The first snowfall of the season helped kick holiday spirit on the Hilltop into high gear yesterday, but off campus, many students were had already been hard at work adding their own festive touches to Georgetown’s scenery.

In the week-and-a-half interval between Thanksgiving and the end of classes, several N Street residents took time to contribute to the holiday cheer – and, in some cases, keep up with the competition – by ornamenting their townhouses with lights and other decorations.

“It’s fun to put up lights, to get into the Christmas season,” Romina Canessa (NHS ’07) said. Canessa helped the four residents of a townhouse on the Alumni Square side of the street put up lights on Friday.

Canessa said that without a ladder, the five women occasionally hung out of second-story windows to attach a large “G” to the house and adorn the facade with lights.

Not to be outdone, neighbors three doors down completely covered their townhouse with lights and spelled out the word “Hoyas.” Pierre Maitre (MSB ’07), a resident of the house, said that he and his housemates used over 2,000 lights.

He added that the decoration process lasted two days, beginning the Sunday after Thanksgiving, making them the first townhouse to decorate this season.

“That was the goal,” said John McGroarty (COL ’07), a resident of the house who said that he tied a hose to his waist to ensure that he did not fall as he hung lights from a second-story window.

McGroarty said that he and his housemates heard compliments from several passersby as they decorated the house, including a group of students who pulled out a camera and photographed the process.

“We wanted to have the best lights on the streets,” aitre said. “We have the brightest lights on the street, for sure.”

Tim D’Arduini (COL ’06), who lives in another house on N Street near the corner of 37th Street, admitted that some rivalries among neighbors can develop during the holiday season.

“Very quietly, everyone is trying to outdo one another on the block,” he said.

D’Arduini said that he and his four housemates spent six hours Saturday decorating their townhouse, complete with their own “G” constructed of blue and white lights and other decorations.

“We just had a lot of fun doing it,” he said.

Other residents downplayed the need to keep up with neighbors.

“We had a party and did it for that,” said Chris Bonner (COL ’06), who also decorated with his housemates on Saturday. “It was just for the Christmas spirit of it.”

The cost of participating in the holiday tradition varied from house to house. Bonner said that his townhouse spent no more than $10 on lights, while McGroarty estimated that he and his two roommates spent $100 total at CVS and The Home Depot.

Several of the students who chose to decorate their houses said that they were persuaded to do so because of the large number of N Street residents that did so last year.

“When we got the house, we decided we were going to do it because we saw what went on last year,” McGroarty said.

“I feel like the student body wants students on N Street to decorate,” said Celeste Tinari (SFS ’07), who lives in the townhouse that Canessa helped to garnish. “You feel responsible to decorate.”

Still other students resisted both competition and tradition and decided to forego decorating their houses at all.

“We didn’t feel any pressure,” said Joe Della Rosa (COL ’07), one of these students. “It was a pretty lax environment.”

“We’re just too lazy,” he added. “I like Christmas spirit . but we just didn’t have the initiative.”

Several of the students who did adorn their houses said that they were disappointed with the low number of decorated townhouses compared to last year.

“It is a poor showing this year,” Beth Walker (SFS ’07), one of Tinari’s three roommates, said. “Last year, the whole street was filled.”

“We were hoping there would be more competition,” aitre said.

All of the students said that they planned to remove their decorations after returning from winter vacation in January.

Several students said that they hope that their actions inspire more people to decorate residences next year.

“We just hope that next year, the people who take over the house keep the tradition,” Maitre said.

In addition to trying to create more spirit on campus, several of the residents said that they chose to adorn their townhouses for more personal reasons.

“It’s just something to take your mind off school before finals,” McGroarty said.

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