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How to Get in the Holiday Spirit (Even During Finals!)

I don’t know about you all, but for me, December used to mean holiday parties at school, holiday movies on TV, and nonstop consumption of candy canes and chocolate gelt. I say used to because those good ol’ days are no longer. December is dead: Holiday happiness replaced with exam anxiety. “The Polar Express” replaced with polar coordinate calculus notes. Candy canes replaced with caffeine. What happened to the celebratory Decembers of my childhood? Now, the only thing I’m celebrating is the end of my final exams.

Check out how you can get in the holiday spirit (even during finals)!

  1. Decorate your room.
    Decorating your dorm room is a great way to keep your spirits up during finals! Add some festive decorations that’ll make you smile when you walk in. My favorite idea: Using your old math homework to make paper snowflakes after your final exam.
  2. Peppermint mochas
    Treat yourself on your next caffeine run and grab a peppermint mocha! Nothing could be better than caffeine and the essence of December together in one cup!
  3. Watch a holiday movie.
    Reward yourself with a long break! Watch a classic holiday movie and enjoy some treats! You can’t go wrong with “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” or “It’s a Beautiful Life.”
  4. Have a gingerbread house-building contest.
    Grab some friends and have a gingerbread house-building contest! This is a super quick way to spend some quality time with your friends and have a yummy snack! Maybe you can even try applying some of those concepts from your physics class when you build yours…?
  5. Holiday music
    Take advantage of the hundreds of holiday playlists on Pandora and 8tracks, among other sources. Even if you’re like me and listen to holiday music year-round, there’s always something special about hearing classic holiday favorites during December.
  6. Gift Exchange
    Celebrate the holiday season and the end of the semester with a gift exchange! Make it a secret swap or white elephant to keep it exciting!
  7. Have an awkward holiday photo contest.
    Snap a quick pic with your friends or your lab group and take an awkward holiday photo! This is a great way to de-stress during exams (especially if you are on the receiving end!).
  8. Take a walk and enjoy the ‘winter’ weather.
    Next time you need a study break, head outside for a walk to enjoy the ‘winter’ weather, even if Durham’s version of winter is 65 and sunny.
  9. Enjoy time with your friends at Duke.
    The majority of Duke students return home for the winter vacation to spend the holidays with their families. Before you leave, don’t forget to spend some time with your Duke family!
  10. Give back.
    While many associate this month with family time and gifts, it’s important to remember that not everyone is as fortunate as you might be. Take advantage of your next study break to do something for someone else. Buy coffee for the person behind you at VDH, or offer to help a friend with a tricky subject!

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