O’ Christmas Tree: Students put up Christmas decorations, not necessarily for religious aspect


Laasya Mamidipalli

Sophomore Elle Nichol sets up miniature Christmas trees over her fireplace. Nichol said she incorporates her German tradition with Christmas.

Richa Louis

Like many people  during this time of the year, freshman Shreya Sinha has a Christmas tree full of lights and ornaments sitting prominently in her house. But Sinha isn’t a Christian, and she said she puts up the decorations for other reasons.

“We decorate (Christmas trees) because it’s fun, and it’s a great way to spend time with our family and friends,” Sinha said.

Sinha’s not alone; a recent study by Pew Research Center on holiday decorations shows putting up and decorating Christmas trees during the holidays is a common practice many groups, not just among religious ones. According to the survey, 73 percent of people who are not religious say they plan to have a Christmas tree this year.

The study also said, “In addition, fully eight in 10 non-Christians in America also celebrate Christmas, but most view it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious occasion.”

In this school, during this time of the year, the library is decorated with a variety of secular and religious decorations. The library brings out multiple books about different celebrations around the world. However, the most noticeable decoration is the Christmas tree at the entrance.

Theresa Ramos, department chairperson of media and communications who is also in charge of decorating the CHS media center during the holiday season, said, “For some people it’s religious, for other people it’s just what they’ve always done in their family. For whatever reason, that’s what they’ve grown up with, whatever it may be, and so for those people it’s not a religious connotation at all it’s just what they do. I don’t know who stops to think about it anymore.”

Sinha said she agrees with Ramos that some decorate because it’s something they’ve always done.

“We decorate our tree with old ornaments that my brother and I made because it’s a memory of when we were little,” said Sinha. “(I also decorate) because all my friends do it, and they come to help so it’s nice to see how they spend their holidays.”

Sophomore Elle Nichol said she celebrates Christmas for its religious aspect but also ties in her German heritage as well. She said Christmas is a big deal at her house and her family starts decorating directly after Halloween.

Along with decorating Christmas trees, Nichol said she incorporates her German traditions, such as putting a pickle on the tree. Whoever finds it first gets an extra gift.

She said, “It’s been a huge thing in my family for decades; we just want to carry on the tradition.”

While she does celebrate for the religious aspect, Nichol said, “It’s always good to know what you’re celebrating because when you’re putting up lights, you’re just putting up lights and you don’t know exactly why you’re doing it,” Nichol said. “(In the end), Christmas is about family.”