Decorating brightens dorm room, spirits

Being away from home for the holiday season doesn’t mean you can’t ring your silver bells with holiday cheer. Try bringing the holiday to your home-away-from-home by decorating for Christmas. Changing your dorm décor for the holiday can be simple, uplifting and cheap.

“Decorating for Christmas made me feel all grown up my first year away from home,” said Dameka Williams, 19, a sophomore political science student from Ocala.

Williams said that she and her roommates put their money together and purchased Christmas decorations for their Palmetto South dorm room last year.

“It actually ended up being a lot cheaper than we’d expected,” said Williams. She said they bargain shopped by going to discount stores.

“We bought ornaments, stockings and other miscellaneous Christmas stuff from Dollar Tree, and we caught the tree on sale at Wal-Mart.”

“It all begins with an idea. Brainstorming is the first and most important step when decorating for any occasion,” said Candice Huffman, 22, a graduate student from DeFuniak Springs.

Huffman said that students can step away from the traditional approach to decorating by venturing out and being creative.

“The first thing students should do is create a mental picture of how they want the room to look. Magazines help a lot with painting a visual picture, too,” said Huffman. She said reading sale papers helps students catch good deals.

Samara Brown, 21, a visual art student from Los Angeles, advises students to “smart shop.”

Brown said stores like Target, Wal-Mart and Bed Bath & Beyond offer creative décor at reasonable, college-student prices.

“Personalizing your space is a reflection of your self-identity, so be confident,” Brown said.

She also suggested trying vintage stores for inexpensive artistic fixtures like Santa Claus ceramics or holiday pictures.

“Christmas is more than decorating. You have to create a total Christmas atmosphere,” said Alicia Mathis, 21, a junior biology student from Houston. Mathis said that food, music and candles add to the Christmas spirit.

“My roommate made hot apple cider every night the week before going home for Christmas break.”

Mathis said that most discount stores offer Christmas CDs for about $6.99, and lights, candles and apple cider can be purchased for about $1.

“It was the little things like listening to Christmas CDs and lighting candles at night that made me feel better about being away from home.”