Note: The author lives on the first floor and because of this is very biased.
It’s against Community Standards to have an open fire to roast chestnuts, but that doesn’t stop dorms from getting into the spirit of the season. From Howard Halliday to Carroll Christmas, every hall has their own way of celebrating that often involves hot chocolate and sweaters. Although every RA has had their fair share of hanging string lights in their hallway and drawing snowflakes on their white board, but in Lyons Hall, we take it to the next level.
When December hits, Hall Staff has a rarely seen ritual of raiding storage closets, fighting for fake trees and strings of tinsel. The way it has been described is reminiscent of the Hunger Games battle to the cornucopia; only the weapons are for fighting boring walls, final exam anxiety, and Scrooge-like attitudes. Top secret planning then begins in each section, as residents brainstorm themed decorations that will be as high-impact as they are low budget.
The true beauty of this tradition is how much everyone wants to get involved. From eager freshmen to jaded seniors, girls sit in the hallway cutting paper snowflakes, taping up wrapping paper, and singing along to Mariah Carey’s greatest hit. The Sunday before study days begin, our faculty-in- residence, Professor Ed Hums, and his wife, “Saint” Shirley, walk through the halls, complimenting everyone’s work but ultimately needing to pick a favorite.
Although the craftsmanship should stand for itself, some sections opt to have a “performance” for the Hums, which can involve costumes, song, dance, and if they’re lucky enough to have band members in their section, live music. Although bagels are up for grabs, the idea of having the most festive section is prize enough for most Lyonites.
The hall’s foundation took on the “12 Days of Christmas” with an ND twist. From “1 Golden Dome” to “12 Fellows of the University,” they kept it classic with wrapping paper, wreaths, and a fireplace for Santa. Unfortunately for him, the fireplace is roaring during his entrance, making the section perhaps more fitting for a winter haunted house.
The ground level spends most of the year decorated with the classic Peanuts gang, so it only made sense to celebrate “Charlie Brown Christmas.” This included white board messages from the special, tiny figurines, the iconic tree (a branch from God Quad,) and even the iconic soundtrack blasting through the halls. Where the first floor fell short was in the performance, which was limited to several residents standing around, eagerly (awkwardly) watching the judges.
Second Floor – 2A
“How the Grinch Stole 2A” was as adorable as it was hilarious. The stuffed Grinch stealing Santa’s sack (likely a pillowcase) of decorations was an especially nice touch. However, following in the footsteps of the basement, the hall takes on a strangely morbid touch with the inclusion of a skull in a Santa hat. Below the skull, however, the Grinch is entering an unlit fireplace, which is much safer than the alternative.
Second Floor – 2B
The other side of the second floor took on “Hogwarts Christmas,” complete with floating candles. Unlike Harry and friends, however, third floor residents did not wear homemade sweaters with their initials. Although this would require a good deal of knitting on the part of their RA, it would certainly win extra points for effort.
Third floor’s “Disney Christmas” was a sure crowd pleaser. Although the decorations were detailed and included several “hidden Mickeys,” it is rumored that a Christmas enthusiast from another hall was illegally brought in to help. Ultimately, it was the performance that led the floor to victory, which included a medley of sing-alongs from their favorite childhood flicks.
Lyons Hall does not have an elevator, which means living on the fourth floor can be exhausting. Although their daily treks led to stronger calf muscles, residents had little energy left over to plan a theme. As “Christmas Tree,” the hallways were decked with all the shiny and sparkly trimmings. By turning the overheard lights off, they created an ethereal walkway well worth the long hike upstairs.
Ultimately, win or lose, every section does a great job every year. It’s a piece of home for freshman eager to see their families for the holidays and a fun break from the senior year job search. This is one Christmas tradition the Grinch can’t steal.