With the holiday season come delicious food, great gifts and time spent with loved ones. Although a college campus may not immediately come to mind when thinking of the holidays, it can be one of the most fun places to celebrate! If you’re not sure how to make the most out of this season while you’re away from home, we’re here to offer you a guide to both traditional and exciting ways to have an incredible holiday season on campus.
1. Host an “Around the World” Holiday Party
If you live on a college campus, you’ve probably met someone from a city, state or country you’ve never been to before. Take advantage of that fact this holiday season and celebrate it!
“Last year, right before finals week, my house decided to have an around-the-world theme party for the holidays,” says Christina, a junior at the University of Delaware. “We did a lot of research and also asked our neighbor, who happened to be from South Africa, to help us and eventually each room in our house was transformed into the holiday season in a different part of the world.”
How can you make this party fun and affordable for you, the host? “We asked everyone to bring one thing, whether it was food, drinks or a decoration,” Christina says. “We were pleasantly surprised people actually did their research and got really into it. Some people even came in costume!”
The key to pulling off this party is to do a little bit of research. Look up the holiday traditions in different parts of the world and focus on clothing, food and music to make your friends forget that they’re on campus!
2. Have an Ugly Christmas Sweater Block Party
Calories don’t count during the holiday season, right? We don’t think so! If you’re looking for an excuse to indulge that sweet tooth while also socializing with your friends and neighbors, there’s no better place to do that than on a college campus.
So what’s the perfect way to make cooking (and eating) more fun this season? Do it by giving the classic ugly Christmas sweater party a twist: making it into a themed block party where each house on your block (or apartment on your street, or dorm room on your hall) provides a holiday food and/or drink as the residents go door-to-door in your best ugly sweaters.
Try these classic seasonal treats that will leave your friends talking well into the new year:
- Sugar Cookies: During the holiday season, the sugar cookie is your edible canvas. Get creative! Use cookie cutters (or freehand if you’re feeling ambitious) along with a variety of colored icing to bring all of your personal favorite holiday characters to life. After all, a cookie just seems to taste better when it’s shaped like Rudolph, right? Try this easy sugar cookie recipe from Allrecipes.com.
- Eggnog: Take it or leave it, eggnog is a staple drink of the holiday season. It’s extremely easy and affordable to make in large quantities (almost all of the ingredients can be found on a basic grocery list), which make it the perfect drink for those who want to sit and stay or those who want to take it on the go. Try this easy recipe from Allrecipes.com.
- Deviled Eggs: An appetizer that’s especially popular during the holiday season, deviled eggs are easy to make and are perfect for guests on the go. Looking for a low-calorie option? Look at these tips from Eating Well for ways to make this classic recipe one that will allow you to keep both your holiday spirit and your figure.
3. Transform Your Room
The holidays are the one time a year where it’s totally acceptable to cover your room wall-to-wall with thematic décor. This year, make it a bonding experience! If you live in a dorm on campus, make decorating an activity that your whole floor can get involved in by turning it into a contest and asking your RA to judge whose room shows the most holiday spirit. Live off campus? Turn decorating your house or apartment into a contest between your block or apartment building and encourage everyone to show who can turn the holidays into a fun and stylish experience!
Amanda, a student at the University of Maryland, says that decorating for the holidays brought her closer to her friends. “When I transferred to Maryland my sophomore year, I didn’t know very many people and lived in a dorm,” she says. “When December came around, I decided to decorate my room and went all out. People kept stopping in and telling me what a great job I had done. I ended up meeting my best friend that way!”
Decorating for the holidays can be an overwhelming job, but making it a group activity takes the stress away and ensures memories that will last far beyond the holiday season. To start: try hanging lights like these on your door or across the wall.
4. Have a Holiday Movie Night
While the holidays at home are for delicious food and ultimate relaxation, on campus the arrival of the holiday season means frantically preparing for final exams and finishing up those last-minute assignments before your professors submit your final grades. With all the stress that the month of December brings upon students, it can be hard to remember that you should enjoy the holidays on campus! A quick way to put the end-of-semester stress on hold to absorb some holiday joy is to watch a collection of holiday movies.
Every collegiette knows the healing power of a movie night, and the holidays are the perfect time to get your friends together to watch the classics that are sure to get rid of your finals-induced worries.
Our all-time holiday favorites:
- Elf: Arguably the most quotable holiday movie of all time, this is the perfect flick to watch with friends when you need to unwind and have a laugh.
- Miracle on 34th Street: Rule of thumb: If a movie is played on television every single holiday season since it came out in 1947, it’s worth watching. This feel-good film is perfect for a low-key date night or a girls’ night in.
- Love Actually: This is the perfect holiday movie for all of the rom-com aficionados out there. Whether you’ll be spending the holidays with a romantic partner this year or enjoying every moment of spending the time with your best friends and family, this movie is perfect for anyone rooting for love during the holiday season.
5. Have a Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Secret Santa isn’t just for elementary schools and office buildings. This anonymous gift-giving activity is an easy (and fun) way to not only get your first gift of the season, but to get to know someone better as you figure out their likes and dislikes to ensure that you give her the perfect gift.
Have the all-too-common collegiette problem of having little cash to spend at the end of the semester? Put a fun spin on your Secret Santa by requiring that everyone make his or her gift rather than buy it! You could make and paint candles (take a look at this fun idea from Candle Help), decorate a glass set or make a snack jar (and fill it!)
These exciting ways to celebrate the holidays on campus don’t require excessive time or money (every collegiette’s dream!), but when done with roommates, classmates or even people you’re just staring to know, they can provide memories that will last a lifetime. Make the most of these activities by involving as many people as possible; you may even start your own seasonal tradition!
Happy holidays, collegiettes!