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Alumni celebrate Yule Log across the country

By Erin Zagursky December 9, 2015

The campus community will gather at the Wren Building on Saturday to celebrate one of William & Mary’s most beloved traditions: the annual Yule Log ceremony.

But the celebration has already begun for W&M graduates throughout the country with Yule Log events being hosted by alumni chapters from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco.

Approximately 24 alumni Yule Log events are planned for this season, with the earliest taking place Dec. 2 in Pittsburgh and the last one scheduled for Jan. 10 in Chicago. Nearly 1,000 alumni are expected to participate in the events.

“Now the tradition comes to you," said Kelly Holdcraft, senior director of alumni engagement. "You can make it your own!”

While each event is unique, they often incorporate elements of the campus Yule Log ceremony, such as a reading of the Yule Log tradition and the casting of holly, “symbolizing the woes of last year,” onto a fire. For that aspect of the events, the W&M Alumni Association actually sent holly collected on campus to each of the chapters to use – even if their event locations don’t include a fireplace. Those sprigs of holly will be collected and sent back to campus to be thrown onto the campus Yule Log fire.

Anna Mahalak '12, who helped plan the campus Yule Log ceremony while she was an undergraduate, this year planned a version of the event for the D.C. alumni chapter, to take place Dec. 10.

“Yule Log is one of our most treasured traditions and being able to celebrate it as alumni is an important aspect of reconnecting with the William & Mary family around the holidays,” said Mahalak. “Yule Log invokes many cheerful memories among our alumni, so it is important for us to bring a little Williamsburg to the D.C. area for our local alumni chapter.”

Some of the chapters that have already hosted alumni Yule Log events include: San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, St. Louis, Southwest Florida, and, in Virginia, Charlottesville, Lower Northern Neck, Roanoke and South Hampton Roads.

Upcoming events include:

  • Greater Charlotte, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m., the home of David '97 and Rebecca Klepser '99
  • D.C. Metro, Dec. 10, 7-9 p.m., The Army and Navy Club
  • Philadelphia, Dec. 10, 6-8 p.m., Loews Philadelphia Hotel
  • Richmond, Dec. 10, 6-8 p.m., The John Marshall
  • Maryland, Dec. 12, 3:30-5:30 p.m., The Maryland Inn
  • Williamsburg, Dec. 12, 4-5:30 p.m., Blow Hall, Room 201
  • Botetourt, Virginia. Dec. 13, 2:30-4:30 p.m., the home of Pete and Patty Johnson M. Ed. '93
  • Charleston, Dec. 13, 6-9 p.m., the home of Karen '72 and Lou Burnett '73
  • Boston, Dec. 14, 6-9 p.m., Vanderbilt Kitchen & Bar
  • New York City, Dec. 15, 6-9 p.m., Stone Street Tavern
  • Colorado, Dec. 16, 6-8 p.m., Second Home at the JW Marriot
  • Triangle, North Carolina, Dec. 17, 7-9 p.m., Cloer Family Vineyards
  • Chicago, Jan. 10, 3-6 p.m., The Grafton Pub & Grill

Some events require registration. Alumni interested in attending should click on the links above for more information.

The campus Yule Log ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 in the Wren Courtyard.