As Aubrey Shaw and her roommates constructed a fake fireplace out of cardboard on which they could hang a set of stockings brandishing their names, they listened to the Mariah Carey holiday station on Pandora.
They strung lights throughout their space in the house they share with other renters and set up a tree. Shaw, a University of Idaho doctoral student, challenged her roommates to name the artists of the songs Pandora produced.
The decorations weren’t as extensive as the ones she grew up with, but Shaw said she and fellow UI students Chelsea Hogan and Keanna Hawk tried their best to fill their living space with holiday cheer.
“My dad, he loves lights and so he would decorate the outside of the house and our house literally looked like a gingerbread house,” Hogan said. “And then, inside the house we had two blue spruce trees — one in the family room and one in the living room — so my parents went all out. I really transferred it, so I love to decorate for Christmas.”
Shaw said she and her roommates share a passion, not only for decorating, but also for the Christmas season.
“I love it, it’s just — I don’t know — it’s just joyful,” Shaw said.
Growing up, Shaw said Christmas meant creeping down the stairs with her two older sisters before sunrise to peek at the presents Santa left under the tree and then darting back to bed, or dancing through the house to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” with her sisters.
Hogan said her passion for Christmas is rooted in the appreciative atmosphere the holiday season often produces.
“The holiday season, for me, is really about giving and being with family,” Hogan said. “It’s an exciting time. People are more thankful for what they have and you’re able to spend time with family and just kind of reconnect.”
She said the Christmas spirit came alive for her when she was about 11 or 12 years old.
“I was old enough to know Santa Claus wasn’t real, but my little brother didn’t,” Hogan said. “I actually spent so much time convincing him that Santa was real that I actally re-convinced myself.”
Similar to Shaw, Hogan said her family often made the Christmas season a valuable one.
“On Christmas Eve day, we’d go to my grandma’s house and spend the day sledding and doing bonfires and having our Christmas meal and being with my cousins and playing out in the snow,” Hogan said. “It was just so much fun as a kid.”
Now, an hour away from her hometown, the Idaho native said the lack of abundant Christmas cheer on campus is a little disappointing.
“Honestly, I mean, I passed through the Commons when Santa was there, but I haven’t seen much Christmas or holiday cheer,” Hogan said. “I mean, everyone’s super busy studying for finals and stuff, but I guess for me, it’s a little disappointing.”
While campus might not be as festive as Hogan would like, she said she’s happy that she and her roommates have managed to keep the Christmas spirit alive in their living space.
Corrin Bond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CorrBond