How to Get in the Holiday Spirit During Finals

December is both my favorite month of the year and the one I dread the most. Why? Well, of course, I love December because that means Christmas is coming (WINTER BREAK!!), but it also means that I have to take finals, which is pretty scary. While you need to be studying for finals, everyone else is posting cute pictures of their Christmas tree on Instagram. I don’t know about you, but during finals week, I can’t even THINK about anything Christmas-related. I mean, do I really have time for that? Well, there are a few ways you can still get in the holiday spirit during finals!

Not really feeling the holiday spirit because of finals? Click through to read how you can get into the Christmas mood even while taking your final exams!

Get an advent calendar

One of my favorite ways to countdown to Christmas is to get an advent calendar. As a child, I always used to get one where I would get a chocolate every day. But now, there are so many possibilities! You can get beauty products, tea, jewelry… the possibilities are endless! (Or, of course, you can go with the classic chocolate one, like I do!) What I love so much about advent calendars is that I have something to look forward to every day until it’s Christmas! You can find some to just about any price range. If you’re not too much into the idea of not knowing what you’re going to get every day or if it’s not in your budget, Cristina from Cristina Was Here created this great idea of this self-care advent calendar.

Go gift shopping

I know that finals are a busy time, but take a couple of hours off studying and go shopping for your Christmas gifts, if it’s not already done! There’s nothing better to take some steam off than wandering through shops and boutiques in search of the perfect gift for your loved ones. Not only will you be able to think about something else for a while, but the ambiance in shops during December is simply perfect. The showcases are magical, Christmas songs are playing in the stores, everything is decorated for the holidays… It’s also a great idea to get it over with as soon as possible. That way, you won’t have to worry about it anymore and you won’t have to wait until the very last minute to find your gifts! (because that can be a very stressful experience, trust me)

If you’re a crafty person, I’d totally recommend making your own gifts! Browse Pinterest in the search of the perfect DIY, gather your supplies and start crafting! What’s great about making it yourself is that you can personalize your gift to the person you’re giving it to. It’s also a great way to relax and get your mind off exams and papers for a little while.


There’s nothing better to get into the Christmas spirit than to decorate! Seeing all of those pretty reminders that the holidays are soon cannot help but put you in a festive mood.

Watch Christmas movies

I don’t know about you, but watching Christmas movies never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit. Maybe you have your own classics that you rewatch every single year, or maybe you like watching Hallmark movies… Take a small break from studying, pop some popcorn, put your pajamas on, and start watching! I crafted the ultimate list of Christmas movies that will put you in the Christmas spirit if you need a little inspiration. 🙂

Listen to Christmas music

I think this is the easiest way to get festive! I personally cannot listen to music when I’m studying, but there are so many other possibilities! Whether is while you’re commuting, while you’re getting ready, or while you’re working out, Christmas music never fails to put me in the spirit. Michael Bublé’s Christmas album, Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red and Justin Bieber’s Under the Mistletoe are among my favorite Christmas albums to listen to. I also love Mariah Carey’s song All I Want for Christmas is You and Glee has made some pretty awesome covers of the classics in the past! (they even have a few originals!)

Bake some holiday treats

I’ve never been much of a baker, but I don’t know why, I always make an exception in December (and it turns out I’m pretty decent too!). My mom and I often get our bowls and pans out and bake it off! We normally make gingerbread cookies (and all kind of other cookies) and there’s something I love about making something with my own hands. I cannot help but feel proud when the cookies get out of the oven and they all look so yummy. Baking treats can also make a great gift for a loved one!

Start a gift exchange with your friends

December is the last time you’re going to be seeing your college friends before the new year, so make sure your last few weeks together are memorable by putting together a gift exchange! I’ve done it in the past and it’s always fun to do with friends. Set a budget that everyone has to respect and go shopping! You can do it Secret Santa style, or maybe you can all choose some at random. No matter what method you choose, gift exchanges are a great excuse to spend time with your friends one last time before everyone has to return home for winter break and to show they how much you love them!

Don’t miss out on holiday events on campus

Chances are there are many holiday-themed events being held on campus that time of the year. Make sure you check them out! Go with your friends and have fun together before everyone leaves campus.

Wear your Christmas-themed attire

Clothes can convey emotion. So, you want to feel more Christmas-y? Wear Christmas clothes! Break out your ugly Christmas sweaters, your holiday accessories, or your Christmas-themed pajamas. You’ll instantly feel more festive!

Walk around and look at Christmas decorations

Unless your campus is really festive, you might not be able to walk around campus and instantly feel the holiday cheer. However, that gives you a great excuse to get out of your little college bubble and explore a little bit! I’m sure there are a few neighborhoods that decorate their houses for Christmas around your campus. And think of all the pretty Instagram pictures you can take! 😉 Walking is also a great way to relax during stressful times such as finals. Take a study break and go for a walk! You’ll be able to clear your head and you’ll be much more productive and relaxed when you come back!

Drink some hot chocolate

Is there any drink that screams “CHRISTMAS!” better than hot cocoa? To me, that answer is easy: no. You probably know that I’m a big fan of hot chocolate (just take a look at my Instagram… haha). If that’s not your case, I know Starbucks and local coffee shops all have their own kind of holiday drinks. Brighten up your studying by getting a festive drink!

