11/24/20 2020 Christmas display

A winter light display, designed by Purdue alum and local business owner Jim Heath, illuminates Purdue’s Academy Park in celebration of the holidays through Dec. 5. 

Because of pandemic- and construction-related issues, Purdue's Christmas tree and other traditional holiday celebrations will look different this year.

The Purdue Student Union Board and Purdue Memorial Union have planned a lineup of virtual events and a light installation, according to a news release.

A winter light display in Academy Park in the center of campus is the centerpiece of this year’s holiday celebration. The lights are on daily from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. until Dec. 5.

The display was designed and staged by Jim Heath, Purdue alumnus and owner of local business Window Genie of Lafayette.

When Heath heard that campus construction and guidelines protecting indoor spaces would prevent the PMU from hosting its traditional Christmas tree, he was excited to create a space for people to visit, spend time and enjoy the season, according to the release.

The PMU Christmas tree, regarded as one of the largest indoor trees in the state, is a tradition dating to the 1930s. Chelsea Harris, assistant director of programs for the PMU, said in the release that all potential donors of this year’s tree have agreed to wait for next year. Events that are free and accessible online include:

* Virtual visits with Santa will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 12 and 19. Visits will be five minutes per family and will include a personal photo from the North Pole. A registration link will become available on the PSUB Facebook page and website at noon on Monday. Spaces are limited.

* Live readings of holiday stories will be aired at 7 p.m. from Dec. 7-11 and Dec 14-18. Join special guests, including Mrs. Claus, as they read their favorite holiday stories on the PSUB Facebook page each night.

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