by Sarah Pennington
Ah, Campus Christmas. It’s the most exciting time of year at Cedarville, a chance to show the rest of campus just how creative you can be.
Now, the winners for this year’s Campus Christmas open dorms have already been announced: Willett’s “The Terminal,” West’s “Mary Poppins,” the “Printy House Cinemas,” and Lawlor’s “Behind the Scenes.” But these aren’t the only halls worth mentioning. Let’s take a look at four other Campus Christmas setups to see what they did well and what could’ve been better.
The first slot featured several noteworthy halls aside from the winner (Young’s, anyone? Or how about an interactive game of Clue?), but the star of the show was Murphy’s “Nutcracker.” Murphy residents executed this Christmas classic magnificently, from the hall decorations to the residents’ costumes to the overall storyline and feel of the hall. They also struck the perfect balance between interaction and simple walkthrough: guests got to participate at some points (notably, a final battle with the Mouse King) but weren’t slowed down so much that it was frustrating.
Our second review takes us across campus to the Hill’s Rogers dorm and their “North Pole Cookie Mines and Factory.” Resident “tour guides” led the way through the lower level “mines,” including interactions with characters such as cookie quality testers and a mine supervisor, and up to the “factory” top floor. Allowing visitors to decorate their own cookies was a nice touch, as was the use of the online Cookie Clicker game to represent mine work. One does have to wonder, though: with their apparent lack of concern for worker satisfaction and safety, how long before the cookie mine owners get a visit from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future?
Speaking of unsafe workplaces, we have McKinney’s “Willy Wonka.” One has to give McKinney credit for creativity — Willy Wonka isn’t at all Christmas-y, but it’s a unique choice. They also get props for using the older (and better) Gene Wilder movie as their inspiration instead of the weird Burton version. Their biggest downfall? In an (otherwise successful) effort to keep the flow moving smoothly, they made their groups too big. That meant that anyone at the back of the group missed half the show while trying to peer over people’s shoulders.
We end in St. Clair with “The Final Art Experience,” an “art museum” filled with puns, parodies, and Cedarville and pop culture references, all tied together with a few recreations of “serious” pieces. A few highlights included a shattered mug entitled “From the Balcony,” a Bob Ross lookalike, and the “Iron Throne” constructed of golf clubs and, yes, an actual iron. Guests were allowed to walk through at their leisure while filling out a mock version of the Humanities art experience report. Christmas-y? Not particularly, but it’s clever enough that we don’t really care.
That’s just a small sampling of the creativity displayed in this year’s Campus Christmas open dorms. We applaud everyone who participated, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with next year.
Sarah Pennington is a sophomore Professional Writing and Information Design major and an Arts and Entertainment reporter for Cedars. She loves chai tea and dragons and is perpetually either reading or writing a book.