How to Beat Holiday Homesickness This Winter Break

Dec 19, 2019 · 6 min read

If you’re not from Edmonton and not going home for winter break, the three weeks from the end of finals to the beginning of the new semester can be a long time to be doing nothing and just sit idle. I don’t like going home to New Dehli, partly because the tickets are extremely expensive (double the price of what they are in the summer!) and partly because I would never take a 20-hour flight (minimum!) to India just for three weeks, out of which I’d spend five days getting over jet lag and then two days packing. So, I’d rather stay in Edmonton.

[Editor’s Note: If you’re not going home for the holidays but want to connect with family and friends abroad, check out IST’s guide to “Host a Digital Holiday Get-Together.”]

However, I believe that staying back for such a long break can be disheartening if you have nothing to do. The beginning of my winter break last year was scary as I saw my friends leave for home. I was homesick and the coming holiday weeks were scaring me. But I had to stop those thoughts right there — and if you’re not going home for the break, you should do the same!

Three weeks is a good time to relax and go to some amazing places. So here are ten things you can do this winter break (for free or at a very cheap price!) and have an amazing time and beat the holiday homesickness.

1. Go for wings!

Did you know, some pubs have amazing deals on chicken wings? Well, you have been missing out if you did not know! Now you have time to spend exploring different chicken wings flavours. Get some friends or classmates together and plan a fun night out.

2. Go ice-skating!

The City of Edmonton offers free drop-in sessions for ice-skating at several arenas throughout December and January. Skates and helmet rentals are also provided free of charge. If you’re an ice-skating fan, then this should definitely be part of your winter break hangout! If it’s your first time ice-skating, don’t be scared because they also have skate training aids in the arena.

3. Sleep and sleep and sleep…

Do I even have to mention this?! With the end of an exhausting semester and a lot of free time, the best thing to do is sleep as much as you can. You never know if you’ll be getting enough sleep in the upcoming semester anyway! (Probably not). Now is the time to catch up on all the sleep you’ve sacrificed or are about to sacrifice!

[Editor’s Note: Check out our story “10 Sleeping Strategies for the Struggling Student” for some advice.]

4. Exercise

With an intense workload on our shoulders, we often end up eating a lot of junk and neglecting our health and fitness. However, winter break is a great time to do all the exercise you’ve skipped over the semester and try to build some new habits. If you’re not a gym person — but as a fellow blogger wrote, yes, you can go to the gym, and the campus gym is quiet during the break — or you don’t want to step out of your house, it’s okay. There’s always an option! You can do workouts at home taking advice from a good YouTube video.

[Editor’s note: Check out the programs offered by Campus & Community Recreation to make exercise part of your 2020!]

5. Cook/learn how to cook food that reminds you of home

There is no more sincere love than the love of food! I believe that the best way to beat homesickness is to cook the food that reminds you of home. It can often be time-consuming, but who cares about the time during a winter break, right? So, try out a new recipe, but if you struggle to do so (like me) Skipthedishes is always at your rescue !

To meet some new people within the university community members, sign up for the U of A’s Share the Cheer program! You’ll get to enjoy a delicious homemade meal and some Canadian Christmas traditions.

6. Read a book

In a world where everyone is watching Netflix, take a break from looking at your computer/phone and read a book. First, it’s a huge break for your eyes. Second, you’ll get to use your imagination and third, it’ll definitely improve your vocabulary.

7. Visit Candy Cane Lane

Candy Cane Lane is located on 148th Street from 100th to 92nd Avenue. It is a residential display of Christmas lights and decor with a radiant and joyous vibe that will put you in the Christmas spirit! It is open until January 1. Visiting the Candy Cane Lane is free, although they accept donations for Edmonton’s Food Bank.

8. Go shopping on Boxing Day

Missed Black Friday? No problem! Boxing Day is a great substitute for Black Friday. It is December 26, and it’s the best time to grab all the cheap deals that you missed on Black Friday. Malls such as West Ed and Southgate are flooded with great deals and are usually very busy. Make sure to grab all good deals that you can while others chill back home!

9. Don’t miss the New Year’s Eve fireworks

The arrival of the New Year is celebrated with fireworks at the Alberta Legislature Grounds at 9 pm. The entire ambience will mesmerise and lift your spirits, making you optimistic for the coming year. Also: it’s free!

10. Practice self-care

Holidays are the best time to practice all the self-care you’ve been neglecting while going to school. Put on a facemask. Colour your hair if you always wanted to but couldn’t find the time. And lastly, give yourself a good mani and pedi at home while listening to some soothing music because even your hands and feet need a day off, right?

[Editor’s Note: Check out YouAlberta story “The Truth About Self Care” for more advice.]


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