Holiday Celebration Ideas for College Students Staying at School

If you decided not to leave college campus for the holiday break this year, there are actually many advantages that you can take advantage of on campus. This post features ideas for spending the holidays on campus and covers some ideas you can take advantage of when the campus is not so full and busy.

Exam Survival Kit OCM

Care Package Photo Credit:

If you are staying on campus, here are some ways to make the most of the holidays with fellow students, local students, and faculty for the holidays. These are ways you can have fun with your friends and a great chance to meet new ones:

  • Coordinate a dinner or holiday event at a local restaurant. When you host an event, it can be one where each person pays their own way so that there are not extra expenses involved for any one person.
  • Host a party at a club or a bar.
  • Coordinate with campus transportation to take group shopping trips to local malls.
  • Work with school faculty to host movie night, or a low key holiday event.
  • Plan ahead for a trip with friends.
  • Decorate your dorm or common area. Get the campus into the festive spirit.

Want to use this time to get ahead in school academically and socially? With most students gone from campus, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know professors and other faculty better. The professors and faculty often live nearby campus, so they are not leaving town for the holidays and you can connect with them.

  • If you are the studious type, get some extra work done. This can actually be some work done ahead of time and take some of the pressure off of you for the next month. Ask your professors for the curriculum ahead of time, or even an extra credit project.
  • Organize and de-clutter your dorm room. Get your living space ready for the winter semester by filing away, or even shipping home school work and projects from the previous semester that you won’t need there taking up the precious little space you already have in your dorm room.
  • Scope out your classes and map out the route for next semester.
  • Catch up on reading while it’s quiet.
  • Connect with local professors and faculty and plan something for the holidays with them.

Parents, if your college student is staying on campus this holiday season, you can send care packages, holiday gift baskets, or cakes, like the ones they sell at OCM.

About Teri

Teri Hardy is a 30-something married, mom of 7 and the face behind the popular online publication, Motherhood Defined as well as the founder of Mom Powered Media. Known as the Iowa Mom blogger by her local peers and “The Fairy Blogmother” worldwide. She loves to write, doodle & go, go, go. Control freak, master multi-tasker and shopaholic. Ms. Hardy has professional experience in working closely with clients on brand ambassadorships, client outreach services, content creation and creative social media advertising exposure.


  1. I really wish i had known about this earlier. well. I have one year of college left. and i will be sure to use these great tips. decluttering my dorm room, and decorate (repaint) Woohoo!!

  2. Laurel Anderson says:

    Sad to stay at school if you have a choice.

  3. it’s so strange how an idea doesn’t strike you, until you read something like this. All i used to do was laze around, watch movies on my laptop and stuff my face :)

  4. Lisa Lancaster says:

    Thanks for reminding me of our college students at church sometimes we let things slip our minds when we are so busy. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for all your information.

  5. Cynthia Cover says:

    This is such a smart idea to ward off being lonely. Great Advice!

  6. Thanks for the awesome ideas! I always came home from college for Christmas but know there are some kids that stay! :)

  7. Shannan Robeton says:

    I love the idea of this survival box.The packaging is so cool I would give this as a gift for sure! 😀

  8. The care packages seem like a great idea. My son is a junior in high school, but I can imagine if he were away, he’d love to be able to do all that eating he does at home out of a care package.

  9. Keno Moore says:

    I agree with the idea of catching up on reading while it’s quiet.

  10. This is neat!

  11. megan vandeventer says:

    very smart idea.

  12. Victoria Miller says:

    I am spending this Thanksgiving break studying and am thankful for the time alone with my books and computer.

  13. Hopefully the college students have a home to go to for the holidays.

  14. Jen Rodrigues says:

    These are perfect xmas gift ideas.Thanks for sharing.

  15. Thank you for the ideas. Just looking at the picture makes me want to go buy some snacks haha.

  16. this is so cool and a great gift for them

  17. what great ideas ! Thank you

  18. Just graduated… really wished i knew it last year =(

  19. i could really use a care package right about now i dont think i could even afford to pay my own way at dinner.

  20. This article is dead on. I would’ve loved to receive a care package while at school. I’m sure it would’ve cured my homesickness. Every chance I got, I took the train home. I may have stayed on campus to get cute packages and saved alot of money.

  21. a trip sound sgood!

  22. md Kennedy says:

    So sad to think there are kids who won’t see their families for the holidays! I guess a gift pack makes it easier, but nothing can substitute.

  23. wow that is neat. My nephew is in college and I am going to share this with him.

