There’s no need to complain that there’s nothing to do over winter break; what you put into your vacation time is ultimately what you get out of it. If you approach the upcoming few weeks with optimism and add a little creativity, you’ll be sure to have a good time. And if you can’t think of anything, HC has provided a list of fun things to do that you can refer to as a guide.
Take a trip with Contiki
If you feel the need to explore and see things greater than the views of your backyard or local mall, then there’s no better way to travel than with Contiki, a travel company that offers trips to more than 46 countries and six continents for those between the ages of 18 and 35—perfect for college students. Whether you wish to go to London and Paris or tour New Zealand, Contiki offers tour guides who will plan everything for you so you don’t have to. Forget stressing over hotel choices and picking out restaurants; with Contiki, you still call the shots, but experienced guides will help you get there. If you’re planning on going alone, Contiki will also help set you up with a tour mate so your trip doesn’t feel bigger than you are. And with a stress-free schedule abroad, you’ll also have time to explore the sights (and perhaps run into a few locals) who know a thing or two about a candlelit dinner).
Throw a white elephant party
Gift exchanges with friends are always fun, but what can be funnier than exchanging gifts that nobody really wants? Throw a white elephant party! The white elephant exchange is more about the entertainment than the greed that comes with trading random, burdensome gifts like rubber chickens. Not only is it creative, but it’s also a great way to bring your friends together during the holidays. Invite a few of your friends to make it a light-hearted get-together and plan the party at least three days before Christmas to ensure that not too many of your friends will have travel or family plans. If a lot of people end up RSVPing, plan a potluck, too, so everyone can enjoy an assortment of snacks while they converse. And, of course, pick out the perfectly useless (if not horrible) gift for the exchange, such as a hair removal kit or a book bag with cats all over it. Now that’s one night everyone will remember from their winter break, and you’ll be the one to thank for it.
Head over to the ice rink
Ice skating is a typical December activity, but you really can’t go wrong with a day at the ice rink. Ice skates are cheap to rent at the rink and you can glide on the ice as long as you’d like. Make it a day outing for you and your bored friends and enjoy dragging your friends down with you when you fall, or even make it a fun date night for you and your significant other. There’s nothing more romantic than holding hands while skating and cuddling over cups of hot chocolate from the snack bar. UC Irvine sophomore Kristin Oda cites ice skating as her favorite date night idea because “it’s cheap, it’s fun, and you two will have a great time laughing at one another when you trip on the ice.” The great thing about ice skating over winter break is that ice rinks are everywhere. If you can’t find an ice rink near you, there are typically pop-up rinks at local malls and amusement parks. You don’t have to be Michelle Kwan to get a kick out of this activity.
Plan a murder mystery night
There’s no better way to celebrate Christmas than by attempting to solve Santa Claus’s murder. Plan a fun, murder mystery game and get your friends involved. Search online for already-made scenarios, or, if you’re unsatisfied with those, write your own. Assign your friends random roles, establish a dress code depending on the theme, and decorate your house accordingly. It’s a realistic game of Clue that requires critical thinking, scheming, and scandal; what could be more compelling?
Go to the movies (in your own living room)
Who says you have to leave your house to have a fun time? With the right people and the right ideas, you can turn your boring home into a theater megaplex. Invite a few friends over and have everyone bring their favorite movies according to the theme you designate. Since it’s the holidays, consider making it a Christmas movie night with movies such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, and A Christmas Story. Throw bags of popcorn in the microwave, build a comfy fortress in the living room made of pillows and blankets, and turn off all the lights for the ultimate movie theater experience. A movie night in is also a great free date night idea for you and your main squeeze.
Make a gingerbread house
You can’t have a fulfilling winter break unless you build your own gingerbread house. There’s something oddly calming about do-it-yourself projects that require concentration, especially if you make everything from scratch (although there are gingerbread kits out there for those of you who are cooking challenged). You are the architect of your own home, and yet, you are also the destroyer—the houses can often be even more fun to eat than to create! This is a fun activity to do with friends or family, and once you finish and take a couple pictures, you get the honor of devouring every last gumdrop doorknob.
Try one of these fun ideas to liven up your winter break and give you something to miss when you go back to school. If you head into the holidays with a positive attitude and an open mind, you can turn just about anything into a fun activity that you can enjoy with family and friends.
What are your favorite winter break activities? Leave a comment!