BYU decks its halls for the holidays

A set of partially-lit Christmas trees sit in the Harris Fine Arts Center. Student custodians and other physical facilities employees work hard to bring these decorations to campus. (Lexie Flickinger)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on the BYU campus, thanks to university custodial workers from the Physical Facilities Division.

A lot of work went into the decorations, according to sophomore sociology major Kelsie Morgan who works as a student custodian in the Wilkinson Student Center.

“We started right after Halloween,” Morgan said. “So we’ve been putting things up for probably a month.”

According to Morgan, typical student custodial work involves inspecting and cleaning restrooms, emptying hundreds of trash bins, setting up for campus events and cleaning the small details others tend to miss.

Putting up the Christmas decorations was a welcome change of pace, Morgan said. “It wasn’t even Thanksgiving, and you’re listening to Christmas music.”

Morgan described the effort as a social experience. Student custodians normally work alone, so they enjoyed working together to assemble the decorations. “We got to know each other really well,” she said.

Sophomore English education major Avry Towne agreed, saying “it’s a nice break in the routine.”

Decorating buildings is more enjoyable than normal cleaning work, though it is no less difficult, Towne said.

“Lighting trees is a lot more complicated than what we normally do,” she said. “If you make a mistake, you have to do the whole thing over again.”

Towne said the trees looked artificial, but are, in fact, decorated by hand. She described the decoration process as “going back and forth, weaving between branches, evenly distributing lights.”

According to junior political science major Tyler Ryan, a student custodian, the goal was to conceal the electrical cords connecting the lights as much as possible and get at least one light on each tree branch.

Ryan estimated there are at least 54 trees in the Wilkinson Student Center. Students decorated some trees quicker than others.

A 14-foot Christmas tree in the Wilkinson Center Garden Court took no less than 25 hours to assemble and light, Ryan said.

The Joseph F. Smith Building houses foreign language departments. Building supervisor Alma Alvarez said each department has a Christmas tree, making “working on campus even more pleasing.”

“I appreciate every department’s effort to bring in the Christmas spirit,” she said. “It’s a fun tradition.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email