Sleigh the Holiday Season at Your College Home Away From Home

End of semester stress may have you feeling like the Grinch, but don’t let that crush your holiday spirit. You may have gotten into the groove of family traditions leading up to winter holidays in the past, but between finals and Southern California’s less-than-wintery weather, it can be easy to lose the holiday spirit. Here are five ways to celebrate the holiday season in your college home.


1. Deck The Hall

Many students take to decorating the inside of their dorms for the holiday season. Whip out the wrapping paper and the ribbons to include your dorm doors in the holiday spirit.

The welcome area in Argyros Forum has loads of butcher paper for free. Photo courtesy of Veronica Millison.

To make a tree:
  1. Cut about five feet of butcher paper into several small pointed strips.
  2. Fold the strips into a tube and tape the back, leaving the pointed edges on the outside.
  3. Flatten the taped strips and pull the outer point to create a raised effect.
  4. Tape the strips to the door, adding more as you work your way down to the stump.
  5. To create the stump, cut a small piece of butcher paper and put it on the bottom of the tree.
  6. You can also cut out ornaments of your desire or hang real ones using mini Command hooks.
To make a snowman:
  1. Cut enough butcher paper to make three circles of varying sizes, small, medium, and large.
  2. Tape onto the door the smallest circle on the top and largest on the bottom, connecting each one.
  3. Add a cutout hat, scarf and facial features – or draw them directly onto the circles.
  4. Cut small white circles and tape them sporadically on the door to create snow.

2. Make a Holiday Treat

Nothing says “Hello holidays!” like good food. No matter what you’re celebrating, ask for the family recipe to your favorite dish and share it with your roommates and professors. Bake with your friends in the fully stocked Morlan Hall kitchen – just bring your own ingredients and clean up when you are done.

Many students take to coffee to push through finals. Spice it up and treat yourself with a side of a holiday inspired coffee cake. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.

Easy Coffee Cake Recipe – inspired by and courtesy of Kristyn Merkley, from Lil’ Luna.

You will need:
  • A 9×13 inch pan (or proportional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 3 cups of flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oil
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease the pan and set it aside.
  3. Combine eggs, oil, milk, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Pour the content of the dry bowl into the larger mixing bowl and whisk to create the batter
  6. Pour the batter into the greased pan so that the top is even.
  7. To create the topping, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
  9. Using a butter knife, create swirls on top of the batter to blend the topping in.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, let cool for two minutes, and enjoy!

3. Set the Winter Scene in SoCal

Although Southern California is not a winter wonderland, create the ambience yourself and make use of what SoCal has to offer. The fire pit at the dorm pool is open until 9 p.m. – giving you plenty of time to enjoy a night under the string lights roasting chestnuts and making s’mores.

If you don’t mind going off campus, the sand is SoCal’s snow. The beach is a great place to have a bonfire and roast your holiday treats.
Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash.


4. Join the Community

Grab your friends and go to the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Candlelight Choir Procession in the Orange Circle. This year, the ceremony will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Don’t miss the tree lighting and music starting at 5:15 p.m. 

Shops and restaurants will be open for you to grab a bite while you enjoy the event. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


5. Gather Your Friends For a Gift Exchange

No matter what you celebrate, gift exchanging has been made a large part of the holiday season. Additionally, it’s a great way to get together with your friends before the end of the year.

There are several options to gift-giving, perhaps the most common being Secret Santa and White Elephant. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.