As the semester draws to a close and finals start looming around the corner, students and teachers are preparing for the moment the clock rings, and the papers are turned in, marking the official beginning of winter break. One teacher, however, is staying in Clarksville for the holidays.

Prof. Marisa Sikes, teacher of early British literature, moved from Albuquerque to Clarksville alongside her husband, dog and two cats last year.

“This will be my second Christmas here,” Sikes said.

Sikes said that, unfortunately, their relatives would be unable to join them this season.

“Both sets of our parents live in Florida,” Sikes said. “It makes it difficult for them to join us.”

Sikes remembers a local tradition of lighting candles, which were placed in sand-filled paper bags and used in replacement of traditional Christmas lights.

“There are electric ones,” Sikes said. “Those are less prone to causing fires as the real candles.”

Beyond candles, Sikes does not decorate much of the outside of her house.

Inside the house, she and her husband set up two Christmas trees. The larger one is placed in the living room and holds all the large, fancy ornaments, but there is a smaller one upstairs.

“That one has small, wooden ornaments,” Sikes said. “These are hand-painted by me and my mother-in-law.”

This will be her dog’s first Christmas.

“We adopted her last May,” Sikes said. “She’s a chocolate lab mix.”

While celebrating the holidays, there are still school-related tasks that need to be done. In particular, Sikes will be preparing for a course about Zombies for the upcoming spring semester: ENGL 460I: Zombies in Film and Literature.