By Natalie DeFord, A&E Writer

Stores are going mad trying to draw in customers, and people everywhere are stressing about finding just the right gift for just the right price. Santa’s face is never far away and this madness is everywhere, even on campus with fliers and e-mails from the bookstore and chatter about shopping lists.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you can see a variety of holiday and winter decor displayed all over campus and in the residence halls. Little touches here and there can make the home-away-from home feel cheery and seasonal.

Not everyone can afford to buy decorations, but just about anyone can craft for a more thrifty option. Items can be reused and paper can be recycled into beautiful new displays. Try Pinterest for ideas or ask some of your fellow Lutes.

Last year, my roommate and I decorated the outside of our room by placing a large bow over our door, covering our bulletin board with wrapping paper and hanging snowflakes from our doorway with some yarn.

Paper snowflakes are always a hit in the winter time, and there are several doors covered with them in the residence halls now.  Try coffee filters, for that perfect round shape, but copy paper or newspaper works just as well. After folding in half repeatedly, the paper should become a small triangle. Cut various shapes out with scissors and then unfold to see the resulting pattern of the snowflake. These are great to hang anywhere and celebrate winter.

Another trend is door wrapping. Students completely cover their door in wrapping paper to make it look like a giant gift. Stockings are also popular, as well as signs that say “let it snow” or anything that has Santa Claus on it.

Junior Hillary Frett made her own wreath out of clothespins and wire, all purchased at Michaels craft store. She said all of the supplies — a wire wreath, two 18-piece bags of clothespins and craft tape in different designs — cost about $15.

“I put all the clothes pins around the wreath and spaced them out evenly,” Frett said. She then put the craft tape over the clothes pins and found some extra ribbon to make a bow for the top.

The creative possibilities are endless. Frett also said she made a Christmas tree out of ribbon and a Styrofoam cone.

Since real Christmas trees are not allowed, there are other options for your residence hall decor. Old Main Market is selling mini-Christmas trees, which measure about 2 feet in height, for $3.99. Lights, ornaments and garlands are also available for sale. Place gifts under this tiny tree for your roommate or anyone else to spread the holiday cheer in your world.

Alice Henderson, a sophomore and French Resident Assistant in Hong Hall, said she has learned from international students on campus how to make several easy holiday crafts, her favorite being traditional Scandinavian stars made of paper or ribbons. Detailed instructions can be found at

“It is fun and you can make them all different sizes depending on the width of the ribbon you use,” Henderson said. The stars are made by weaving strips of paper, all the same size, but the craft is also easily done with ribbon. The thickness of the ribbon or paper affects the overall size of the star.

Henderson said the process is just tricky because the paper or ribbon strips all need to be the same length. The strips also need to be pulled through each other during the weaving, so she recommended trying different thicknesses. She said paper from the library’s copy recycling, magazine paper or even The Mooring Mast would all make great stars.

Henderson said she plans to make a whole string of her stars to put up in her window, should she have the time. “I think it’s nice to kind of decorate a little bit and think about home,” Henderson said, “but it’s hard to fit in all the holiday tradition until you get, like, a break when you’re at home.”

The decorations are something that Henderson looks forward to when she gets home, but she said they are still nice to see on campus.

With the holiday season here and Lutes longing for winter break, the cheer is clear in students’ decorations.

Share your thoughts