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The Ghost of Christmas (Hall Decorating) Past

Per usual, my semester ended with me collapsed on the couch, soul-sucking seminar papers turned in, exam blue books thoroughly scribbled upon, piles of books and essays covering the dining room table, and very, very little done in preparation for Christmas. I was absurdly proud of myself for decorating our tree 6 days before Christmas and designing Christmas cards and writing our Christmas letter 5 days prior to go-day. Sure, no one will actually get said Christmas cards or letters by Christmas, but I’m not ashamed to lower my standards to attainable levels at this point.

And then I remembered the two weeks leading up to Christmas break at good ol’ Cov Col. Surely calling upon some wisdom too lofty for mere undergrads, the powers-that-be ordained that the weekend prior to finals week was Time to Clean Your Rooms. Bathrooms were doused in bleach, bunkbeds had to be re-stacked, everything needed to come off the walls, and all earthly belongings were shuttled to storage or stuffed inside our minuscule closets. This was character-building and all, but also directly counter to our professors’ admonitions to study for our imminent exams.

But then, since — clearly — cleaning and studying for exams wasn’t enough for our over-active undergraduate bodies, our dorm also declared the Wednesday before finals to be the annual Hall Decorating Contest. Because, really, the best use of time would be to decide that the hall theme should be Narnia, corral freshmen into cutting down assorted pine branches from around campus, string said branches along the entire length of the hall, craft an ingenious lamppost out of a cheap Wal-mart floor light, create huge brown craft paper “wardrobe” doors for visitors to walk through, and then spread cotton batting and spray snow everywhere.

So we did.

And then, because no one had papers to write or projects to finish, of course, we all assumed a character to fit the Narnia narrative…

…Tricia labeled everyone in order to prevent confusion…

…and I got to sit swathed in a white sheet (wearing Betsy’s tiara) and offer passersby Turkish delight. I think I threw flour — er, magical freezing dust — at people who refused me.

Frankly, even as I can feel myself becoming the bitter old professor who is aghast at how students spend the last weeks of the semester, I am still ridiculously proud of this feat. I have romanticized it to the point of utter brilliance in my mind.

I am also incredibly grateful that I never have to do that ever again. Amen.

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