Lighting up the holidays

Taking a look at the diverse decorations of different MN students

Adithi Deeduvanu, Staff Writer

92% percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, 5% celebrate Hanukkah, and 3% celebrate Kwanzaa. Many celebrate more than one holiday. For a majority of Americans, the holiday season is the best part of the year. Whether it’s the weather, the presents, the food, or the joy, holiday time is magical for many. 

Arguably, the thing that makes everyone so happy about this time of year is the decorations. A study was even done by The Huffington Post, showing that holiday decorations increase dopamine levels. 

For some, decorating means putting up a Christmas tree, but for others decorating is going all out. Within our own community, many families decorate their houses extravagantly.

Freshman William Kalcevich’s family puts up around 1,500 lights per year. 

“There are individual bulbs that go around the brim of the roof and the gutter, there are lights on the trees, and some exterior lights in the yard,” Kalcevich said.

 For his family, decorating is a bonding activity. As they’ve been decorating together since before he was born. However, Kalcevich has been helping for as long as he can remember, helping his family put up lights and other decorations. 

Many different families have different reasons why they decorate. Some families decorate for religious reasons while others decorate as a habit. Last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people could not see their families, so they lost their traditions. Only now are people reclaiming the sense of unity that they might have lost last year. 

Winter can be rough for many people. The days are colder and darker and everything seems more gloomy. Which is why decorating can be the light within the darkness. 

“I love having Christmas decorations up. It is such a special time of the year and having the house decorated to match is incredible. The first time we plug in all our lights is always special to me. It may not be a huge spectacle, but it’s simple and something that has become a tradition,” Junior Emily Merten said.

Putting up the lights is an important part of decorating, and it is one of the main aspects of the tradition. But admiring the work you did and recognizing the community around you just adds to the holiday spirit. 

 “I love waking up in the morning and getting to see the tree glowing as I step into the hallway. It reminds of all the joy in the world and the privilege it is to get to celebrate in such a spectacular way,” Merten added.

When people decorate it is not only special to them, but also to those around them.

 “I think the holiday season, in general, can really bring communities together. Decorations create a positive atmosphere for everyone around,” senior Leah Hostetler said. 

Merten’s family is a real example of this. Her family decorates every year, but last year was a little different. Her family kept their lights up longer than usual, because of the community.

“We happened to keep our Christmas lights up through February last year just because we enjoyed seeing them and multiple neighbors were so upset when we took them down. Even though Christmas was over, the lights brought a little bit of joy to them each day,” Merten said.

Holiday lights, ornaments, and other decorations are a symbol of unity. Whether you celebrate or don’t, you can still feel the palpable joy in the air. For many families and communities, decorating is a ritual, a symbol, and most importantly a tradition. So this upcoming holiday season, brighten up the night with glimmering lights.