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The Rambler

How to survive the holidays: college edition


School is coming to an end and it is almost time to go home for the holidays.  
While Christmas break can be a fun time, it can also be filled with family tension and break the bank.


Every student dreads being bombarded with questions from family during the holiday season.

Have you decided on a major?

Are you dating anyone yet?

Do you have a job?

What are your post-graduation plans?

In addition to being bombarded with questions, you will also have to get used to living with your parents again. They may have certain house rules that you need to abide by and all of your college freedom is ripped away from you.

Balance time between family, friends, and yourself

When on break, it is easy to spend all of your time with friends that are back in town too.  You also may want to sleep through the entire break.  It is important to balance time with your family, friends and resting time for yourself.

Know expectations

At the beginning of break, be sure to communicate with your family. Will they be upset if you get home after midnight and haven’t been in touch with them all evening? Good communication can help prevent the little things from becoming a big issue.

Be patient and respectful

Lots of time with family can get on your nerves. It’s important to go into the holiday season with a good attitude. Even if you get frustrated with them at times, your family loves you and wants the best for you.



Create a budget

Decide how much money you want to spend on fun activities, gifts and other things over the break.  

Create a list of gifts

Know how many gifts you need to buy.  This includes gifts for family, friends, significant other and party gifts.  Determine a spending limit for your gifts and stick with your budget in this area.

Pay with cash

Avoid using your credit or debit card when paying for things during this holiday season, it will help you be more conscience of what you are spending and avoid going over budget.


Make more gifts at home

Handmade goodies can help stretch a holiday budget. Edible treats are a great gift for family members.  One great gift idea is to fill mason jars with cookie or hot chocolate mix and then add a nice ribbon tied around the lid.

Shop online

If you do not like to fight the crowds and store-hop to find the best bargains, online shopping is for you.  Who doesn’t love the thought of being able to accomplish all your shopping in your pajamas?

Buy bulk items when possible

Buying gifts in bulk can save you big bucks in the long run. If you find a great gift idea that you can use for most of your family or friends, buy it in bulk. Options for buying in bulk are available at stores like Costco, Sam’s Club or online.

Have fun

Do your research to find low cost holiday activities and events

You could spend $100 in an instant when it comes to holiday events. But if you are a typical college student, you don’t have money to spare.  Do lots of research on low cost Christmas activities in your area.

Spend time with friends

In addition to spending time with family, be sure to fit in some time with friends who are back in town for the holidays. The holiday season is a short time to reconnect with these people and being back with old friends can be a great way to relieve some stress.


Holiday breaks can be busier than your semester.  Be sure to use this time to refresh and recharge so you can return to school feeling your best.


Remember that sometimes it is okay to spend the night in. Get lots of sleep and don’t overload yourself with projects and work.


Take some time to relax mentally and focus on things you enjoy.  If art or reading is something enjoy, take a break and spend some time doing this.  If there is anything that you don’t have time for during the school year, but love to do, make time for it.


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How to survive the holidays: college edition