How to Spend (and Save) This Winter Break

Friends, colleagues, fellow college students, a very special time is upon us. We spend the last two weeks of first semester dreaming of it and for many of us it is the light at the end of the black tunnel of death that is more commonly referred to as finals week. After spending countless hours in that god awful library fluorescent lighting and injecting your body with a definitely unhealthy amount of caffeine, we are rewarded with three weeks of nothing to do. (if that doesn’t sound just glorious to you, you may not be a college student)
 
Ah yes, winter break is a beautiful thing. However, if not managed properly these three weeks at home can go not so well. I mean, sleeping until noon, ravaging your cupboards and watching movies on your couch can only stay acceptable for so long. (for all you doubting freshmen out there…trust me, it gets old) Sooner or later you will want to actually do something with your life and fortunately for you there are ways to do that over winter break that won’t actually kill our already suffering bank accounts.
 
Hang out with old friends
Winter break is awesome because all colleges do it. Pretty sure it’s a law or something to release us for at least a week or two around the Holidays, so all of your friends will undoubtedly be home while you are. Since my freshman year winter break I have had a winter party at my house with all of my friends from high school. We play games, watch movies, go sledding and play broomball on my pond. (Broomball: like hockey but instead of skates and sticks use shoes and brooms. Quite hilarious.) Send out a mass Facebook message, hit up Sam’s or Costco for some snacks in bulk, make some hot chocolate and have a great time.

 
Movie Night
Like the above idea but with more focus on the movies. Make popcorn, hot chocolate and have everyone bring a blanket. You could do this with your friends or make it a cute (and oh so cheap) date with your boyfriend or girlfriend. They think it’s adorable, you spend no money. Perfect. J
 
Sledding
Depending on your geographic location, sledding is a great way to kill a few winter break days. Sledding is a favorite pastime for Michiganders like myself, and if you live anywhere in the Midwest, there is usually a sledding hill not too far from you. However I feel like I need to have a disclaimer that I cannot be held accountable for any injuries that may occur while partaking in this activity…last winter I made the ingenious decision to go sledding down a dune by my school and ended up hitting a hidden log going backwards on a saucer sled, finding myself face first in the snow, concussed…really it was quite a sight. Moral of the story, sled often but sled with caution.
 
Ski trip
A ski trip is the perfect solution for when you literally must get out of your house. (you will get there, trust me) Grab some friends, find a cheap destination (take advantage of student deals!) and hit the slopes for a day or even a weekend if you find a good enough deal. If you are anything like me and are less than coordinated when it comes to skiing or snowboarding, most resorts have hot tubs, heated pools, and quant cafes with fireplaces.
 
Exercise
I know, I know, God forbid any actual physical activity during winter break but trust me it really won’t hurt to throw in a few rounds of Just Dance while you’re in the midst of a 21 day homemade food eating binge. If dancing isn’t your style, try Wii sports. Don’t have a Wii? Try actual sports.  Ice skating, hockey or broomball are great ways to be active, and many ice arenas have student specials you can take advantage of.
 
Family Time

While I have made a few references to the fact that you may or may not go a little stir crazy in your house for three weeks, I really do love spending time with my family. The more time you spend away at college means the less time you get to bond with your family so try to do some activities with them while you can. Go see a movie, do some Christmas shopping together, or one of my personal favorites, take a drive to go see some Christmas lights. Tis’ the season to enjoy your family so hop on that bandwagon and spend some time with the rents and your sibs.