Celebrating the Holidays with Roommates of Different Religions

Before coming to college, I’d never celebrated any holiday other than Christmas. Which makes sense, considering I come from a Christian family. I was a pro at decorating the tree, sending the Christmas cards, and everything else that goes along with what being a Christian at Christmas entails. Maybe you and your roommates all celebrate the same holiday—or maybe you don’t. Regardless, here are some small ways to feel all the love that goes along with the season, religion aside.

Decorate with universal colors

If you and your roommates are fans of decorating for the season, Walmart and Target are the ideal places to pick up some inexpensive decor that is not only cute but universal as well! If you’re in a mixed religion room, looking for more generic holiday pieces in place of strictly Christmas or Hanukkah ones is the perfect way to not only include everyone but also to make sure no one feels as though their religion is being washed out.

There’s more holiday music than you think

Okay, we’re all college students here. We all love a good explicit song. Regardless if you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or anything in between, the lyrics to "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues is guaranteed to make everyone laugh and say ‘"true..." about other people in your lives. While it's about the events a couple goes through leading up to Christmas Eve, it mostly makes fun of everything that can possibly go wrong during the season. Go outside of the usual "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman" and find holiday songs that are more comical and satiric than religious—perfect for some holiday karaoke.

Host an ugly holiday sweater party

Now, I love Target more than what is probably healthy. I hold a deep, deep love for their sweater section. Let me tell you something: it is currently the first week of November and you know what’s already out? Oh, you guessed it: the ugly holiday sweaters. Pick a day, round up your roommates, and go find the absolute ugliest sweaters possible. It’s a great way to bond, and while you’re shopping you can plan your ugly sweater party. If Target isn't your place (weird flex, but okay), Goodwill, Walmart and almost any other large retail chain are sure to have cute yet ugly, affordable and quality sweaters that you can keep to wear for your next holiday outing.

Break out the family stories

The holiday season has always been a time for nostalgia, family and, if you’re from Florida, praying for cold weather. If homesickness seems to be hitting your dorm harder than expected, a great and effective way to express how you’re feeling is to tell stories from when you were younger. I know, it probably sounds counterintuitive, but it’s been found that you feel less anxious, homesick, or nostalgic by just talking about how you’re feeling. Showing old pictures, drinking hot chocolate, and telling your best holiday stories is the perfect way to bond with your roommates and talk about what’s on your mind all at once.

Thanksgiving? More like Friendsgiving

A tried and true way to put aside all religious activities and just celebrate the time you have together is hosting your own Friendsgiving. By now you're probably extremely familiar with how Friendsgiving works. Each participant brings their favorite side dish, dessert, or homemade turkey hat. Now I know Thanksgiving doesn't exactly have the most moral background, but it's important to remember that you can entirely separate the actual Thanksgiving from your little get together. Friendsgiving is the ideal way to come together, share a meal and just laugh with the ones you love over some delicious food. 

"The Great British Bake Off," but holiday edition

Okay, so I know we’re not in Britain, and I know we’re not all professional bakers. If you are, I envy you. However, family recipes and the traditions that go along with making them are vital to remembering who we are. Baking is a great way to relieve stress and get you into the season's spirit. When you're feeling overwhelmed, find some time to pull out the sprinkles, coconut, and cocoa and whip up some of your families favorite.

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