Deck the Halls with Boughs of Books

Christmas Book Tree by: Tiffany Dimmick

A Christmas Book Tree fills Simpkins Hall with holiday cheer on the first floor.

By: Tiffany Dimmick – Grad and Writing Program Secretary and Western Alumna


What the Dickens is that in the hallway?!?! That was a question on many people’s minds Monday morning after a well-needed Thanksgiving break. The answer:  on a day no students entered the English corridors, no phones rang in my office, all I heard was the cold wind whistling through the windows and my heater blasting away wondering why I’m even here today, and thoughts of knitting away the hours while visions of all the students frolicking in a blissful week off invaded my brain, I put myself to work.

I ventured up to the Simpkins’ loft where overly squeaky doors and dreams of a collective library permeate out of the vaulted architecture and grandiose windows. It was in that spacious loft among drywall crumbles, empty chairs and desks, and dusty bookshelves that another dream unfolded in my head filled with dancing sugar-plums. After a few sneezes and some help from my fellow English secretary and the Mary Poppins/MacGyver of the English department, Lynne Ward, I got to work. I brushed off the ceiling-high stacks of old books that were merely collecting dust, hauled them several times on a tiny cart down the frightful elevator into a hallway begging for happiness that day, and made some Christmas cheer, English-style: a book tree.

Not only is this simple ornament and garland-covered book tree filled to the top with dictionaries, encyclopedias, poetry, writing guides, literary reviews, Norton Anthologies of Literature, film textbooks, and that smell of old paperback books we English nerds get high off of, but there are also books our faculty wrote stuck in the boughs to showcase the accomplishments, dedication, and love they have in the field. At the top of the tree is a star being held up by none other than a box of paper clips of course. Inspired even further, I created a Happy Holiday’s banner made from art clippings of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Since the tree has been up, I’ve heard many compliments from our faculty, our English students, and even students from different majors chatting about it in the hallways. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” in an English department more than a book tree and a little Dickens! Enjoy!