Jumbo Steps: The Ghost of Christmas Past is quite friendly

A few weeks ago, my suitemates and I adorned our suite with spooky decor in preparation for Wren’s dorm-wide Halloween suite decorating competition. We were brutally outdone by the ladies a few floors above us. Their skeletons, cobwebs and orange and black witch hats really did put our suite to shame.

I guess our construction paper pumpkin cutouts, large plastic rodents and neon lights neither did the trick nor won us a treat. Alas, we were not the ones who received a set of movie tickets. I hope Wren’s RAs hold another decorating competition, because I’m ready for round two. While all my suitemates were away for Thanksgiving break, I worked with some little elves to completely redecorate our common room. And let me tell you, it was certainly a task and a half.

I cut up a decorative shopping bag and used it as wallpaper for my room’s door. I constructed a 3D Christmas tree using green masking tape, yarn, miniature ornaments and a plush Jumbo (in lieu of an angel or a star). I pinned an ungodly amount of ornaments onto our cork board wall and set up two desk-sized plastic trees to finish it all off.

My favorite decoration is our makeshift “fireplace,” assembled using colored construction paper and Sharpies. What makes it so distinctive are the 10 name tags dangling from the imaginary mantle. Each name tag bears a suitemate’s name alongside a big red “X” next to “Naughty?” To complete the look, each of us has hung an ugly sock under our nametag as a stocking stand-in.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t go through all of this trouble just to win a competition (one I don’t even know will be held). I did it because I wanted to hang up my special Christmas decor from last year — the ornaments, the plush Jumbo, the two trees. Those things are more than just decor to me; they are objects my former roommate and I gaudily used to dress up our Tilton double last year. They are memories — memories of an unforgettable beginning to my yearly dorm decorating tradition, memories that remind me just how far I’ve grown in one year, memories of a fortified friendship.

I vividly remember decorating with my roommate last year, because what preceded it was just as vivid a memory. That night didn’t start the way it ended; before the walls were lit with Christmas lights, our room was split by the tension between us.

A semester’s worth of quarrels and misunderstandings had finally culminated in an extensive argument, which ultimately made me realize I needed to be more transparent with him about some things.

I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of what we talked about, but immediately after we talked, I proposed that we decorate the room together. The cheery beats of famous carols blared loudly, displacing any tension left in the air. There was now absolutely no room for distrust — just room to improve a lifelong friendship.

I guess it doesn’t matter if Wren’s RAs hold another decorating competition. Seeing those Christmas decorations in my suite unequivocally beats any prize ResLife could ever give me.

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