2 White & Hispanic teens in party dresses holding light string by Christmas tree

5 Fun Ways to Get Ready for the Holidays as a College Student

It's that time of year again! You may be pining for winter break, but there are plenty of ways to get in the holiday spirit while you're still on campus.

It’s officially that time of the semester when everything is winding down: Daylight Saving Time has ended, finals are approaching, and students everywhere are in a frenzy about how everything is due all at once. It’s also the holiday season, which means we have to think about gifts and see 10 million Christmas commercials over and over. Regardless of whether you actually enjoy the holiday season, here are five ways to make the most of it before you head home for winter break.

1. Clean and decorate your dorm room

Okay, I don’t want to sound like your mom, but the nagging is necessary here. It's always a good thing to have a clean room, and the process of cleaning it could actually help you de-stress and refocus (think about the New Year). Also, decorating can be a lot of fun, even when it’s not holiday themed. Go ahead and take a few minutes (or hours) to scroll on Pinterest and Tumblr for inspiration. It’ll be fun decorating, and if you only clean a little, you’ll at least sleep a little better knowing that you won’t trip on something when you wake up.

Related: Operation Anti-Clutter: How to Clean Up Your Dorm Room

2. Have a Netflix or Hulu marathon

We all have a couple (or several) shows and movies on Netflix and Hulu that we’ve been meaning to sit down and watch. It doesn’t matter if you want to watch what’s popular, just released, or every Christmas special in the Netflix queue. It also works with ABC Family’s annual “25 Days of Christmas.” You can watch by yourself or with a group of friends, or Netflix and chill with that special someone. (Just be careful with that last option.)

3. Search for holiday specials from your childhood

You know the ones I’m talking about—the shows we all wish were still on TV: Kim Possible, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, The Proud Family, That’s So Raven, Even Stevens, Lilo & Stitch, Hannah Montana, Recess, Hey Arnold!, Rocket Power. Search hard for the special Christmas episodes online. The holidays can get a bit nostalgic anyway, so what better way to get into the spirit than with the shows we watched as kids?

4. Volunteer

Every year, my family goes around the table at Thanksgiving and says one thing we're thankful for. Sadly, I couldn’t make the trip back home for Thanksgiving this year, but the tradition and reflection surely hasn't left me. It's important to take a second and think about the many things we each have to be thankful for. There are so many people out there who may need to just see a friendly smile and hear a few words of encouragement, and that will be something that they are thankful for. Volunteering is always a great thing to do, and you'll leave with a wonderful feeling after.

5. Be prepared for the endless questions from family

How was this semester for you? What’s your GPA? What’s your major again? What are you going to do with that? Have you met any new friends? What clubs have you joined? Why did you choose that one? There are literally infinite questions that your parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and just about everybody else in your family can and will ask. Be completely prepared to feel like you’re being interviewed for a job based on how well this semester went.

Related: 5 Ways to Keep Your Mental Health in Check Over the Holidays

These are just a few things you can do to prepare for the holidays in college and distract yourself from finals. Enjoy this magical time of year—it goes by way too fast!

Not sure what you're going to do over your month-long vacation? Check out our videos on The Best Ways to Stay Busy and Give Back During Winter Break for some ideas.

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