Make some Christmas cards

I’m not the most crafty person, but I do like to handwrite. I might be a bit old-fashioned, but I think there’s nothing more fun and personal than receiving a Christmas card that someone made specifically for you. If you love to craft, you can make you own, but if you’re not, I know places like Target have really cute ones that you can buy! You only need to write a nice, personalized message and you’re ready to spread the holiday cheer to your friends, family, and loved ones!

Good luck to everyone with their finals!

What are your favorite ways to get in the holiday spirit during finals?


  • Oh finals, how I don’t love you. I’m so ready to be done with this semester!! I’ve been listening to music for weeeeks now and am such in a holly jolly mood that I want Christmas to be here now!

    • I’m soooo ready for the semester to be over too! I’ve started listening to Christmas music last week and now I’m so excited for Christmas!

  • awesome post! It is totally tough to be excited about the holidays when you are stuck in the library studying all day! To get in the holiday spirit, I have been listening to christmas music when I study and decorated my room! x, kenz

    • I definitely agree! Christmas music helps a lot. I have yet to decorate my room though!

  • These are such great ideas! I haven’t had time for anything with all my exams and final assignments, but I’ll def be doing all of these things once I finish this week haha!

    • Good luck on your finals! And you’re so lucky to be finishing this week!

  • I honestly think Christmas season in college was better than Christmas season once you graduate, even though you have finals you have a big break right afterwards. Outside of school there isn’t really a winter break which I would argue is worth taking tests for haha! I think your tips are great advice for keeping up the festivity while studying!

    • It’s hard for me to imagine that taking tests is worth it, but that’s probably because I’m in the middle of finals week, haha. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  • Great suggestions! I feel like these also apply to getting into the holiday spirit in LA, where it barely feels like winter!

    • Oh, I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess it’s true!

  • Great ideas! We always decorate while listening to Christmas tunes. 🙂

    Alix |

    • That’s so nice! Nothing puts me in the Christmas spirit more than Christmas songs.

  • nicole simonetti

    baking alwaaays puts me in the holiday spirit – something about all that sugar! x, nicole //

    • I’m not that much into baking, but I totally agree here!

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    I’ve been listening to Christmas music and work and that’s doing the trick! I also can’t wait to go gift shopping!

  • I love December a lot and the whole holiday season! Unluckily, my finals were always in January, which meant I was spending most of the winter break studying. This year I can finally enjoy this time of the year without stressing too much and I’m already doing a lot of the things you mentioned, even if it’s just the beginning of December. My favorite thing to do is baking holiday treats (I just literally took out of the oven a traditional chocolate cake). I also love that now you can find hot chocolate with marshmallows everywhere!

    • Ah, that must suck! I can’t imagine having to study during the holiday break, haha. It’s nice that you can finally enjoy this time of the year! I’m not much of a baker, but I absolutely love hot chocolate with marshmallows!

  • I HATE that finals are in December! I wish they could get them out of the way in November! These are great tips, though!

    • OMG I feel you on this! I honestly wish that we had the whole month of December off just so I could get in the Christmas spirit, haha

  • When I was still in school we would decorate and listen to Christmas music to get into the spirit!

    • That’s such a great way to do it!

  • I’ve been watching christmas movies after returning from the library and driving with the christmas stations on the radio! It can be hard to get into the right holiday mindset during finals, but this is a great list!

    • This is a great idea! I feel like Christmas is so close yet, so far away!

  • Rachel Mariana Timmerman

    I love this post, because I have done every single thing you’ve listed here as I’ve had finals all week long. Watching bits of the Christmas movies that are part of the 25 days of Christmas have definitely been a bright spot in my week 🙂 And hot cocoa…lots of it!

    • That’s so great! I’m struggling a bit with getting in the Christmas spirit this year because I feel like it’s so far away, and yet, it’s in only 16 days!! Christmas movies and hot cocoa always help. 🙂

  • Adriana

    I love this! Fun advent calendars are THE best ever, I had one that helped me through finals last year!

    • I love advent calendars! I wasn’t going to buy one this year, but my dad surprised me with a Lindt one and I LOVE it! It’s definitely a motivator.

  • Spotify has the best instrumental Christmas music playlist that’s perfect to study to! My friends pick a day where everyone can relax and we wear ugly sweaters and have a little snack potluck!
    Shaguna | gold&hearts

    • I’m definitely going to check that out! And aw, that sounds so nice! I should definitely try to do something similar with my friends!

  • sheree

    I wish I had done some of these things while in college. Finals was such a stressful time for me. I couldn’t even fathom thinking about the holidays until every test was taken and every paper written. On top of that, I was always broke haha… college.

    • Haha, I think you summarized college pretty well! 😉

  • I LOVE the advent calendar idea! It’s nice to have something to look forward to in chaotic times like finals, and that’s such a fun way to do it. Thank you for the inspiration!

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

    • Advent calendars are a relatively cheap and easy way to get in the holiday spirit, and it’s so much fun! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