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Ways to decorate for the holidays, from one college student to another

Finals are a downer, but there’s a silver lining: at least the holidays are coming up. It’s time for finding gifts for loved ones, consuming peppermint-flavored everything and getting too drunk at family parties come winter break (sorry about puking on the couch again, Aunt Linda!). Best of all, it’s time to get into the spirit with holiday-themed decorations. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the winter season, all of the above or none of the above, here are some creative ways to decorate your place.

Hang up a Post-it note wreath. Wreaths are made of evergreen branches. Paper is made of trees. Post-its are made of paper. So, no matter how sad and/or pathetic it looks, take comfort in the fact that a wreath from Post-it notes is pretty much the same thing as the original. Grab that pack of green sticky notes you’ve barely used all semester—yes, the fluorescent lime ones that have nothing in common with the color, texture or shape of actual evergreen needles—and place them in a circle on your dorm room or apartment door. Because of their wonderful, intrinsically adhesive properties, Post-its are literally the only material you will need for this holiday decorating life hack, which doubles as a cry for help that everyone will ignore because they too are really stressed out about finals. If you want to go the extra mile, grab a pink highlighter and decorate your “wreath” with berries and bows. Merry Christmas! –Hanusia Higgins

Make ornaments out of cough syrup bottles. Do you have bags under your eyes? A roommate who’s constantly coughing? Terror at the sheer thought of finals? Are these making you abnormally susceptible to illness? Have you, too, gone through five or more bottles of DayQuil, NyQuil and/or Mucinex? Turn those medicine bottles into ornaments to adorn the two-foot tree you only really put up for the Snapchat story. These unconventional ornaments are the perfect way to memorialize your sick days past, present and future. And don’t forget about those used tissues for the garland! –Lizzi Kehoe

Recycle yourself a snowman. If your recycling bin is overflowing, but you’re running a little low on holiday cheer, never fear! Spruce up your room with a homemade, life-size “snowman.” Gather large handfuls of recyclables, and smash them together into three “snowballs.” Wrap each ball with a layer of masking tape to both imitate the color of day-old snow and bind each ball together. Stack the balls on top of each other in your desired location, and use a marker or assorted foliage to craft basic facial features. Frosty the study-buddy’s festive spirit will be sure to brighten your day during finals! –Grace Haselhorst

Take failed assignments and cut them into holiday shapes. As a typical hoarder, I reserve my unreachable top shelf for a pile of quizzes, exams, lab reports and essays that have received…not the greatest of grades (yet, I still let them sit there in a heap of try-harder-next-times). If this sounds like you, it’s time to put these subpar assignments to use by putting them on festive display. Red X’s and corrections on white paper provide a wintry color scheme, reminiscent of candy canes and wrapped gifts. Cut out holiday shapes—stars, snowflakes, ornaments and the like—and adorn your living quarters with your fixed-up failures! –Lily Wu

Let it snow. If you’re like me, you never fully get into the holiday spirit without a little snow. As of when I’m writing this, there isn’t any snow on the ground yet. And, based on how our president-elect’s personnel choice for his upcoming administration feels about climate change, we might not ever have snow on the ground again! Luckily, we can still make our own winter wonderland. Find a bag of flour—look, you were never going to bake a cake from scratch anyway—and just dump it on the ground. Use a broom to evenly spread the flour across the floor. If you’re really in the holiday spirit, grab a handful of your fake snow and have a “snowball fight” with your roommates. Sure, maybe they’ll “be mad” and “tell your resident adviser or landlord” and “quit talking to you,” but did you want a bunch of Grinches in your life anyway? –Rima Parikh