Thanksgiving leftovers have been eaten, Black Friday deals have ended, and the reality two months of seemingly sunless skies and snow filled commutes have set in. For Western Michigan’s campus, the holiday season comes decorations.
Some spots on campus began decorating before Thanksgiving break began. In Hoekje/Bigelow Dining Center, a snowy pine tree display sits in the main dining room while pine wreaths with red ribbons hang from the walls.
At the WMU bookstore, employees set up a Christmas Tree display sent by their parent company, Follet. Decals hanging from the ceiling indicate possible gift ideas to spread school spirit while wrapped presents and Bronco stuffed animals sit under the tree.
“I enjoy working around them because they make you feel the season a little bit more,” WMU Bookstore employee Louise Roberts said.
Some students hope there will be more decorations now that classes have resumed.
“I like the decorations they have, but there just isn’t enough,” WMU student Anna Hagood said. “They need to go big or go home, you know?”
WMU student Kiaha Gray agrees.
“I haven’t seen the décor yet, but I think that it would be nice to see more than just a tree,” Gray said.
Some students choose to decorate their dorm rooms for the holiday season. WMU student Angelica Zoch and her roommate, Bridgitt Cornish, set up a small Christmas tree and an advent calendar to celebrate.
“I feel like the more you decorate, the more you can make the dorm feel like home,” Zoch said.
While many may focus their attention on Christmas this time of year, many other cultures have their own traditions, celebrations, and decorations.
“I wish they could be a bit more festive all over campus,” WMU student Mary Ghazarian said. “Not just Christmas décor, but other [holidays] too.”
Possible alternatives to wreaths, garlands, and reindeer, traditionally associated with Christmas include Menorahs, dreidels, and the Star of David for Hanukkah, as well as woven baskets, ears of corn, and Kinaras for Kwanza.
“They promote diversity,” Ghazarian continued. “But all we see around us is Christmas.”
As local students take part in family traditions associated with the holiday season, many international students may be left feeling home sick. WMU student Jay Sibley believes that diversifying decorations could help international students feel more welcome this time of year.
“We could start by putting up other decorations,” Sibley said. “It’s small, but it’s a start.”