Holidays are hard to get into when you’re not surrounded by tradition. My first year away from home I was surprised by the way Christmas crept up on me; finals and papers held me captive until well into the second week of December. Suddenly, the Christmas season was only two weeks long. What had once felt like an eternity from Thanksgiving to the 24th, slipped by without much notice. This year though, I’m trying to tap into the holiday spirit even before I head home for break. Here are some ideas how:
1. Buy the cinnamon pine cones
Smell is attached to memory is attached to tradition is attached to that warm fuzzy feeling that everyone wants to feel. The scent of warm cinnamon always reminds me of a Sunday night at home, fire burning (cliche but its cold in the woods) as my family is piled on the couch. So don some plaid PJ’s and let the cinnamon fill your room with a little scent of home. They’re $5.99 at TJ’s. Abstain from one sweet green salad and let your nose get festive.
2. Decorate Resourcefully
This year, because I’m ballin’ on a budget, I decided to use good old fashioned tape, scissors and spray paint to make decorations out of a Trader Joe’s grocery bags. The bags, to begin with, are adorably Americana holiday rustic, so why not use them? Here’ what I did:
1. Cut out individual ornaments, sprigs, birds from the bag
2. Spray paint what’s left of the bag GOLD
3. Paste cut-outs to spray painted bags, cut again to make a gold border
Wa-lá, beautiful TJ’s inspired Christmas scene anywhere in your apartment
3. Get an Advent Calendar
Each year The Boy in the Polo Hat’s mother sends us back to the District from Thanksgiving with Advent Calendars. This is one of my favorite traditions at school. The Advent Calendar is something that links me back to my childhood tangibly; who doesn’t remember racing home from school to get the chocolate? Not only does it dispense candy, but its numbers are a built in reminder of a countdown to the fat man. What more could you ask for?
4. Host/Attend an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
There is nothing like channeling your inner Aunt than wearing a sweater with a dancing penguin on it. I would feel like an impostor of my mother attempting to throw an actual Christmas party with hors d’oeuvres, so downgrade (or upgrade) by making it themed. There’s still an excuse to drink eggnog while staying true to your college roots: dressing in costume for a party (when does this end by the way?). Get in the Christmas cheer while having a good laugh.
5. Secret Santa with your Friends
No they’re not going to get you that Rebecca Minkoff purse you want, but they will make you laugh, and they will make you feel special. Plus, its fun strategizing how to dupe the people you know so well. Your friends at college are a little family unit anyways; don’t let finals distract you from sharing good Holiday memories with them too!
6. Listen to Michael Bublé Christmas on Spotify
There is a Christmas angel available to anyone who has WiFi. Light a candle and listen to this sweet man serenade you with ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You,’ and you won’t even need presents anymore. It may not be ‘Dominic the Donkey’ floating through the radio in your mom’s car, but Michael will surely get you singing the tunes of the season.
7.Eat the Holiday Goodies
Eat the gingerbread man. Eat it.