We are a reader-supported education publication. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission to help us keep providing content.
Winter break should be a time of rest, renewal, and celebration. With more free time and fewer responsibilities, you can focus on personal priorities and get some much-needed rest before the second half of your school year.
However, the switch between school and home time can leave students feeling unproductive and lethargic instead of motivating them to create and pursue new short-term goals. To help you have the best break ever, here are seven ideas for fun and productive things you can do over winter break.
1. Celebrate the Season
Fill up some of your free time this break by celebrating “the most wonderful time of the year.” Decorate your house with greenery and lights, buy or make gifts for loved ones, bake your family’s traditional cookies, watch your favorite holiday films, and go heavy on seasonal music.
If your neighborhood has a lot of outdoor lights, take a late-night drive to enjoy the decorations. You can also look for Christmas markets or holiday-themed stores to enjoy. Celebrating the season may take up more time than you think it will, so it’s a good idea to start early.
2. Connect With Friends
Free time is an opportunity to reconnect with friends, both old and new. Check on your college friends, but also reach out to high school friends and families who may still be in your local area.
This is a great time to plan phone calls and FaceTimes, catch up over Zoom or coffee, or plan a winter hike or skating event. You could even have a holiday party and invite friends over to make gifts or bake cookies together. The possibilities for quality friend time are endless and just take a little planning.
3. Declutter Your Things
Winter break is just as good a time for cleaning as the spring. Decluttering and reorganizing your clothes, books, and other material belongings can help you start the next semester with a refreshed space and a renewed mindset.
Research shows that decluttering can decrease stress and help you focus on your goals with fewer distractions. In addition to cleaning out your things, take some time to organize intangible items like your email, google docs, phone notes, computer folders, digital pictures, and online profiles. Decluttering digital items will help you prep for a successful and peaceful spring semester.
4. Learn a Sport
If you’re more of an active, outdoorsy person, make this winter your season. There are so many exciting winter sports to consider, such as skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, tubing, or winter camping.
Try something new this winter break, or work on improving your skill for a sport you already love. Whatever you choose, doing it with friends will make it a more memorable and enjoyable experience. Fresh air and sunshine will also help to keep your spirits up over the dark winter days and prepare you to face next semester with energy.
5. Fast From Social Media
When you’re bored, it’s easy to look for connection and entertainment by scrolling through social media on your phone. Don’t fall into that trap this winter! Some studies suggest that screen time can increase the likelihood of depression and make it difficult to sleep well.
To keep yourself from mindlessly scrolling, be intentional with your screen time. Only log on for a certain amount of time each day, and don’t keep your phone within arm’s reach. Set timers and plan other activities to reduce your screen time. You can also consider taking a total break from using social media and only checking your messages once every few days.
6. Learn Something New
Because you don’t have to think about grades and upcoming exams, winter break is the perfect time to learn something new. Ideas for a new hobby can range from learning to make conversation in a new language to trying out new crafting skills like knitting or carving.
You could also spend some time researching a topic that interests you, such as how car engines work or how to grow a self-sustaining garden on one acre of land. The sky is really the limit here – all you need to start a new hobby is some curiosity and a resource like Google for finding answers.
7. Set New Resolutions
Once you’ve taken some time to rest, winter break is perfect for planning out your next semester. Use this opportunity to get creative with your schedule and intentionally incorporate self-care, rest, and good nutrition into your spring plans.
Organizing your calendar and setting concrete goals will give you a head start into the new year and confidence about tackling your next semester. This is also a good time to look back over the past year and consider what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown. How can you take those ideas into your next semester?
Your Best Winter Break Ever
It’s easy to let winter break pass you by and then feel like you didn’t achieve anything worthwhile. However, it’s important to remember that it’s called a break for a reason. You’ve worked hard during the semester, and winter break allows you to take some well-deserved rest.
However, if you’re scrambling for how to fill your time, you can use these seven ideas to have a fun and productive winter break. Before you know it, you’ll be heading back to class – well-rested and full of energy for your next semester.