The first day of the annual Festival of Trees at USU required creativity and teamwork as the second floor lounge area of the Taggart Student Center was filled with clubs, organizations and groups of friends all working to create uniquely decorated Christmas trees on Monday evening.

For $10, students were able to reserve a tree to decorate. Fake skulls, airplanes, unicorns and emojis were just a few of the decorations that topped trees throughout the room.

The tree-decorating event has been a staple during the weeklong Festival of Trees for the past 10 years and every year the themes get more and more creative. Some of the trees related directly to the clubs that decorated them and others were simply for fun.

Maddie Alder sent a text to her siblings on Sunday night asking for last-minute support in designing a tree for this year’s festival. They immediately jumped on board by printing off pictures of Justin Bean, a USU basketball player, and bought jelly beans and pinto beans to string across the tree.

“This is the ‘Alder Tree’ and we couldn’t be more proud,” Alder said, pointing the the tree behind her. “And we aren’t showing any favoritism, the whole team will be featured.”

The trees will remain displayed in the TSC where students and visitors can look around and vote for their favorite tree. On Thursday, the winner of the best decorations will be announced and the trees will be donated to local families in need.

Grace Cuttle, a member of the traditions committee at USU, said she loves how many people get involved and share their creativity.

“This is only my first year being involved,” Cuttle said, “but it is so fun and is such a great cause.”

Hunter Doyle helped decorate a tree decked out in red ribbon and candy canes. As a member of the USU hockey club, he wanted the tree to incorporate the sport. He turned to his grandmother, a big fan of the team, for help in making personalized hockey pucks which also adorned the tree.

“There is an incentive to win because I’d love to say I won, but either way, it brings Christmas joy to people’s homes," Doyle said. "And that makes it worth it.”

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