The last leaves have fallen off from our beautiful Canadian maples and November is in full swing. For many of us, this means breaking out the Christmas trees and blaring holiday music on the radio. However, for those in university, getting in the spirit can be tough alongside huge projects and cumulative exams. In this week’s article, I have ten suggestions that you can start incorporating into your free time to start feeling festive amidst your hectic schedule.
This is a simple one. With the colder weather coming in and our heaters turning on, it’s the perfect time to break out our warmest, cuddliest clothes. Whether this is a warm jacket, robe, fuzzy socks, or a cute PJ set, it’s time to bundle up. While you’re at it, grab a blanket and put on your favourite holiday film and take a study break!
Photo by Rosie Kerr
CRANK UP THE CHRISTMAS TUNES
The fact that Christmas music is already on the radio makes me feel better that I’ve already made my own playlist. Whether your study session calls for a quick dance break or you desperately need something to look forward to, music always does the trick! Depending on what you like to listen to, songs are also a great way of reminding us of the beauty of the season. While some songs are light and fun, others call us to consider others and the true meaning of Christmas. Take your pick! Some songs that I love are John Lennon’s, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” and Boney M’s, “O Come All Ye Faithful!”.
Photo by Mariah Ashby
HAVE SOME HOT COCOA (Maybe some cookies too, shh!)
Why have milk when you can have some hot cocoa? Hot chocolate is the perfect mix of indulgent and comforting, and pairs perfectly with your favourite movie or cookie. Not only is it a great way to warm up your hands from the frigid weather, but it’s also delicious!
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DOCUMENT YOUR GLEE
During this time of year, it is often easy to get swept up in the glitz and gifts of it all. However, it is important that we don’t lose sight of the meaning of the season. Writing in a journal helps us to become more aware of the immaterial gifts in our lives. This is a great exercise to help us practice getting into the right headspace, while keeping our priorities in check. Added bonus: you get to document great memories.
Photo by Trifon Yurukov
EXPLORE IN THE SNOW
While snow is not fun in March, it is a totally different story from November-December. There is nothing like a white Christmas and exploring the newly changed terrain can be a great way to appreciate just how magical this time of year is. Whether you’re by yourself or out with a group of friends, the activities are endless: tubing, snowboarding, skiing, sledding, skating, etc.
Photo by freestocks.org
THE GIFT OF GIVING
While it’s nice to be thought of, the act of giving is filled with more happiness than receiving. The gifts you give to your loved ones don’t have to be expensive; thoughtful gifts are always best. Putting that extra bit of love and thought into a gift is a great way to make someone in your life feel extra special – even if it requires a little preparation before hand! However, the act of giving should never be limited to gifts during the holiday season. Volunteering or spending time with those dealing with loss allows you to give them the gift of your time. Sometimes, the best gifts aren’t tangible and those are the most priceless.
GET AHEAD ON HOLIDAY BAKING (and eating!)
Perfecting the dish or dessert that you’re going to bring to your family’s or significant other’s house is a great task to dive into! Baking and cooking can be very therapeutic and practicing on your family beforehand takes some of the stress away. Snacking on some holiday flavors definitely brings us into the joys of the season. Having a couple treats around the house never hurt anybody – just make sure not to over do it!
Photo by Monika Grabkowska
VISIT A FESTIVE MARKET OR TREE LIGHTING
There are many Christmas markets that have already begun both at the local and city level. Christmas markets are a great opportunity to pick up some handmade gifts for yourself or someone on your list. Just paying admission and looking around is also a great option for a day out if you’re on a budget. Getting out to celebrate with others makes the experience all the more enjoyable and communal. These outings are a great way to get into the spirit if you’ve been slacking or if the holidays crept up on you this year. If you pick the right event, you may even be able to get your dose of food, decor, music and lights all in one! Oh my!
Photo by Sabri Tuzcu
HAVE A HOLI-DATE!
The holiday season is a perfect time for you and your significant other to have a cozy night in or a romantic and festive night on the town. The holiday season is a great time to give our relationships some extra TLC and invest extra time for the ones we love. Christmas is all about bringing ourselves closer to the ones in our lives that matter the most. This time of the year also brings a variety of special and cute date ideas. If you’re single, no worries! No one said you can’t go on a friendate!
Photo by Vince Fleming
DECK THE HALLS!
Finally, decorating your house is the ultimate immersive experience. Filling your space with festive decorations is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit! Cozy lights, Christmas trees, and nativity displays are all so beautiful to have in your home, and adds a touch of love to any room. Getting out the decorations and reorganizing is a fabulous way to switch gears and get into the holiday groove. Having reminders in your space helps you to anticipate the greatness that’s to come!
Photo by Nathan Anderson
Those are my ten easy tips that you can start implementing RIGHT NOW to get yourself feeling festive and ready to savor the goodness of Christmas! I wish all of you the best during this crazy, hectic season! Remember to make the time to enjoy special moments with your family and friends alongside your studies. Remember, the gift of giving is in the love we share and the time we give. Don’t forget the meaning of the season and spread your gifts to as many people as you can. Good luck and stay warm!