Pine needles cover the floor as each child puts up their favorite ornament they made at school. The parents wrap the tree in glimmering lights and after what seems like hours, the star is placed atop the tree; the Christmas season is ready to begin.
Students are bringing a similar scene to life in apartments of all sizes this holiday season by bringing home a Christmas tree — real or fake — to keep the tradition alive. While family members may be near or far, the tradition of setting up and decorating a tree is an easy way to feel at home in a homework-filled, dirty, laundry-covered apartment.
Tim Forsgren, 22, a sophomore studying accounting, and his wife Morgan, both from Bountiful, are sharing their first Christmas together as a married couple. Both Tim and Morgan have always loved Christmas and put up their Christmas tree the first week in November to enjoy their holiday decorations for as long as possible.
“Tim loves Christmas,” Morgan said. “In high school he would sleep next to the tree. I think having a tree separates you from feeling like, ‘I hate school, I don’t want to go through finals.’ Having a tree kind of brings you home to a good feeling and makes you excited for something that can be really fun, even if you’re going through finals or something that really stresses you out.”
Tim said he believes decorating for Christmas brings a better spirit into their apartment and helps him wind down and relax.
“It brings a good feeling in, like the Christmas Spirit,” Tim said. “It’s fun to come home from school and dim the lights and just have the Christmas tree lights on.”
Taylor Lansford, 21, a senior studying communications, and her sister, Rylie, a Utah Valley University culinary arts student, both from Dallas, put up their Christmas tree the day after Halloween and consider Christmas their favorite holiday.
“We figure that after Thanksgiving, which is when most people put up their trees, that we’ll only be here for two more weeks,” Taylor Lansford said. “So that’s not even fun or fair. So then we’d have to come back and it won’t be Christmas anymore. We want to get the most out of the Christmas season, so we put up our tree sooner rather than later.”
Being away from home, Rylie said she enjoys the Christmas tree in her apartment because it reminds her of her home more than 1,000 miles away.
“At home, a lot of people decorate the trees with their moms, and it’s a special memory,” Rylie said. “I love walking into my house in Texas and seeing all the decorations up. That’s what I want to feel when I’m here, I want to walk into my apartment every day and see our tree and think, ‘wow, this looks so festive.’ “