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How To Survive The Holidays in your Hometown

Let’s face it, college is stressful, and with winter break right around the corner, most college students are looking forward to time off from doing any work. The only part is, that break involves going back to your hometown, and if you’re anything like me, the thought of going home for the holidays is one that I’m definitely nervous for. I love college. I get to be independent, I met my best friends here, and I have pretty much any restaurant I could ever want within five miles, which is very different from my small town in Pennsylvania. So, going back home for almost a month will be a bit of a readjustment. There are definitely pros and cons to spending that much time at home, but here are eight ways to make the transition easier and get the most out of your winter break.

Be a tourist in your hometown

Whether you lived in your hometown your entire life or moved there recently, a great way to spend your winter break is by appreciating all of the little things that you may have overlooked while you lived there. Try out restaurants that you never got the chance to go to or see if there are any new small businesses that have opened since the last time you were home. You would be surprised how many cool things are around and places that you will miss once you don’t live there anymore!

Get into the holiday spirit

Winter break is the perfect time to get into the holiday spirit! With the extra time on your hands, you can do all of the things that made the Christmas season magical as a kid. My personal favorite Christmas activity would be Christmas shopping. I love picking out presents to give to my friends and family. Plus, the Christmas displays at stores are always so fun to look at. Another great way to get into the holiday spirit would be by baking cookies and making gingerbread houses. Spend some time helping your family decorate the house and put up the Christmas tree. If you live somewhere it gets cold, try ice skating on a lake, skiing, or sledding.


Practicing self-care throughout the whole year is so important, especially during those dark and cold winter months. This is a great opportunity to take a break from the fast-paced college environment to just relax. Treat yourself to some spa nights by pampering yourself with a nice body scrub and your best products. Spend time doing your favorite hobby that brings you the most joy. I love to read whenever I get the chance. A book that is perfect for the holidays that I recommend is “One Day in December” by Josie Silver.

Spend time with family

This may be a given, but I truly believe it’s so important to spend time with your family over winter break. If you live far away from college like I do, seeing family does not happen very often. I don’t get to go home over the weekends because of the distance, and I’m lucky if I get to see them once a month. The holidays are meant to be spent with your loved ones, whoever that may be to you. This is the time of the year to spend being together and catching up on all the missed time while away at college.

Be productive

For me, the hardest part about going home for winter break is not having something to do every day to keep me busy. Some ways to stay productive while at home include keeping up with studying, picking up a part-time job, staying organized, going to the gym, or taking an online class. Just doing small things every day to keep yourself on track ensures you won’t become too overwhelmed when next semester rolls around.

Stay connected with friends from high school or college

One of my favorite parts of college is being surrounded by my friends 24/7. They have become like family to me. One great way to make the time away from them go a little bit faster is to make sure to reach out to them. A call, text or FaceTime with a close friend is sure to brighten both of your days, especially if you’re missing them. While home, try to plan a fun get-together with friends from high school who are also home on their winter breaks. This is a great opportunity to spend time together and fill each other in on what life has been like after graduation!


In high school, volunteering was such a huge part of my life. I loved getting involved with my school’s community service projects. In college, I found it to be harder to find the time and places to volunteer, but what better time than the holidays to give back. There are so many opportunities within the community to help out during the Christmas season. Find the organization that’s best for you and donate some of your free time to making someone else’s holiday season a little bit brighter!

Get ready for the new semester

With having the last month of the 2021 off, this is a great opportunity to unwind and reflect on the past year. I would take some time to write down what you are grateful for and what you have achieved in 2021, as well as goals and plans in 2022. Think about who you want to be starting in the New Year, so you can come back from winter break refreshed and ready to take on the spring semester!

Gabriella is a writer for the University of Alabama chapter of Her Campus. She is a freshman studying Fashion Design and English with a minor in Creative Writing. She is actively involved in her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, and loves spending time with her friends. Her dream in life is to move to New York City to start her own fashion line and become a published romance novelist.
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