  24. What a great idea! Now I will definitely follow your example and advice! thanks

  25. Sumbul Aslam says:

    Thanks for great ideas.Shopping trip and party ideas sounds like fun for lonely students.

  26. carla bonesteelc says:

    My cousin just started college, pretty far away. She, and a couple of her classmates, are not coming home for Thanksgiving…and it’s totally their choice! She’s feeling her independence for the first time in her life, and loving it…My Aunt, not so much. LOL. These are great tips, and I’m sure they have something cool planned.

  27. My son does not stay on campus, but if he did, I would ABSOLUTELY send him a care package, in fact, this is great to send as a ‘just because’ when school is in session. :)

  28. I can’t imagine having my sweet college girl gone for the holidays. Thankfully she will be home, but these are good ideas for ones who can’t go home.

  29. This is interesting. I never really gave thought that some students may stay on campus. My brother always came home (an hour and a half away) and I went to a community college so I was home every day anyway. I know so many students that are across the country so of course they’re not spending all that money to come home…makes sense…Thank you for this post! I’ll pass it on to some friends!

  30. i always went home but my husband told me he couldn’t afford to come home every year in college, i’m sure his mom did send him a care package though

  31. Deborah Caudill says:

    Thanks for your article on students staying at college instead of traveling home for the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. You had great ideas for the students to productively spend their time. As a child, I recall having one or two children from the nearby children’s home coming to spend a few days with my family to share Christmas with us. I don’t think college students would want to stay with a local family in their home, but I will speak to my church about issuing a dinner invitation and putting together gift bags for the students. I’m sure others will also have ideas and if the churches go thru the university’s administration a yearly function could be put together and if this takes place all over the USA, your article will have really started something. You should name the function so everyone will know that it started with your idea and that the function will be top notch. I’m sure there are other groups besides college students that could also be included.

  32. This is a really cute idea. I have two sisters-in-law who are currently in college, and my brother will be in college next year. Coming home for the holidays isn’t always feasible for college students, and the suggestion to send them gifts and care packages and such is nice. :)

  33. Kaylee Kuroski says:

    I know a lot of friends who stay on campus and it really does bring forth the college experience and responsibility of taking care of yourself.

  34. this is helpful thanks

  35. Maria Iemma says:

    Very sad for the kids that cannot go home for the holidays but your ideas make lots of sense and the should help make their holiday brighter.

  36. Ghassan Alsaleh says:

    Really interesting

  37. marissa lee says:

    great advice..going to share with my sister so when she enters college she will know what to do.

  38. Pirathepan Kamalanathan says:

    During Reading week, Christmas break, it’s nice to visit parents. There always a party or a social at school.

  39. Cathy Jacobson says:

    I cannot imagine not having my daughter home during the holidays!

  40. Great idea! Even those who live close to their college, know friends who may be staying on campus and need a little TLC. I think a care package from Santa would be great for them. And no need to feel strange about it, since no one knows who sent it. :)

  41. RaymondCrisostomo says:

    thank you for this wonderful tips, nowadays a simple christmas idea might not be that effective so its always a better idea to learn new ones.

  42. I wish I had this guide when I was in college. I love the care package tip!

  43. heidi eaton says:

    For some students it’s not a choice to stay. Some of them are there on scholarships and only have the necessary items. It would be nice if the college itself would make provisions for those students that stay, so that they are not alone for the holidays.

  44. Lisa Nicholson says:

    Great Ideas!

  45. As sad as it is to stay at school during the holidays, my family made it up that year to spend it with me.

  46. Erica Ardali says:

    Hey Teri! This was a great read. Love the holiday tips.

  47. Contest Queen says:

    I am 51 and my 19 year o ld daughter and I are going back to college!

    I enjoyed this post immensly!!

  48. These are some great ideas and I love the care package, it’s a great idea

  49. Care packages are a great idea for any student who will be at their dorms for the holidays!

  50. These are some great ideas. I’m going to copy this and send it to my son who will not be coming home. Thanks for the tips.

  51. Really a nice idea ..

  52. I have a kiddo who is getting close to heading to college, though it makes me sad, I want to make it the best for him. Mommy care packages will be the best!

  53. Patricia A. Hoffmeister says:

    Great ideas for those who don’t have a choice.

  54. I was struggling with ideas for little sister-in-law, but these are BRILLIANT. thank you!!!

  55. Excellent information. I think that it would be sad for a student to have to stay at school during the holidays but I am sure that it happens. You have shared excellent ideas on how to utilize the time at school. I like the ideas also about sending gifts to the student!

  56. These are all great ideas, thanks for sharing them with us :)

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