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Holiday decorating on a college budget

No need to break the bank this year, between secondhand ornaments and cheap trinkets from stores like Dollar Tree every USF Bull can have holiday cheer. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

When it comes to celebrating the holidays in Florida, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until every corner of the house is covered in red and green. Considering the stress of preparing for finals week and planning for the beginning of the holidays, any extra bursts of joy are always welcome. 

Tianna Person, a junior majoring in pre-nursing, lives at home and doesn’t waste a single second before pulling out the decorations. 

“I live with my mom. We were both in charge of decorations,” Person said. “We bought some decorations at Hobby Lobby. For the best decorations on a budget, I would check Walmart or the Dollar General. My favorite Christmas decoration is a bulb with a picture of my mom that I made when I was in kindergarten.” 

Teagan Byrnes, a junior double majoring in biomedical sciences and Spanish, lives with her roommates in an apartment near campus.

“My roommate Rayah actually started the idea to decorate by bringing a ton of Christmas decorations her family wasn’t using back from home,” Byrnes said. “We have no real theme, but Rayah has a very classy taste — golds, browns, dark red, gold glitter, etc. So the rest of us just kinda followed suit because we all liked it too.” 

Byrnes was lucky enough to get the bulk of the holiday decorations for free.

“The best way to start off decorating, if you can, is take stuff from your parents and grandparents. Most people have an abundance of extra, old decorations or Christmas stuff,” Byrnes said. “But also, believe it or not, the dollar stores, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, whatever, have pretty cute stuff. Our tree — which we got on sale for super cheap after the holidays last year — is completely decorated with ornaments from Dollar Tree and it looks like it’s cut out of a Christmas ad.”

Walking into a Hallmark greetings card is just what students need to unwind after dreading the arrival of finals week. Living on campus didn’t stop Gabriella Valiente, a sophomore majoring in international business with a concentration in marketing, from bringing the seasonal cheer.

“I live in Cypress Apartments C with three other girls,” Valiente said. “Last year I didn’t decorate my room because we had three people in one room — I lived in Cypress Suites — so I wanted to take advantage this year and go all out. I was the one to bring up the idea to the girls, and they loved it.” 

Happy to be onboard, every roommate did their part in creating a winter wonderland inside the Cypress apartment.

“So we all decided to pitch in some money and decorate our apartment. It was a group idea, but we each bought things whenever we wanted and decorated our own rooms if we wanted,” Valiente said. 

With all her roommate’s pitching in, Valiente brought out her inner Martha Stewart and created a holiday dorm of any college student’s dream.

“For example, my roommate Taylor and I decorated the outside of our doors,” Valiente said. “There’s lights that go around the border of both of our doors. I have a stocking on mine, and a little sign that says, ‘Santa Claus is coming to town.’

“My other roommate Janel bought a Christmas tree at the Salvation Army and I just recently brought some ornaments from home to decorate it. My third roommate Cara bought the decoration for the main door, the one that’s in the hallway. It looks like a wrapped Christmas present and even has a big red bow on it. So we all did our part to pitch in to the Christmas cheer.”