Students, teachers show off tree decorating skills


The formal Bergstrom family Christmas tree. Photo courtesy of Abby Bergstrom.

Amelia Havill and Alysha Wallace

While hunkered down for the holidays, one holiday tradition that can go on is the decorating of Christmas trees.

Biology teacher Jennifer Newell does multiple themed trees, which she decorates a week or so before Thanksgiving with her 2 sons. At home, Newell does classic Christmas themes, with a nutcracker tree, a gingerbread tree and a snowman tree. She also has a beach-themed tree, a reminder of the 5 years she and her husband spent living in Hilton Head Island.

In her classroom, Newell sets up a nerd-themed tree “decorated with things like cute animal ornaments, a mushroom ornament, petri dishes…you know, the usual.”

She uses all fake trees because of allergies.


Junior Sophia Mitton-Fry’s family has a very different approach. The Mitton-Fry’s have a very casual tree, using all sorts of ornaments.

“We have some collections of ornaments (for example, a lot of bird ornaments), but it’s mostly coincidental,” said Mitton-Fry.

The Mitton-Fry’s use a fake tree, and normally leave it up for about a month, but this year it has been up since last Christmas.

“We just never got around to it,” Mitton-Fry said, “plus we just really like having it up.”

Mitton-Fry says that the most memorable ornaments are the ones that she and her sisters made when they were little or the ones that her younger cousins have made over the years.

Freshman Abby Bergstrom enjoys the best of both worlds, with a formal tree set up by the window and a more causal tree with random ornaments. Also, each of the three Bergstrom kids has their own smaller tree set up in their bedroom.

Bergstrom has a very specific favorite ornament, “a little snowman with his nose broken off because he’s really cute.”

Abby Bergstrom’s favorite Christmas ornament. Photo courtesy of Abby Bergstrom

Teacher Jeremy Hopping is the only interviewee with a real tree. Hopping’s parents always got a real tree and his kids enjoy going out to cut down the tree.

“Having said that, every year when we take it down and all the dead needles get all over, we say that next year we will get a fake tree, but then we always forget about it,” Hopping said.

Hopping’s tree has many sentimental objects, still using an inexpensive star that he and his wife bought at CVS on clearance for their first tree together.

Likewise, Hopping’s favorite ornament is the first one he and his wife bought together, “which was another extremely cheap purchase.”


Obviously, students and teachers love to decorate for the holidays and everyone has their own way of doing it. Some may have five trees while others only have only one, some may have homemade ornaments while others have collectibles. Everyone decorates in their own way and everyone is different which makes the holiday season so special.

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