Holidays bring longing for home


Whether it’s a hop, skip and a jump down the street or a journey filled with planes, trains and automobiles, going home for the holidays is something many students look forward to. For the 66 percent of students from out of state and 6 percent of students from other countries, reunions with friends and family are sweet, and the smell of pumpkin pie in the oven is even sweeter. As the classic song says, “For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home.”

Although many students move out when they head to college, it seems most still consider home as the place they grew up or where their family is.

“When I drive through the canyon and I see Logan, it’s home to me,” said freshman Brianna Robison. “The area is home.”

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Decorating homes brings families together and adds distinction. Many students are looking forward to spending time at home during winter break.
Jeff Hill, associate professor in the school of family life, said many people consider the place they spent their childhood “home” because of the development and memories that took place there.

“It’s like a pilgrimage to go to a childhood home especially if you lived there for many years,” Hill said. “You formed great attachments there and those attachments are usually stronger and have been in place longer than the ones students have at BYU.”

Many students are eager to journey home for holiday breaks to gather with loved ones and congregate in a place filled with memories.

“The home is a sanctuary,” said Travis Hendershot from North Canton, Ohio. “You have the love of your family there. A family makes it that way when they decide to create that environment.”

Hill said a home is a place of safety, connection and warmth. By definition, he said, it is the sacred center of family life.

“Home is a whole set of rituals, traditions and ways of doing things,” he said. “It may or may not be functional.”

Values and traditions such as faith, prayer, repentance, respect, patience, order and forgiveness are key to a happy home, he said.

Robison said she loves to see her house decked for the holidays because it adds to the warm feeling of home. Such decorations, Hill said, create a distinctive identity for a family’s home and people form attachments to decorations. Colors and design of homes can make a drastic difference. Each element adds to the feeling of the home.

“Decorations too are a way of saying ‘we’re a family and we celebrate together and we are distinct,'” he said.

Robison and her roommate, Lindsey White from Los Angeles, plan on decorating their apartment to give it a little taste of home.

For those without a home, reality is often bleak, but thankfully shelters offer hope and assistance. Jill Giachino, who works at St. Anne’s Center, a homeless shelter in Ogden, said shelter is a basic necessity as she referred to Maslow’s prominent placing of it on the human’s hierarchy of needs.

“It’s so critical for people to actually have a place to call their own space,” she said. “It’s so critical for people’s success. That’s what we stress here and we try to get people housed.”

The shelter provides beds for individuals and rooms for families, as well as meals, hygiene supplies, clothes and toys for children, all of which help the shelter to feel homey and comfortable, Giachino said.

“We want it to be a home atmosphere,” she said. “Sometimes because of chronic homelessness this is the first time some of these families have ever had a home.”

The blessing of a toasty home full of love is one many students are grateful for this season.

“I’m overwhelmed with love when I’m home,” Robison said. “I’m comfortable and I’m accepted.”

To make the most out of time at home during the holidays, Hill advised students to not completely wear themselves out during finals so their time at home isn’t spent entirely catching up on sleep.

“Plan ahead and don’t procrastinate so you aren’t sick or tired on the breaks,” Hill said. “Then you can experience the rejuvenation of being home and enjoy relationships.”

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