The Christmas holidays are one of the longer stints of free time you’ll have as a student, and a perfect opportunity to catch up with family.
And because Christmas is a pretty awesome time, it’s also a great opportunity to do a bunch of other cool stuff as well. (Taste-testing every brand of mince pies comes to mind.)
Take a look at our ultimate guide on making the most of your Christmas hols this year. With these tried-and-tested steps, you’re guaranteed to make your break that bit more satisfying.
1. Help out with Christmas dinner
Your mum’s cooking may be the thing you’re most excited about this Christmas, and with good reason.
However, you’ve grown up a bit during this semester, and Christmas is a great time to prove it. Rather than letting parents wait on you hand and foot, help to prepare Christmas dinner. It’ll show you’re well on your way to becoming a grown up…as well as snag yourself a few extra roast potatoes.
Whether you’re having dinner at home or heading to a relatives’, the resources below will help you create something delicious.
A Student’s Guide: How to Cook Christmas Dinner – Cook Christmas dinner from scratch to feed a tribe, whether friends or family.
BBC Good Food Christmas Trimmings Recipes – some deceptively simple sides here, such as pickled red cabbage with walnuts and apple, and hazelnut & mustard carrots.
Jamie Oliver Christmas Side Dishes – Step by step instructions on how to make even the most basic Christmas dinner sides, from our mate Jamie.
Ultimate Christmas Dinner On a Student Budget – In case you’re tasked with being the main Christmas Day cook, this guide will help you out.
2. Spend time with family
Spending time with family is a bit of an obvious at Christmas. However, it doesn’t just have to involve vegging in front of the TV.
Play with your younger siblings; visit your grandparents; organise a family board game night. Whether indoors or out, the resources below will help you find plenty of things to do this Christmas.
And if family time for you doesn’t quite incite feelings of joy, there’s some articles that’ll help you deal with the tension and ensure you still have a happy Christmas.
8 Creative Christmas Eve Traditions to Make the Night Even More Magical – Okay, some of these are for kids, but if you’ve got younger siblings, they’re great (or even if not).
English Heritage Christmas Events 2017 – Few things are more magical than an English Heritage event. Check here to see what might be happening in your home town.
Home for the Holidays: Tips for Overcoming Anxiety & Stress – a must-read for anybody overwhelmed by family obligations, traditions or awkward relatives. Learn how to do things differently for a Christmas you’ll enjoy.
30 Fun Holiday Traditions – From ‘unusual’ Christmas tree toppers to Secret Santa with a twist, these holiday tradition ideas will help you change things up.
3. Make new memories with old friends
A big part of returning home for Christmas is seeing old friends you’ve not seen in ages. No doubt you guys will be getting together at the local pub, but adding a few extra activities into the mix can really help create new memories (though they may be dulled by alcohol).
33 Things to Do With Your BFF This Holiday Season – Gingerbread houses, sweet treats and crafts. There’s plenty of ways to reconnect with your BFF here.
11 Christmas Things To Do With Friends to Check Off Your Wish List – Some of these sound deceptively simple, yet may not be things you’d immediately think of.
50 Things to Do Together for Christmas – Whether it’s with your friends, family or significant other, this list will provide you with plenty of inspiration.
This probably sounds like the last thing on your mind, but staying (relatively) active over the holidays will do great things for your mood, your energy levels, and help you feel not so sluggish between all the festive food.
Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous. Daily walks, yoga, jogging and even sledding or snow-ball fighting all count. Trust us, your January self will thank you.
10 At-Home Workouts to Build Muscle in Under 20 Minutes – 20 minutes isn’t a long time, is it? You may find these workouts challenging, but just remember the Quality Street is waiting for you.
NHS Fitness Studio – These easy-to-follow workouts from NHS Choices help you work out from the comfort of your own home, even if you haven’t exercised in a while.
25 Ways to Exercise Without Realising It – Find some cool new ways to work out without realising it…as well as a tough talk on why you absolutely SHOULD exercise.
15 Surefire Strategies to Stay Fit from Thanksgiving to New Years – Okay, so we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. But these tips still apply.
5. Study…even just a little.
Yep, we hear you. Studying over Christmas is NOT fun.
However, it’s something you’ll want to do just a little bit of, at least, if you’re to make January less terrible.
It turns out that studying during the break doesn’t have to be so hard. Check out these resources below for working that brain in between box sets.
8 Revision Tips to Help You Nail the End-of-Year Exams – So we’re a little biased on this, because we wrote it. But you can absolutely still benefit from these time-saving study techniques.
How to Study During Holidays – Common sense tips that will go a long way toward minimising that workload.
