Deck the residence halls

As the holiday season comes dashing in, the homesick blues fill people’s heads.

Being from Portland, Oregon, having a sunny holiday season in Southern California does little to excite me for the holidays. I look forward to rummaging through my closet for Christmas sweaters and cable knit cardigans – something that isn’t weather appropriate in good old Thousand Oaks.

The holiday blues set in when I see family and friends celebrating at home while palm trees and bland dorm furniture surround me. I know it is just a few short weeks until I can join the festivities, but I need a change of scenery to get into the Christmas mood.

I have turned to my best friends, Jo-Ann’s and Michael’s, and invested in some serious crafting to lift my winter spirits. With decorations ranging from paper chains and mistletoe, to wrapping furniture with gift wrap and my aunt’s famous fudge, a California Christmas doesn’t look so bad.

Madison Taylor, a senior and former resident assistant at California Lutheran University said it is important to decorate the halls for residents during the holidays. 

“I think people like little snowmen or snowflakes [on their doors] with their names on it, maybe also saying their favorite Christmas movie,” Taylor said.

Taylor said people are able to get to know who is on their floor, which definitely adds to the community of the halls and recognizes each individual, hopefully making them feel valued.

For those who would rather have a bit of instruction and creative juice provided, I have just the cure.

Seniors Monica Louis and Ashley Lomelin founded a club on campus called Callu Crafts Club. 

“We thought CLU needed a fun, crafty, club where students can take their minds off of school and get crafty,” Louis said. 

Their crafts include but are not limited to painting, creating dorm decorations and fun holiday crafts.

“Every holiday we have a special craft planned, ranging from Valentine’s Day to Christmas. For this holiday season we made elf headbands. These were a great easy craft to get into the holiday spirit,” Louis said.

Bringing the holidays to the residence halls is possible even with limited resources. Louis and Lomelin recommend making paper snowflakes to hang in your rooms, decorating wreaths with ribbons and making holiday cards for your friends.

Craft club is the perfect remedy for my holiday doldrums, accompanied with a few simple Christmas treats to put a smile on my face and bring happiness to my tummy.

Pinterest has been a fantastic place to find quick holiday snacks and some of my favorite recipes include, of course, chocolate.

For a quick “mug treat,” combine two tablespoons of brownie mix with 1 tablespoon of applesauce, and microwave for three minutes. Viola! Brownie-in-a-mug. I usually double this recipe because brownies fill my heart with joy.

Chocolate pretzels satisfy my salty and sweet cravings, so grab a bag of chocolate chips, pretzels and a bag of powdered sugar. Melt your chocolate in a pot on the stove, mix in the pretzels and refrigerate until hard. Place the chocolate covered pretzels in a sealable container with about a cup of powdered sugar and begin shaking. Warning: chocolate and sugar get messy so avoid all black or white clothing.

This year I will be adding some garland to my living room décor, and all I need is a handful of pinecones, some gold craft paint and a roll of burlap ribbon. Some other infamous garland materials include cranberries strung with a needle and thread, popcorn and even holiday colored pompoms. 

Surprisingly Home Depot has a few holiday projects on their website, though I tend to prefer Pinterest via my app or admiring the effortless bohemian décor hanging in the Urban Outfitters windows.

Bells will be ringing and finals are closing in, so don’t let the holiday blues get the best of you. Grab a mug and some brownie mix, then jam to my Bieber Spotify playlist and let thoughts of sugarplums dance in your head.

Laurel Skinner
Staff Writer
Published December 9th, 2015