Home Away From Home: Bringing Holiday Traditions To Campus

Everyone says that the friends you make in college are the ones that stay with you for life. Whether or not that applies to everyone, I don’t know. What I do know is that during my college career I have made the most amazing friends that have become a second family to me.

When the time comes for you to go away to college and make new friends it’ll be all on you to come out of your little turtle shell and meet the right people that will hopefully help you develop your home away from home.

My family and I have a lot of traditions, especially during the holiday season. So instead of just letting ourselves become completely homesick, my three best friends and I decided that this Christmas we would take some of our favorite traditions from back home and put a little college spin on them.

Hands down, one of the best traditions the Holiday season brings is decorating, so my roommates and I decided to transform our apartment into a winter wonderland.

Utilize Pinterest and the Dollar Tree

It’s true that a college student does not always have the heftiest bank account, I sure don’t. But I absolutely love decorating for Christmas! The first thing I did in my apartment was turn my refrigerator into a Snowman. All you need is colored construction paper, tape, scissors, and the basic knowledge of a snowman’s body structure.

Wah-lah! Your very own Frosty!

Decorating the rest of our little apartment was easy; my roommates and I took a trip to the dollar store to stock up on cheap decorations. We added a couple of big red bows to some of the walls, slapped some snowflakes on the cabinet doors and the windows and then tossed a few pine cones were just lying on the ground outside onto the mantle and coffee table. The decorations are simple, cozy, cheap and festive, but most importantly they remind us all of being back at home for the Holidays.

Breathe in the fresh scent of pine!

The first thing that pops into my head when I think of Christmas is a tree. That being said, girls and I decided that we absolutely had to go get one of our own! We didn’t want to skimp out and get a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, so we all chipped in about ten dollars, looked up the nearest Christmas tree farm and picked out a nice little chubby tree to display in the corner of our living room. And instead of spending fifteen to twenty-five dollars on a big star or angel tree-topper, we decided to substitute a traditional topper with a big red bow from Walmart.

Our tree brought everything together; it doesn’t just feel like winter anymore, it finally feels like the Holiday Season is upon us. I know, I know…snowman refrigerator, bows, pine cones and a tree, we were thorough! And we should have been satisfied right? But we weren’t! We were on a roll and didn’t want to stop at just decorations.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

My family has a habit of sending out obnoxious themed Christmas cards every year. To me, Christmas cards are a big part of the Holiday Season. So of course my roommates and I had to take our own obnoxious photo to send out in a card to our friends and families. We started hunting for ugly Christmas sweaters, and when we couldn’t all find sweaters we decided to make some! It was really simple; you just need a few really random items, for example: jingle bells, ribbons, greenery, ornaments, stickers, patches…honestly the options are unlimited.

I’m not much of a seamstress so when it came to applying my random items to my Walmart crew-neck sweater, I just hot glued them all on. You can use any old or new sweater you want. It took about ten minutes total to make my masterpiece. With final exams approaching we had to quickly find a mutual open window of time that all four of us could go out and take a picture.

Look Forward To Making New Memories

The best part about college is the time spent out of the classroom. Of course the point of college is to come away having learned something. For me, what I love about college and what I have been fortunate enough to learn is that the possibilities are endless. It’s okay to miss home and to miss all of the family traditions you have grown accustomed to, but in college you have the opportunity to make new memories and traditions of your own, so take advantage of it!

You only have a few years to do this. The winter holidays have always been my favorite, but now I appreciate them even more since I know that no matter where I am, as long as I am surrounding myself with the right people, I have the ability to make my own home away from home. I challenge you to do the same.

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Bryanna Maty

Bryanna Maty

Bryanna Maty is a Senior at the University of California, Davis. After graduating in June she hopes to find or invent a career that will utilize her love for writing, spending money and making people laugh. In her spare time you can find her crafting things off of Pinterest, swimming, line-dancing or watching re-runs of “Friends.”