We've reached a crucial point in the semester. We've registered for next semester's classes, and the only thing left to do is prepare ourselves for the terror of finals. It's easy to forget that while finals are rapidly approaching, so is the holiday season! For many students, this is their first time away from home during this special time of year. Luckily, there are plenty of easy, inexpensive ways to get into the holiday spirit while living in a dorm. 

1. Hold a Floorsgiving.  

You've probably heard of Friendsgiving and you probably held one with all of your friends back home. Why not hold one with your floormates when you get back to school? It can be as extravagant as a potluck type event or as lowkey as just reserving an extra long table in the dining hall at dinner one night. Don't forget to carve out time for everyone to share what they're thankful for in college so far! 

2. Create a festive playlist. 

Create a collaborative playlist on Spotify so everyone can add their favorite tunes. Play the playlist during the mundane tasks of studying or walking to class to add a little holiday magic to your everyday life. 

3. Hold a floor (or building) wide door decorating contest. 

Talk to your RA about getting everyone involved in a contest. You can decorate your door with inexpensive decorations from the dollar store or if you're crafty enough, you could most likely throw something festive together using school supplies you already have in your dorm. Have everyone vote for their favorite door before leaving for winter break. Go all out!

4. Decorate cookies. 

Make or buy inexpensive cookies and decorating supplies and have a fun decorating day with a big group. Make a competition out of it or just do it for fun! Play that festive playlist of yours!

5. Do a Secret Santa (or White Elephant) gift exchange with your friends. 

Secret Santas are a great inexpensive way to give gifts to your friends! Use a site like Elfster to assign Secret Santas to your floor or your group of friends! If you want to add a fun twist, try a White Elephant gag gift exchange.  

6. Hold holiday movie nights.

With 25 Days of Christmas starting soon, there is no shortage of options to choose from to snuggle up and watch. Grab a group of friends and wear your coziest pajamas. Don't forget the hot cocoa! 

7. Write compliment letters. 

This is a tradition that I've had with my friends back home in lieu of giving each other gifts. You put a piece of paper in an envelope for each person with their name on it. Everyone takes turns anonymously writing a nice thing about that person and passes it around until everyone has written something for every other person. Everyone reads their letters and is left with a free, meaningful gift to cherish for years to come. 

8. Fill a holiday candy bowl. 

Buy inexpensive Christmas candies and keep them in a bowl in your dorm. Share them with your friends or keep your door open and share with passersby....or keep them all to yourself. 

9. Take time to learn about holidays and traditions that are different than your own. 

If your experiences are anything like mine, you've been exposed to a lot more diversity in college than you saw in your hometown. Take this opportunity to learn about how others celebrate this special time of year and celebrate these differences. 

10. Admire the decorations around town. 

Get your mind off finals and papers for an hour or so and just take a stroll or a drive around your college's surrounding areas to see any of the stunning displays they have to offer! 

11. Make and send holiday cards. 

Get basic supplies together and make your own holiday cards to send to your friends back home! 

12. Create a countdown to winter break. 

Those weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas will drag on like nothing you've ever felt before. Keeping a countdown on a dry erase board will make the time go by much quicker (or maybe it will slow time down– there's only one way to find out!). 

13. Facetime loved ones back home. 

You probably Facetime or call your parents and siblings often, but take the time during the holiday season to reach out to extended family members that you may not talk to as often. I guarantee that it will make both your day and theirs!

No matter how or what you choose to celebrate, make the most of it, even in that shoebox of a dorm of yours! Happy Holidays! 

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