Decorating on- or off-campus housing to keep traditions alive

Written by: 
Ally Pack

Students Emma Elwood, Gentry Burton, and Anuhea Chen have discovered their love for bringing the holiday spirit into their hales, by decorating their living spaces while away from home.


For those that decorate while away at college, the tradition of decorating has always been a part of who they are. Burton said, “I think tradition is really important in life. [My mom] likes that I like to decorate because I am carrying on her love of it. Passing that down is important to her because she loves the holidays. For her, seeing me want to decorate and have fun is really rewarding.”


Elwood, a freshman majoring in American Sign Language, said, “I like celebrating and decorating for the holidays because they are little mini celebrations throughout the year.”


Burton, a freshman majoring in English, said, “I feel like especially living in Hawaii, when you don’t really have seasons as much, it’s really hard … to get in the feel of a holiday unless you decorate.” Elwood agreed, “Decorating gets me in the spirit and lets me look forward to spending [the holiday] with my friends even though I can’t spend it with my family physically.”


For Chen, a graphic design junior, Valentine’s Day in particular brings with it special traditions. She relayed that she has one friend with whom she always exchanges gifts. “It was our freshman year of high school when we started [the tradition] and we had only known each other for like six months. We were just being ‘dumb-sad’ about being single for Valentine’s Day. After that it was like, ‘Oh yeah, I have to give you a Valentine’s gift.’”


Elwood’s top tip for decorating your dorm is to get something “that can go around the whole room. It doesn’t have to be too big.” Chen mentioned that since her mom was the one to always decorate, since being in college it felt weird to have no decorations during holidays. She said, “My first year here, for every holiday, I would make paper cutouts and decorate our fridge because there wasn’t much else I could do.”


For student Emma Elwood, multiple influences in her life have given her a love for decorating at holidays. She voiced that her grandma always had a box of decorations for each holiday, and she would get to help put them up. She said, “Of course, [my grandma] always followed right behind me and moved them to where they were supposed to be, but that’s definitely where my love [of decorating] started.”


In addition, both her parents, particularly her mom, were influences as well. “[My mom] is always looking for ways to be crafty and always trying to figure out the next thing she can do. She’s the one that got me into Valentine’s day because as soon as I woke up, there would be red, chocolates, and flowers all over. She would make us red chocolate chip pancakes and I always looked forward to it.”


Chen said, “Even if you don’t like a specific holiday, it’s just fun to do something with someone and all be excited about it together.” Burton agreed that “decorating alone is not as fun.” She said, “My one roommate and I like to decorate together, and we usually put on some music and make a little party out of it.”

Date Published: 
Monday, February 19, 2018
Last Edited: 
Monday, February 19, 2018