When we were younger, the holidays were an exciting time filled with presents, treats and magic. It was all about the anticipation and excitement of the season. Looking back, we didn’t have a care in the world; when it snowed, we didn’t think twice about having to shovel or drive in it, it was simply there for snow days and forts.

Now, as adults, the holiday season brings along a few different emotions. We dread snowstorms because while they may cancel school, we also have jobs to worry about. Scraping off windshields and worrying about black ice are now in our daily routine. We worry about how to afford gifts for everyone on our list because as college students, we can barely afford Ramen much less presents for others. The holidays also bring the uncomfortable amount of family time you will be forced to spend, where you get to answer the always fun questions about your love life, grades and the future. Not to mention the pressure of finals shoved in our faces while we should be feeling the holiday cheer.

Being an adult, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the pressures of the season. It’s important to look back at how this time of year used to make us feel. Use these eight ideas to help you embrace this season rather than fall prey to the ways of the Grinch.

Stop and smell the holly

An easy way to get into the holiday spirit is to simply take a look around. Everywhere you can find themed wreaths, houses decorated with light displays and stores decked out to the nines.

While on your way to school, work or struggling to find the perfect gift at the store, it becomes easy to miss everything the holidays have to offer.

An easy way to get into the spirit is to appreciate the season. Take it all in; enjoy these decorations because a month from now they will be all gone.

Be a smart shopper

There is a multitude of discounts you can take advantage of during this season. From weekend doorbusters to special coupons, most stores will run some sort of deal on what you’re looking for.

Remember, your friends are in the same boat as you and your family also knows you are a student. There is no need to feel pressure to spend bunches of money on gifts.

Be creative — there are many sites you can check out that can show you what types of gifts you could make with your particular skill set.

Make a merry little wish list — for yourself

Just because the holidays are the season of giving doesn’t mean you should forget that you are on the nice list as well.

Make a list of a few special things you want. That one thing you had your eye on for months — write it down, drop hints.  You deserve nice gifts just as much as the next person.

Take advantage of time off

So it’s the weekend and you have two dozen things to accomplish when suddenly, you notice a “Home Alone” marathon on TV.

During the holidays, there is no need to feel guilty setting some time aside to get into the spirit of the season. Binge watch your favorite holiday movies and specials and bake as many cookies and seasonal treats as your heart desires. Partaking in these activities will help you get in the mood for the holidays.

Embrace the awkward that is family

Yes, you just endured Thanksgiving and had to answer the many uncomfortable life questions your family threw at you and now you get to do it all over again.

However, if you change your mindset, it may make things better. You may only see these people once or twice a year, so it is a fun opportunity to catch up and reminisce about past family excursions. Also, if you think about it, this is a prime time to talk about yourself for as long as you’d like to people who would love nothing more than to listen.

Be cheesy  

Once we leave for college, we tend to separate from many of our friends. This is the perfect opportunity to hang out with those whom you haven’t seen in awhile.

When better to take full advantage of ugly sweater parties, Christmas karaoke or holiday parades? Go ice skating, put up decorations, window shop or visit Santa. During this season, nothing is too cliché; you’ll never look back and say, ‘Man, I wish I hadn’t decorated that tree so nicely.’

Give back  

Now that we are older, we now have the opportunity to partake in one special holiday tradition — giving back.

Yes, we are all poor college students. Contrary to popular belief, there are ways to give back that won’t break the bank.

Give a few dollars to the Salvation Army volunteers who are outside nearly every store ringing bells. Become involved in an angel tree, donate winter coats, serve at a soup line or volunteer at shelters. These, along with a multitude of other things, are simple ways to help the less fortunate.


Of all the things to do to get you in the holiday spirit, believing in the magic is the most important. While Santa and his reindeer may be a distant memory, there are many other things to believe in. This season has a special feel to it: the air is lighter, the music is cheerier and there is a certain spirit behind everything.

Regardless of how stressful this time of year is or how old we have become, we are never too old to embrace the joy of the holiday season.

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