Festive Ideas for UK Students This Christmas

students on campus during Christmas
December 2023 by


Your idea of Christmas is likely filled with great memories with family and school friends from home. However, just because the festive period and lead-up to Christmas might look a little different at university, it doesn’t mean it can’t be just as fun!

This article is filled with some brilliant festive ideas for UK students this Christmas. There are festive activities to do with university friends that not even Scrooge himself could turn his nose up at, advice for spending Christmas on campus so you’ll never feel lonely like the Grinch, and study tips for the Christmas break so you can prepare for those dreaded January exams like Hermione returning to Hogwarts after her time in the muggle world!

Festive activities to do with university friends

Spending the leadup to Christmas at university will be a change for every student. An easy way to enjoy this festive time in academia is to do some festive activities with housemates or coursemates. 

Decorate your student accommodation

While it’s likely you’ll never get your flat looking as good as when your mum decorates for Christmas, it’s not totally impossible to decorate your rented student house for the festive season. You could put up a Christmas tree and decorations, add a wreath to your door, or even hang snowflakes from the windows!

Bake some Christmas goodies

There’s no better time than Christmas to have a house full of sweet treats – and that smells like baking! Setting aside an evening to bake some festive goodies to enjoy with a creamy hot chocolate (or a big glass of mulled wine!) will quickly get everyone into the Christmas spirit. Why not try this recipe for chocolate orange brownies, vegan Christmas cake, or brie and cranberry twists? 

Have a festive film night

Another great festive activity to do with housemates is to have a festive film night. If you know you’re probably going to struggle to choose a movie, put a few Christmas titles into a bowl and pick one randomly to start things off; we’re taking Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually, and of course, The Grinch. Don’t forget the popcorn and Christmas treats, too!

Make some festive crafts

Take a break from screen time by getting crafty this Christmas. The best part is you don’t have to be Picasso to get involved – in fact, the worse at art you are, the more fun it is! Head to your local pound store to grab some paper, pens, and glitter, and get to work making Christmas cards for your loved ones… or festive flat family portraits. 

Arrange a flat Secret Santa

Getting a Christmas gift for all your friends at university can be expensive. That’s why Secret Santa is a great way for everyone to receive a present, and not totally burn through their student loan! You could even make up some fun rules to make it a bit difficult, for example, setting a £5 budget, limiting the stores you’re allowed to buy from, or even demanding that everyone handmakes their gifts themselves!

Cook a uni Christmas dinner

Cooking an entire Christmas dinner in your uni flat might sound like an impossible task, but we promise it’s doable. An easy way to spread the cooking work evenly is for everyone to take charge of a particular dish. This will also help you stick to any student dining budget! And if there’s someone who you really don’t trust anywhere near the oven, let them be in charge of the crackers…

Go on a festive night out

There’s a reason work Christmas nights out exist… clubbing in the winter season is so much fun! The most popular student clubs and pubs in the city are bound to have a host of festive-themed student events – which usually involve a lot of questionable fancy dress. So get your party pants on and be prepared to perform your pitchy rendition of All I Want for Christmas is You…

Host a festive karaoke

Speaking of pitchy performances, hosting a festive karaoke and inviting everyone you know to come over and belt out some classic holiday tunes is a great way to unwind. There are karaoke versions of pretty much every festive song on YouTube, including some great Christmas duets… if you’re aching for the stage, why not head to the local karaoke bar to show the public just what you and your friends are made of? 

Spending Christmas on campus? Keep in mind these tips.

Not all students go home for Christmas. Many international students and domestic students often see Christmas through to the new year on campus. If you’re spending Christmas at university this year, the following tips will ensure you make the most of the festive period.

Stay positive

It can be difficult to adjust to shorter days, lower temperatures and the feeling that every student on campus has gone home for Christmas. However, staying positive and motivated will help you enjoy this period, even if you’re not surrounded by your usual family and friends. There are lots of things to do in the run-up to Christmas and this quieter time is the perfect opportunity to discover parts of the city you’ve never seen before, take advantage of the university facilities without anyone getting in your way, and make time for anything else you’ve been missing during term time. 

Find other students staying on campus

You won’t be the only one staying for Christmas. Searching for others to spend the period with (either from your student accommodation or on your course) will help you fill your holiday with festive plans; plan a night out, go out for a meal or even host a Christmas potluck dinner. Quieter student accommodation naturally makes it easier to meet new people, who might end up forming some of your lifelong friends from university in the future! Just rest assured that there are other people around if you need some company.

Sign up for Christmas volunteering

If you want to stay busy and give back to the community this Christmas, signing up for some volunteering is a great way to spend the festive season. Every year, lots of people feel lonely over Christmas, including those without a home and people stuck in hospital; there are plenty of ways to get involved in volunteering, for example, volunteering at a homeless shelter to serve up Christmas dinner or help on the phones at The Samaritans organisation. A great place to look for volunteering opportunities is through your Students’ Union.

Take time to rest

With campus looking and feeling a lot quieter, it’s the ideal time to take a much-needed bit of rest. The festive season can be overwhelming, especially if you’re somewhere new this Christmas, so taking time to recharge your batteries will ensure you’re ready for January and the second semester to begin. What better way to use the extra time from not having to travel back home than having a lie-in?

Contact family and friends

Even if you’re not physically going to spend Christmas with your family and friends, they’ll still want to hear from you! Take time to regularly stay in contact with loved ones back home, video chatting to stay connected and sharing what you’ve been up to during the festive period. If you didn’t get sick of video quizzes and online parties during lockdown, this is a great chance to bring virtual games back and unite everyone for a couple of hours this Christmas.

5 Christmas study tips

It can be difficult to stay on top of your work over the Christmas holidays and keep motivated. However, with January exams in the new year, using this time off to study can help relieve some stress for any upcoming assignment deadlines. Use these 5 Christmas study tips to boost productivity and get some work done over the holidays. 

  • Organise your time

    A foolproof study strategy comes in the form of some good organisation and forward planning. Having a long list of outstanding tasks to complete is overwhelming for anyone, so breaking them down into smaller chunks over a timetable can make everything seem a lot more manageable. You could also break tasks down in order of importance, scheduling the ones that require the most effort and concentration after you’ve taken a few days off to rest and recuperate first. 

  • Short and stimulating

    It’s normal not to feel particularly motivated over Christmas. No one said anything about flashcards when talking about the festive spirit! An easy way to boost concentration levels is to study things that are short and stimulating. This could be a short educational YouTube video, Ted Talk, or other video clip. Tackling tasks in this new interactive way will prevent burnout and give your mind something new to digest. 

  •  Reward yourself!

    Nothing is more motivating than working towards a reward… and motivation to study is what you’ll need come Christmas week! Whether you’re revising, researching, reading or planning an upcoming assignment, creating milestones and rewards will help spur you on and keep the end in sight. How does finish this chapter before treating yourself to a big slice of chocolate log, sound?

  •  Go slow

    Christmas and university work are on opposite ends of the study scale, we know. However, you know what they say about the hare and the tortoise! Studying over the Christmas break is a marathon, not a sprint; rushing is a sign of demotivation so taking your time to do things at a slower pace will not only make studying at this time of the year easier, but will ensure you absorb more from your learning.

  •  Find the right balance

    And, of course, don’t forget to enjoy yourself over the Christmas break! Finding the right balance and not going too overboard with studying will ensure you come back for second semester ready to hit the books again. While we don’t recommend completely ignoring your university deadlines over Christmas, we know just how important it is to take a break sometimes, too. 

Happy Christmas from all the team at Ivory Research! See you in the New Year!



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