Winter wonderland: Family activities and other winter break ideas

One way to earn some extra cash is to help people take down Christmas lights. (Courtesy of Anthony92931)

One way to earn some extra cash is to help people take down Christmas lights. (Courtesy of Anthony92931)

When your classes are over and finals are behind you it’s time for a well-earned winter break. Take time to kick back and enjoy the winter wonderland around you. But after a few days of sitting around and eating, you might want to explore some family activities and other adventures that you could enjoy during your break. Heck, you might even find a way to earn a few bucks. Here are a few ideas of how you could spend your winter break.

Earning potential

In a December 18, 2012 article for US titled, “5 Ways for College Students to Earn Money Over Winter Break,” Julie and Lindsey Mayfield bounced around several good ideas for turning your winter break into a source of income. A good place to start looking is with previous jobs you’ve had.

“While the break might not be long enough to start a job application from scratch, your student’s former employers are already familiar with his or her character and work ethic, so a formal application may not be necessary,” Julie Mayfield said.

Other ideas from the Mayfields include:

  • babysitting
  • removing holiday lights
  • pet sitting
  • house sitting

Looking down the road to internships

More winter break wisdom comes from Occidental College student and blogger, Madi Tsuji. In her January 13, 2013 post for titled, “Ten Things to Do Over Winter Break,” Tsuji suggested several productive projects.

According to Tsuji, winter break is the right time to go through your closet and weed out items that you no longer need. Sticking with the holiday spirit, you might decide to donate your excess clothes to the nearest thrift store. Best of all, you’ll have more room for new things.

On a more serious note, Tsuji reminded readers that summer is only a few months away. If you want to score an internship, take steps now.

Tsuji explained, “I hate to say it (really, I do) but the time to start applying for your summer job or internship is now. Perfect your resume, build your LinkedIn profile, reach out to past employers, and start writing a good cover letter.”

Family activities

When you return home after an absence of months at school you may find that your relationship with your parents and siblings has changed. That’s because you’ve changed. Being on your own at school, meeting new people and opening your mind to knowledge has expanded your horizons.

While playing a game of Monopoly with your family might have seemed dumb before, now it might be a more fun experience. Remember that in a few short years you’ll be graduating and going out into the world. These moments with your family will remain as a reserve of happy memories to warm you on those cold days when you’re in a new job or facing challenges of working and living on your own.

However that isn’t always the case. In a December 20, 2012 post for titled, “College Students: 5 Winter Break Surprises to Prepare For,” Noel Rozny described the changes you may face when you return home for winter break. One major change may be that once you get home, you find that you can’t wait to get back to school and your circle of friends.

“Again, don’t stress: this is normal. It’s a sign that you’re creating your own life as an adult. So enjoy the time you have with your family, and keep in mind that winter break will be over before you know it,” Rozny explained.

Broaden your mind

Winter break is only a few short weeks so if you want to travel, it may not work for you to go very far. But if you want to have new experiences and broaden your mind you may still be able to find a way. Many universities organize alternative break programs where students combine travel with community service. Maria Eugenia Miranda described these programs in a December 24, 2012 article for titled, “Students Opt for Service Over winter Break.”

Examples of programs include:

University of Kentucky organized a trip to Nicaragua where students taught basic English in local schools.

New York University developed options that included working at an animal sanctuary in Utah and rebuilding homes in Joplin, Missouri.

According to Miranda, “Sometimes groups on campus are the impetus for service trips. For example, Ithaca’s Habitat for Humanity club will be taking students to North Carolina and Alabama this winter to build homes.”

What are your favorite winter break activities? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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