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Experiences

A Guide to Bringing Holiday Spirit to Campus

With the shadow of finals week replacing the glow of lights on fir trees, campus life takes away some of the warmth we may be used to during the holidays.

Though we don’t have access to Christmas trees or Menorahs, there are little ways to replicate the holiday spirit, even in dorms.

Décor

The door

Not only does your door greet all your guests, but it also greets you after every challenging class and exam; use it as an opportunity to brighten your day. You can hang anything, from a wreath to a sign to a Q&A on your whiteboard asking something like “What are you looking forward to going home to?” or “What’s your favorite Christmas song?" Another option is an LED sign with the wire taped on the door frame above your door.

We’re all in it together when it comes to missing out on homey holiday traditions; the best way to work some spirit into campus life is to share it with those around you.

The Lighting

You may choose to replace your lamp or LED lighting for the season, though it may be difficult to first hang them up. With average dorms only needing 40 feet for a single or 80 for a double, there are many options online for under $20.

Scents

Though nothing will replace a holiday-scented WoodWick candle, some things can come close. For example, holiday-scented essential oils for your essential oil diffuser. If you don’t already have an essential oil diffuser, consider getting one as an early holiday gift to yourself. Similarly, holiday-scented reed diffusers can help fill your small space with holiday scents. Finally, you can use products from Scentsicles, a brand focused on Christmas tree scents. 

Treats

Gingerbread houses

If your building has a kitchen, all you need is a gingerbread set and a few common objects, like butterknives and scissors. Though created for children, their customizability expands who can enjoy them. Similar to pumpkin carving/painting, gingerbread houses never grow old due to their limitlessness.

Peppermint bark

Most of us don’t have ingredients or baking equipment to make most holiday desserts, but this we have enough for. Use something heavy, like a metal water bottle, to crush candy canes. Microwave some chocolate until melted and sprinkle the crushed peppermint candy in. Freeze the mixture and cut it into pieces.

Splurge on seasonal flavors for your morning dunkin’ or starbucks

Dunkin': peppermint mocha latte, coffee with 1 pump gingerbread + 1 pump pumpkin

Starbucks: toasted white mocha latte, flat white with almond milk and chestnut praline syrup, chai with light sweet cream and cinnamon 

While we may not have living rooms with fireplaces or our own TVs, the group spaces in our buildings are technically our living rooms. So, don't yet write off festive movie nights this year. Meet up with your friends in pajamas bearing throw blankets and homemade peppermint bark in your buildings' group spaces with TVs for a holiday movie night. (You may need an HDMI cable, which depending on your school, may be able to be found for rent in your Tech Support Center).

Though there are limited ways to make the most of living on campus during the holidays, little things can create holiday spirit during the next few weeks before our destinations home.

Neha Jammula

U Conn '25

Neha is a first-year sociology major at the University of Connecticut. In addition to writing for Her Campus, she writes poetry and infographics for other platforms. Aside from writing, she creates graphic designs for different organizations.
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