How to Study Effectively Over the Holidays Without Burning Out – Learn what ‘effective study’ really means and how you DON’T want to go about it.
6. Bake tasty seasonal treats
Who can get through Christmas without baking up some sort of festive treat?
Not only does baking provide you with delicious things to eat, it’s also a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. So put on your apron and prepare to get messy.
25 Merry Christmas Treats to Make – A roundup of mouth-watering sweet recipes from various foodie bloggers. Those melted Snowmen Oreo balls look to die for!
Christmas for Kids Recipes – if you’ve got younger relatives around (or just fancy something super easy) then these recipes will help you out.
25+ No Bake Christmas Treats – For those too lazy to turn on the oven, these no-bake recipes will make cleaning up even easier (supposedly…).
The Greatest Guide to Vegan Christmas Desserts – Not to forget about any vegans, of course, this delightful list of festive desserts proves that compassionate can also be delicious.
7. Apply for internships and work placements
Though it doesn’t sound fun, winter is a good time to start looking out for internships and placements for summer or the following year.
That’s because many opportunities are advertised (and filled by) January. So you don’t want to leave it till spring to start applying.
Spending a bit of time over the Christmas break seeking out opportunities is a good idea, as it’ll make you aware of any positions that close during January 2018. It’s also a good time to start reviewing your CV and getting it up to date, as well as brushing up on your cover letter skills.
Here are some resources below to help you.
8 Ways to Find an Internship – Practical strategies you can apply to your search, during Christmas and beyond.
TARGETjobs Internships, placements & work experience – One of the UK’s most expansive and efficient database for finding placements and work.
Internwise – Create a profile, upload your CV, and create alerts for the types of industries/roles you’re interested in. You can also directly apply to opportunities through the site.
Internship Reviews – Find a list of companies offering paid internships in the UK, and how to improve your chances of getting one of these golden eggs.
How to Find a Work Experience Placement – Some tips from The Independent on boosting your chances of getting a placement you want.
8. Watch an entire box set (or five)
Few things beat telly watching as the most favoured activity of Christmas (after eating food, of course).
Christmas movies and the treasured TV guide will give your family plenty to gawk at this season, but if that’s not enough, here are some more ideas for your binging list.
The Best TV Shows to Watch on Netflix this Christmas – Radio Times gives its own rundown of the Netflix shows to watch Christmas 2017.
Ten Classic Christmas Movies to Binge-Watch this Season – Maybe you’ve seen these already; maybe you haven’t. But we believe you’ve still got to tick them all off.
The Best new TV Shows of 2017 – For anything you missed in 2017, now’s the perfect time to catch up.
The Best Christmas ‘Friends’ Episodes – Of course, it wouldn’t be a Christmas without constant reruns of ‘Friends’ in the background. This article rounds up the best of the Christmas episodes.
Christmas-themed TV Episodes to Watch on Netflix – Even if you don’t follow some of these shows, this bunch of Christmas-themed episodes will make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
9. Get organised for next semester
More dull organisation, we know. But, as with other things on this list, you’ll be thankful later. And the knowledge that the start of the next semester won’t be a total nightmare should make your festive break even more enjoyable.
Check out these handy links for getting organised for next semester.
Starting a New Semester: How to Get Organised & Maintain Long-Term Motivation – Start as you mean to go on and learn how to make your success sustainable.
10 Ways to Get Organised for the New Semester – No-nonsense steps to follow that’ll help you get your butt in gear.
How to Get Organised for the New Semester – More direct, important tips that you might not have thought about. Even just simple things like buying new textbooks can be a big help.
10. Give presents.
Lastly, of course, Christmas is going to inevitably involve some presents. Hopefully of the receiving kind.
However, Christmas isn’t just about what you can get, but about what you can give. Even if you can’t afford to spend much on gifts, it’s always the thought that counts.
Take a look at these links for some gift-giving inspiration this year.
The Complete Student Christmas Gift Guide for Everyone In Your Life – Another one of our own little guides. Still, we bet it can get you into someone’s good books.
Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide – If you’ve forgotten somebody or just want to throw an extra prezzie into the bag, this guide will help you out.
28 Ideas for Exchanging Christmas Gifts – Whether it’s your friends, colleagues or family, these 28 ideas will make gift giving as fun than the gifts themselves.
7 Fun & Creative Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas – Family Secret Santa can be a fun way to minimise the stress of gift-giving. However, these seven variations will help to liven things up.
How will you be spending your Christmas this year? Don’t forget to make sure you’ve got your accommodation sorted for 2018! Our range of luxury student apartments in Liverpool can help you out with that.