Utah State Today regularly highlights work created by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. The following story was published in The Utah Statesman prior to its inclusion in Utah State Today.
Though Christmas is largely celebrated by Christians, students at Utah State University enjoy the holiday in their own unique ways.
One of the most popular ways people will celebrate Christmas is gift-giving. For some, this symbolizes the items brought to the baby Jesus in the Bible. The three wise men brought the baby gold, frankincense and myrrh.
For others, giving gifts is significant around this time for other reasons. USU student Lauren Payne uses gift-giving as a way to express her love for the people she is close to.
“It’s just my love language,” Payne said. “I love when Christmastime rolls around because it gives me an excuse to get my loved one’s gifts that remind me of them.”
Decorations are also a big part of the holiday. Many represent things relating back to Jesus Christ. For example, wreaths are oftentimes believed to represent the thorns worn by Christ at the time of his crucifixion, candy canes represent the staffs held by the sheepherders in the story of the Bible, and the red berries on holly is supposed to represent the blood shed by Christ.
One of Payne’s favorite ways to celebrate the holiday is by making her own decorations.
“There is nothing more fun than sitting around, chatting with roommates and laughing about our inability to make paper snowflakes,” Payne said.
Payne also enjoys making popcorn garlands for her tree and crocheting holiday-themed sweaters for her cat.
One of the most universal decorations for Christmas is the decorated fir tree. According to USU student Whitney Boden, pagans were one of the first to use trees as decorations — though they did not use the whole tree, just the branches.
“The branches would hang from windows and over doorways during the winter solstice,” Boden said.
For Christians, the tree represents a variety of things, such as Christ and new life. USU sophomore Kaylee Bullock, has decorated her tree the same since she was a kid.
“There is a process to decorating a Christmas tree,” Bullock said. “You have to start with the ribbons and the beads and end with the snowflakes and poinsettias.”
Bullock looks forward to decorating her tree all year, as it brings her family together.
Even those who don’t identify as Christian can celebrate and enjoy this holiday. Emily Berry — a student here at USU — loves Christmas because she enjoys how the holiday brings everyone together through service.
“Something me and my family always do on Christmas Eve is bring a gas station attendant who has become a close friend Indian food,” Berry said. “This has become a tradition of ours, and not only does it bring him joy, but it brings us closer together as a family.”
Logan offers many different ways to offer service around the holidays. Whether it is just subbing for Santa, volunteering at a non-profit organization or shoveling snow for somebody who needs help.
“During the holidays I feel extra fortunate because of everything I have been given,” Berry said, “and I love to share that with those who are less fortunate because everyone deserves to feel the spirit and joy of Christmas time.”
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