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.



  1. Sheetal says

    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. Sheetal says

    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 :)

  3. 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.

  4. says

    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.

  5. Victoria Miller says

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

  6. Danni says

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. says

    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. :)

  10. says

    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.

  11. says

    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!

  12. Anna Pry says

    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

  13. 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.

  14. Jenn says

    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. :)

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Pirathepan Kamalanathan says

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

  18. VickiS says

    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. :)

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Charlene says

    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.

  22. shanna says

    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!

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