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The Top 10 Things to Bring Back With You From Winter Break


Heading back to school after Winter Break is almost like starting out a new semester, at least when it comes to stocking up on necessities. When you left your dorm room or apartment after finals, your snack stash had probably dwindled down to one last granola bar, and your super-sized bottle of shampoo from September was on its last drop. Now, as winter break draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about packing once again.

In our article “How Not to Over- or Under-Pack for Winter Break”, we told you what to bring home and what to leave at school. Now with spring semester just around the corner, here are the top 10 things to bring back with you after winter break.

1. Gifts and Gift Cards:

gift card holiday gift glittery snowflake

Asked mom for a new hair straightener for Christmas? Or a pair of cute earmuffs for Hanukkah? New presents can be overlooked when you’re packing since you’re not in the habit of tossing them in your back-to-school bags. Don’t forget to bring these new goodies with you! If you were lucky enough to get a Starbucks card, gas card, or gift card to your favorite clothing store as a gift, make sure to also pack these with your back-to-school items. Gift cards are small and can easily be forgotten at home, so put these in your wallet or purse ASAP. You’ll be thankful you have them when you get back to campus. A free tank of gas, or coffee courtesy of Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe? Yes, please.

2. Winter Gear:

winter gear sweaters jeans ugg boots down jacket

If it hasn’t already been snowing at your school yet (*cough* Syracuse University), it’s bound to start happening in January (depending on where your school’s located, of course). Remember to bring all your snow necessities. Gloves, scarves, and snow boots should be on your list of things to pack. If you’re into outdoor sports, or are lucky enough to have a ski mountain nearby (and a way to transport the equipment!) bring your skis, snowboard, or ice skates. Winter is much more enjoyable when you can stay just as active outside as you are in the summer!

3. Self-Tanner:

The sun may still be shining, but you won’t be outside soaking it up without bundling up in coats and sweaters. To keep that summer glow (and skip the tanning bed), bring a bottle or two of self-tanner to school after winter break. Slather it on every morning after your shower and you’ll be golden just in time for spring break.

4. Space Heater

Your school or landlord probably heats your dorm room or apartment, but sometimes it’s just not enough to ward off those winter chills. No one wants to be shivering in sweatpants and two layers of sweatshirts while studying. If there’s no way that you can control the amount of heat, bring a portable space-heater to school. Plug it in next to you on the couch, or have it blow warm air on your toes under your desk. Depending on the size, these won’t take up much room in your car, but can make a big difference in keeping you warm and cozy until the snow starts to melt!

5. New Photos:

Whether your family loves taking photos around the holidays, or you finally get around to printing all the pictures of friends that you took over the semester, winter break is often photo-mania. When you head back to school in January, remember to bring a few new framed pictures of the family, or updated photos of your girls for all those bulletin boards on your wall. Bringing a couple new pictures is an easy way to give your room a fresh feel for the spring semester.

6. Summer Clothes:

This might seem silly since you’re also bringing all your winter gear, but you’ll want those shorts and bathing suits if you make any last minute spring break plans to head to Cancun. Don’t bring your entire summer wardrobe quite yet. Just grab enough for a week’s worth of vacation. A few pairs of shorts and tank-tops, sandals, and your favorite summer dress should do the trick. Throw all of it into a suitcase for a spring break-ready emergency kit! No need for Mom to mail you anything last minute.

7. Umbrella:

Burberry umbrella rainy day

Spring semester brings more than just snow. After March (or even during March) rain clouds may be a common site on your weather updates. Remember to bring an umbrella and rain boots for those days when you’re slogging through puddles on the way to class.

8. Clothes to Swap:

Go through your closet before you head back to school. Whatever you didn’t sell at second-hand stores to make a few extra dollars over break bring back to campus. Offer up any tops or dresses you haven’t worn in a while and let your friends take their pick. Who knows, maybe your BFF will be so excited to get that black top she loves of yours, that she’ll let you have the blue dress you’ve been eyeing in her closet but have never seen her wear.

9. Food from Home:

Mom you are really cooking poster

Maybe there’s a special cheese you love that you can only get in your hometown, or a favorite dinner of mom’s that you haven’t learned to cook for yourself yet. Before you leave home for school, ask mom to cook (or help you cook) a few meals to take to school. Also stock up on those foods that are hard to find anywhere away from home, like bagels from your favorite bagel shop. If you’re flying, it may be hard to bring any prepared meals from mom, but if you drive to school, the best way to transport food is to freeze it in a plastic container a few days before you leave. Pop the container in a Ziploc bag, or several grocery bags (layered one inside the other), to keep any defrosting moisture from leaking onto your car seats, then throw them into your freezer as soon as you get to school.

10. Business Outfits:

Bring a few business outfits with you for interviews for summer or spring semester internships. Also make sure you have an iron at school (and we don’t mean a flat iron). That pencil skirt won’t look as great covered in wrinkles! Grab a few new pairs of stockings or tights as well. Especially if your interview is before the weather starts to get warm, you’ll want your legs covered.


Make these goodies part of your back-to-campus packing list and there won’t be any Mom-I-forgot phone calls.  Happy packing!

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