Paper chain made out of Varsity newspaperIsabel Dempsey

From the Fitzwilliam Museum to Kettle’s Yard, I’m used to reviewing some of the most ingenious and inspiring art in Cambridge. But having exhausted all of Cambridge’s galleries this term, I’ve decided to turn to students for inspiration instead. Home to some of the most gifted people in the world (or at least that’s what all of their secondary school teachers claimed) I was excited to see what creative Bridgemas decorations these talented individuals could come up with. And the results didn’t disappoint – these avant-garde designs certainly push the limits of what Christmas decorations can be!

Oh Christmas traffic cone, oh Christmas traffic cone

Christmas traffic coneHendrikje Dorussen

We’ve all been there. It’s been a messy night: you’ve had a few pints, consumed a cursed concoction of liquor at pres, and topped it all off with a couple (or five) shots in Revs. Then suddenly the moment of creative genius hits. Wouldn’t it just be so fun and quirky if we stole a traffic cone? How else can I prove I was ever a wild and rebellious uni student if I’ve never stolen a piece of roadside equipment? What might initially seem an uninspired (and let’s face it) overdone idea, this group of students’ innovative reimagining of the classic traffic cone design is truly something special. A splash of paint and a few ribbons later, they transformed it from a tired piece of student home décor to a Christmas tree that was gifted to their Director of Studies.

Hit me (Santa) baby one more time

Britney Spears cardboard cut-outGeorge Cox

With her new-found freedom, Britney Spears is back on the music scene and just as big as ever. But despite her fame and fortune she still found time for a quick trip to everybody’s second favourite Cambridge queer night: Glitterbomb. Following a few too many Jägerbombs, the ‘Toxic’ star attempted to head back to the car park where her chauffeur was waiting only to find herself lost in Robinson College – an easy mistake to make even when sober. After a wild night amongst the bricks, she decided to leave a Christmas-inspired cut-out of her to watch over all of Binson’s Bridgemas bopping. Or at least that’s how these Robinson students remember the story of how Santa Spears ended up in their staircase.

Oh, say! Can you see by Rudolph’s early light

Benjamin Franklin on top of the Christmas treeEmilia Whitehead

Founding Father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin is known for many things. Freeing America from Britain’s rule; inventing bifocals; his love of Leicester; and his status as the Queen of Christmas (sorry Mariah Carey). Okay, maybe you can’t find those last two facts on his Wikipedia. Making a big step up from Mount Rushmore (largely due to the lack of desecrating Native lands), these St Catz students have made a proper commemoration to this historical figure. Trapped in the eternal war between angel or star, this group decided to shun both of these traditional options on top of your Bridgemas tree, as they were just too generic for their liking. Instead, they’ve given the position of shining glory to no other than Ben Franklin— his classic “I love Leicester” badge gleaming on his chest, having infamously been such a big fan of England in his lifetime. This piece is certainly a ground-breaking twist on traditional Christmas décor.

Rocking around the Bridgemas Tree

Cursed Christmas 'tree'Emily Lawson-Todd

Speaking to the curator of this inspired “monstrosity”, she described it as “a drying rack with tinsel and rubber gloves as decorations, complete with an unlit cigarette as the angel on top of the tree.” When I began this long and treacherous search for Cambridge’s most creative (okay cursed) Christmas décor, this is exactly the kind of hideously beautiful gem I was looking for. It looks like it’s been taken straight out of the Tate Modern. I’ve already abandoned my dissertation work for the week to begin drafting an essay about the symbolism of the unlit cigarette as a representation of the dying light of Christ amidst the toxic contemporary commodification of Christmas. This anti-capitalist statement holds up a middle finger to the royal establishment that introduced the Christmas tree to Britain, innovatively inspiring us to make Christmas joy out of the little we have during this cost of living crisis. Or at least that’s what I’d tell my supervisor.

And a Covid mask in a pear tree

Supreme Christmas treeLeah Nelson

From the hazard tape to the horrendously hacked away star sponge, this tree’s décor has left me feeling more uncomfortably confused than inspired by the Christmas spirit. Don’t even get me started on the Supreme logo over the face mask. Is this a Varsity x Supreme sponsorship deal I don’t know about? Is it a statement about the prioritisation of corporate wealth over public health during the Covid-19 pandemic? Or maybe it's just a final and desperate plea to Father Christmas in fear their Christmas letter didn’t make it through the bricked-up accommodation fireplace.