By Kevin Vestal, For The Miami Student
Amanda Brennan sits with her feet perched on the desk just inside the Emerson Hall "Sweet Shoppe."
Across the room, her roommate Carley Cruea is engrossed in her laptop. The neighboring doors in their stretch of hallway may share the Shoppe's yuletide spirit, but none can match their gingerbread house on the brink of foreclosure.
Carley was inspired by Pinterest. Over the weekend, she and her mother transformed the girls' door into a fresh gingerbread home.
Brown construction paper serves as the foundation, covering any hint of wood on the doorframe. A gingerbread man in a chef's hat stands guard. Paper plates form pink and yellow lollipops, while a rainbow of paper gumdrops and sparkling icicles provide the final touch.
Amanda approves. Their resident director doesn't.
Gingerbread houses are flammable and pose a fire safety hazard. Sadly, the Sweet Shoppe will have to come down.
"I feel like the Christmas spirit in Emerson is dying along with this gingerbread house," Carley says.
Amanda decides to put up a foreclosure sign as she eats her popcorn dinner. Kernels rest at the bottom of her bowl, a testament to her dinner's early removal from the microwave so as not to set off the fire alarm.
"Sometimes gingerbread houses just don't make it," Amanda sighs.
Her thrift store jean button down and forest green sweater are seemingly out of place compared to the room's cheerful façade, but Carley's candy cane cardigan is a perfect match.
The inside of the Sweet Shoppe is no less festive.
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Olaf, the snowman, stands proud atop Carley's dresser, accompanied by a flurry of plastic snowflakes. The Disney décor is no stranger to this side of the room, fitting in with the collection of princess throw pillows on the bed.
Her bed is covered with clothes and hints at a different kind of wonderland that is always in season.
Care packages rest beneath the tiny Christmas tree in the windowsill, whose blinding white lights outshine the late autumn dusk. Unlike the gingerbread house, their interior holiday display won't come down anytime soon.
"They can't touch this," Amanda says between bites of popcorn. "We will sue."