughout the year! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!