The last weeks of class between Thanksgiving Break and Christmas are the worst weeks of the semester. We've all gotten a taste of the holiday bug, and once we taste a several-day break, we sure don't want to be back in class. And of course, the period when students least want to be in class is probably the highest-stakes time of the semester. Final projects and papers are due. The last bit of information is being crammed in before the final day of class. Study guides (if any are given at all) are thrown together and studied. And then, once you experience the joy of the last day of class, you find yourself crammed in a dark corner of the library or other favorite study spot cramming for exams that will make or break your grade.
But during this über-stressful time of the school year, we need to remember to take a step back, take a breath, and enjoy a quick rejuvenating study break. And what better way to do this than to celebrate the upcoming holiday season? You're at school, surrounded by friends you probably won't actually get to see when the holiday rolls around, so celebrate with them now! I know it's hard to get people to put down the books and get together to celebrate, but we all do better on exams when we take an hour-or-so-long break every once in a while. Here are some suggestions for some fun, holiday-themed, study break ideas for you and your besties to try before you go home for the holidays!
1. Sing some Christmas songs.
Music is always a good way to take a study break. You can sing some songs with friends, listen to it to it while you study, or - if you're bold - go caroling around your dorms! "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."
2. Bake or decorate some Christmas cookies.
This is a fun, easy way to celebrate the holiday spirit. You can make it as easy as you want (just buy some pre-made dough and put it in the oven) or go all-out and bake some from scratch. Regardless of which route you take, you get a study snack in the end!
3. Go see the lights.
If your school is in a big city, I bet they have some sort of lights display that you can go to see. Or maybe just drive downtown at night and look at all the holiday lighting and window displays. But even if your school is in a smaller town, houses decorate! Go around and look (or judge) how different people decorate their homes. Some people go all-out, some go classy, and some.... not so much.
4. Watch a holiday movie.
Take your pick. You can go Hallmark movie. If you want action, you can watch "Die Hard." If you want funny, watch "Elf." If you want a long study break, you can watch the entire "Santa Claus" series. Or, my personal favorite, you can go nostalgic and watch classics from your childhood like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Nester the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey," or "A Year Without a Santa Claus."
5. Watch your favorite holiday episodes of your favorite shows.
Most shows, especially long-running ones, have at least one Christmas-themed episode. These air all the time throughout the month of December. If you can't find one on live TV, find your favorite show on Netflix or Hulu and binge a whole bunch of holiday episodes. Just make sure to include FRIENDS and "The One with the Holiday Armadillo." Classic.
6. Decorate a tree.
There is no excuse not to have a tree. If you're in a dorm, you can go buy a mini tree for like $10 and decorate it with your roommate. If you have an apartment or a house, you can go full-on home-for-the-holidays level decorations. Plus, you'll get another study break later when you have to take it all down.
7. Do a Secret Santa exchange.
This can be such a fun activity for busier friend groups. You can hide little presents for a secret Santa or have one big gift exchange after exams. Either way, it's always fun to get gifts, spend time with friends, and try to keep your Secret Santa a secret!
8. Drink some hot cocoa.
What better to stay warm with than a hot chocolate. After a long day of cramming homework and studying and fueling yourself with coffee, hot chocolate is a great drink to have to calm yourself down and relax.
9. Decorate ginger bread houses.
This can be messy, but it is always a laugh. You can make a joint house with friends, or have some good-natured competition. Just make sure you get some of the candy on the house before you eat it all!
10. Go ice skating.
I would advise actually being *good* at ice skating before adhering to this suggestion. If you don't, you'll just end up like me with an embarrassing broken appendage. But the fun is what matters, not the doctor's bills!
11. Go to a holiday parade.
Most big cities or small towns have some sort of holiday celebration in the month of December. It might be a parade, a tree-lighting ceremony, or maybe a festival of lights. Take a few hours of your weekend studying and go explore the holiday traditions of your college town!
12. Go see the Nutcracker.
A lot of schools have art departments that put on "The Nutcracker." If your school doesn't, it's likely there's a dance school or company in your college town that puts it on between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's a really fun night out with friends where you can get dressed up and get into the holiday spirit.
13. Buy each other board games as gifts, then have a game night.
Instead of a secret Santa, maybe do a gift exchange of board games. Once they're all opened, you can have a game night party and have games to play all next semester!
14. Go window shopping and look at the mall displays.
While we are all poor college students who can't afford all the luxuries of everything to buy at Christmas, it's still fun (but tempting) to go look!
15. Do some holiday crafts.
This can be as simple as coloring a picture or as creative as making a snow globe. You can make Christmas cards to send and surprise your relatives with. You can make something that could end up being a sentimental (and cheap) gift for someone you care about.
Whatever you choose to do this holiday season to get a break from studying, enjoy your time with friends and family!