It’s no secret that 2020 has been an unusual year, and the holidays are no exception! With the pandemic still going on and travel restrictions in place in many states, you may be planning to stay in your college town this Christmas.
And while you might miss out on grandma’s famous Christmas dinner this year, there’s still plenty of fun and festive ways that you and your roommates can enjoy the holiday season!
Deck the Halls With Holiday Cheer
First things first, be sure to set the scene with some festive holiday decorations. Put on your favorite Christmas playlist, pour a steaming cup of hot chocolate and get to work! Take a roommate shopping trip to pick out decorations together, or spend an afternoon making your own DIY decorations from Pinterest. (Paper snowflakes are always a fan favorite!)
Have A Christmas Movie Marathon
Once you’ve put the finishing touches on your holiday decorations, it’s time for some festive fun!
“I thought maybe we could make gingerbread houses, and eat cookie dough, and go ice skating, and maybe even hold hands.” - Buddy the Elf
Buddy the Elf had the right idea! But if you’re not located near an ice skating rink, you might want to plan a cozy night in instead. Surprise your roommates with matching pajamas and settle in for a Christmas movie marathon. You can choose from Christmas classics like The Santa Claus and A Christmas Story, or have some fun with holiday comedies like The Grinch or Elf.
Or maybe you’re in the mood for some holiday romance (and you’ve already seen Love, Actually a million times). Check out Netflix originals like The Princess Switch or Holidate, or head to the Hallmark channel where you’re sure to find some classic Christmas love stories.
Plan A Holiday Game Night
If you need a break in between movie viewings, drum up some friendly competition with a roommate game night! While you can always count on old standbys like Monopoly or Scattergories, you may also consider putting a festive twist on an old favorite game.
Take Pictionary, for example. Rather than using the game’s usual prompts, ask your roommates to write holiday-themed words and phrases on slips of paper, and then have each person draw a word when it’s their turn to play.
If you don’t want to DIY a holiday game, there are plenty of options to choose from online. Check out this Elf-themed board game or the Hygge Conversation Game, which includes conversation starters to help you get to know your roommates better!
Enjoy Seasonal Treats & Beverages
Of course, no matter what activity you and your roommates choose to partake in, no holiday gathering is complete without snacks! Get in the holiday spirit by decorating christmas cookies or building gingerbread houses together (many stores carry pre-made kits that make assembly much easier).
You’ll also need a beverage to go along with your sweet treats, and what says Christmas like hot chocolate? Set up a hot chocolate bar with all the fixings so each person can customize their drink to their liking! Stock up on items like marshmallows, candy canes, whipped cream, caramel, cinnamon sticks, chocolate sauce – and anything else you can think of!
If you’re over the age of 21, you might also want to mix up some Christmas cocktails. Mistletoe Margaritas and Peppermint Bark Mimosas provide a simple holiday twist on a classic cocktail, while those with sweet tooths might enjoy Hot Cocoa Pudding Shots.
When it comes to dinner, have everyone prepare their favorite holiday dish to share with the group. This way you can all share recipes and family traditions, and one person isn’t stuck with all the cooking! (Be sure to share the clean-up duties, too!)
Host a Roommate Gift Exchange
Gift exchanges are always a fun way to spoil your friends and have some fun. White Elephant gift exchanges (also known as Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa) are great for groups that don’t know each other as well. Set a limit for the amount of money you can spend on a gift – typically between $10-$20 – and instruct each person to bring one gift for the game. Since you don’t know who will end up with your gift, it’s best to opt for something more general that more people will enjoy, such as a board game, a food item, or a funny gag gift.
If you know your roommates well enough to buy them personalized gifts, you might choose to do a Secret Santa exchange instead. After you draw a name, you’ll be responsible for stuffing their stocking on Christmas Eve as well as giving them a gift on Christmas morning.
No matter where you’re spending the holidays this season, the most important thing to remember is that you can start new traditions (or continue old ones) from pretty much anywhere. If you’re looking for a safe and comfortable place to move to for the near year, you may want to consider one of Tripalink’s co-living communities and student housing options.
Great for students and young professionals, Tripalink’s spacious, fully furnished apartments are the perfect place for cozy movie nights, baking holiday treats, or even hosting Christmas dinner! To learn more, check out their available properties in Los Angeles, Irvine, Seattle, Tucson, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.