Getting into the Christmas spirit in the midst of finals

: Sammy Croteau, Arts & Culture Editor

The approaching doom of finals may be crushing your Christmas spirit, but there are plenty of ways to take a break from the books and celebrate the month of December with endless holiday fun.

 The streets of downtown Bristol offer glimmering rows of lights, a giant Christmas tree, and a stunning snowflake lit up over Hope Street. Take a ride downtown with a couple of friends and walk around the streets, marveling at the multicolored festive lights.The lights will give you a sense of joy and an extra boost on the Christmas spirit to get you through the last week of school before winter break. Don’t forget to bring a camera or cell phone to take holiday time pictures with your best friends to cherish the fun memories. If you are an extreme Christmas fan, print out your favorite picture from the photoshoot with friends and attach it to a Christmas card to send to all your loved ones this season.

 Another activity you can complete right in your dorm is handmade winter décor. Push the books aside on your desk and make room for stacks of white paper and loads of silver glitter. Paper snowflakes are one of the simplest holiday decorations but they always come out with intricate and attractive details. To make a paper snowflake, take a square piece of blank paper then fold it in half diagonally and fold it in half again. Next, fold the triangle into one third and then again. Cut the jagged edges off of the triangle folded paper. Finally, create different shapes with scissors into the paper triangle. When you’re finished, unfold it, paint with glue, and sprinkle with glitter to create a shimmery snowflake that will look great on your dorm door or windows.

 A Christmas movie night with friends can also be a leisurely way of taking a mental break from studying. Some Christmas movies available on Netflix are “The Santa Clause” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with Jim Carrey. If you have cable in your dorm room or apartment, the “25 days of Christmas” on ABC Family plays holiday movies all throughout the month of December. Whip up some hot chocolate and popcorn, set up a comfy watching area with fluffy pillows and cozy blankets, and enjoy a Christmas movie marathon. To amp up the sweetness for the movie get together, make caramel popcorn by melting regular caramel on the stove or in a microwave then pour the caramel over popped popcorn, letting it cool before enjoying!

 Having friends around during the holiday season is one of the greatest feelings, so why not celebrate all together with an ugly Christmas sweater themed party? This common theme is prevalent among college kids because it’s an exciting twist on a typical holiday party, bringing more laughs to the room considering everyone’s hideous but hilarious sweaters. Affordable ugly Christmas sweaters are sold at stores like Walmart and Target. Amazon.com also has a wide selection of creative and clever sweaters that will make you the star of the party. 

 At your Christmas sweater party you can do a Yankee Swap where everyone brings a gift in the same price range and picks a number from a hat to determine what order they chose their random wrapped gifts. Secret Santa is another alternative gift-giving option in which people pick names from a hat and have to buy a gift for the person they drew. Make sure you plan this before with your friends so that the night of the ugly Christmas sweater party, everyone is all set to give their special gift to their assigned person. Both a Yankee Swap and Secret Santa are entertaining among guests because gag gifts are often incorporated into the game for an extra giggle. 

With all these affordable and enjoyable activities at hand, it should be nearly impossible for the thought of finals destroys your appreciation for the lovely and peaceful holiday season.