The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Deck the Halls

Alicia Smith | Monday, December 8, 2008

As I walked into my building, the faint sounds of Christmas music were heard from every corner of the hall. The welcoming aroma of Christmas cookies filled McCandless, and graciously met me as I entered the dorm. The entire hall appeared to be in the Christmas spirit.

As I continued on my trek to the fifth floor, I saw wrapping paper and ribbons, bells and Nativity scenes. There were snowmen, stockings, Santas, and snowflakes. As I walked to my room, I realized that something was missing. Although nearly all of the residents had decorated for Christmas, the bright and colorful twinkle of the Christmas lights I had grown to love could not be found within any of the students’ rooms.

Christmas lights are banned from Saint Mary’s residence halls. Deemed a fire hazard, lights are not allowed on trees, hung around the rooms, or in the windows. All lit decorations are prohibited to students. However, the halls may have lights in the lobby.

The lobby of McCandless, which is filled with Christmas lights, has not one, but several lit trees. Other lobbies on campus have lit wreaths and various other lit decorations.

An e-mail was sent to students reminding them that “electric decorative lights are not allowed in or around student rooms. This includes Christmas lights with exposed bulbs, and halogen bulbs are also prohibited.”

A painful twinge of disappointment ran through me as I read the e-mail sent last week. No lit Christmas tree for me this year. Although the dorm still remained festive, I could not help but think that just a few colored lights would make the Christmas spirit ooze out of McCandless, as well as create a more homey feel to the building. According to www.christmascarnivals.com, Christmas lights have been a holiday tradition since approximately 1895 when president Grover Cleveland displayed the first lit Christmas tree. Saint Mary’s students are not able to take part in that tradition.

Although I can understand how the lights could be a fire hazard if not taken care of properly, I do not see the harm in a little Christmas spirit. Christmas lights make the holidays a little brighter, especially since they are in the building anyway. Maybe it is because I am a freshman, but I am unable to comprehend how it is safe to have Christmas lights in the lobby, but it is unsafe to have them in our rooms.

I visited Notre Dame one evening this past week, and noticed that in a few of the windows of one of the dorm buildings, there were strings of Christmas lights. Why are Christmas lights a fire hazard to Saint Mary’s, but not to Notre Dame? I pondered that thought for a few moments. With a frown I continued on my way, wishing that we Saint Mary’s students were allowed to have a little more holiday spirit.