After a week of wrapping presents, fluffing artificial Christmas trees, and creating countless to-do lists, we were ready to begin decorating Cedarville’s Stevens Student Center (SSC).
My team (Campus Activity Board) and I had been in the Christmas spirit for about a month already, so we all felt SO excited to finally make all of our ideas and diagrams come to life.
In early November, we chose Home for the Holidays as the theme for Campus Christmas. In the following weeks, we created separate diagrams for each space in the SSC, bought supplies, and counted and re-counted bows and wreaths. Finally, the evening of November 22 had come, and my team and 80 other volunteers were ready to make the Christmas spirit palpable for the students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University.
That night, the 80 volunteers walked into what we called Santa’s workshop. The event rooms were transformed into a forest of over 40 trees, and walls were stacked high with wrapped presents. Just being in the room gave you enough Christmas joy to sing a few Christmas carols — or, well, maybe that was mostly me, but it didn’t matter since we play Christmas music in there 24/7.
We went through the game plan for the night and then had a sweet time of prayer, remembering the reason for the Christmas season and thanking God for the opportunity to serve at a University that lifted our Savior’s name high.
The night moved on from there in a blur. Four scissor lifts drove into the SSC and we set to work on attaching hundreds of foam balls to the ceiling. People carried trees, installed up-lighting, and stapled snow to any solid surface they could find. I had a blast running around answering questions, getting to meet some new friends, and spending time with some old ones. Pictured below with me are two of my closest friends who are members of SGA this year (and are also two of my bridesmaids!) who were working hard at making the ceiling decorations.
By 3 am, everything was mostly set, and the really fun part began. (Disclaimer: maybe it’s the most fun because we’re all hitting that loopy stage and cannot contain our laughter, but, again, that could just be me). Anyway, we began to add the final touches — what my boss, Brian Burns, calls the dream phase. If we could dream it, and we had the supplies for it, we’d make it happen. I think it’s after this part that the SSC really starts to come to life.
Naturally, a lot of cleaning and tidying must follow this insane process, so the next hour or so is a lot of hard work. But once that’s over, there’s nothing to do but enjoy the fruits of your labor — or immediately collapse on the ground and sleep.
I’ve been a part of the Christmas setup since sophomore year, and this year was my last time getting to be a part of the transformation. So, at the end of the night, I wanted to make sure to walk around and really appreciate it all. I found myself tearing up reading the handwritten tags on each present and seeing the stockings hung in the dining hall. I’m sure that the tears were the result of the end of one of the craziest nights of my life, but you can’t deny that Christmas is a really special thing. On a smaller level, Christmas and this setup always seems to bring people together on campus in a really sweet way. But on a much wider and more important scale, it feels like a great honor to be able to go all out and put in a lot of effort to celebrate a holiday like Christmas. We get to celebrate the birth of our Savior — we get to celebrate the grace and kindness of our God, and we get to celebrate the greatest gift we could ever have been given.
Speaking on behalf of all of Campus Experience (most pictured below!), that’s what we hope people remember when they walk through the SSC on the way to lunch or after a stressful study session. Let Christmas be a joyful reminder of the goodness of our God!
If you want to see the transformation for yourself, check out this video.
Majoring in English, Class of 2020
Favorite Book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Favorite Pattern: Floral
Favorite State: Minnesota
Favorite List on my Phone: Potential Dog Names
Favorite Holiday: Valentine’s Day
Thing to do at 8 p.m. on a Saturday in the summer: Play catch with a football
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