There’s nothing like the bittersweet feeling of being home for the holidays. The excitement of reuniting with old friends combined with the anxiety of running into an unfavorable ex can be a lot to take in. Perhaps it was an over-anticipated return to a world you may have outgrown, or maybe it was the refreshing escape from hectic college life you needed.
Whether you go to school in-state or across the country, going home after being away for three months can be difficult. Being at home after living under a rigorous college schedule can be quite the adjustment, so here are some of my favorite ways to pass the time this holiday season.
- Spend Some Time With Your Family
Home-cooked meals beat dining hall food any day, so take advantage of some of the perks that come with being home. After being away from your family for so long, make sure you really take the time to hang out again!
Try cooking together, watching a holiday movie, or even planning a family game night. Things aren’t the same as when you lived with your family 24/7, so make the most of the time you get to spend together. If you weren’t that close growing up, maybe take this time as an opportunity to rebuild your relationship on your own terms.
- Plan Day Trips With Your Friends
There is nothing like catching up with your hometown friends, but now that everyone has grown up, it can be harder to make plans around everyone’s busy schedules. This means making plans way in advance so that everyone can get together!
Instead of last-minute coffee runs, find a day when everyone is available and make a reservation somewhere fun! After being away from each other for a whole semester, there’s a lot to catch up on, so make sure you make time for it! If you’re not spending the day out on the town, have a well-deserved girls’ night in.
Something to keep in mind while you’re home is that winter break isn’t just for your hometown besties. Consider having your college friends come for a visit and introduce them to your neighborhood instead.
- Explore Your Hometown
When coming home, it only makes sense that you visit your favorite hometown spots that you’ve been missing while at college. But after a while, your go-to coffee order will get old. If being in the same place for too long makes you feel a bit claustrophobic, explore neighboring towns and branch out a little!
See what nearby areas have to offer, and maybe you’ll find a new spot to hang out at! It can be easy to get bored when you confine yourself to your familiar neighborhood, so don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown. You never know what you might find.
- Remember You’re Not In High School Anymore
It can be hard coming back to the same house you grew up in when you don’t feel like you’re that person anymore. College is such a transformative experience, and when you make it back to your hometown, it can feel like nothing has changed. Sleeping in your childhood bed can make you feel like you’re back to where you were two years ago before you learned to start living on your own.
This is the next chapter in your life, so only you can know what’s best for you. If that means not going out of your way to hang out with people you didn’t like in high school or prioritizing family time over friend time, that’s ok. Just because it feels familiar to get back into old habits when you go home for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to stick to what you know.