With most of my friends starting to go home now, I am reminded of my lack of fixed plans for the holidays. Although I haven’t been back home in a year, needing to stay in Dundee until the semester ends, expensive flights requiring at least one stop-off in an additional country, my skiing job being cancelled and the thought of possibly having to spend a full month indoors may have me joining the students staying here alone. However alone does not need to mean lonely and bored, so I wanted to give a list of things you could get up to if you are staying in Dundee.
- Talk to family or friends – We have all gotten used to video calls this year, arrange to talk the people you would like to be with. Opening gifts sent to each other, virtually baking together, having a meal or a just for a chat, the possibilities are endless.
- Visit a close friend’s family – If one of your good friends lives somewhere easier to travel to, you could see about spending the holidays there.
- With the Christmas rules, meeting another student is a possibility, so if you can find others staying you could spend Christmas together. If you are isolating or simply not comfortable meeting people regardless of rules, you could see if you could find someone in a similar situation and spend parts of Christmas together virtually, maybe even exchange small gifts, cards or Christmas cookies. On the topic of Christmas dinner with new people, the union is hosting an event for anyone staying and for other events have a look at friends international.
- Go somewhere new/do something new – Whether this is a walk around town you have been wanting to do for a while or a multi-day adventure, anything works. Maybe you have wanted to visit a specific shop or nearby town for a while, maybe you have a book you really want to read or a skill you have always wanted to master, whatever it is, give yourself the gift of finally doing it.
- Send gifts to people – Whether this is to your family or friends or even a gift swap with strangers stuck in town too, send a gift or card to someone you cannot be with this holiday or even organise a full secret Santa’s with a group of people.
- Cook or bake – Try something new or make something fancy, whether it is a feast for one or a Christmas day with other people. If you are not much of a cook you can try something really simple, even hot chocolate with some toppings can feel fancy.
- Watch a movie – Maybe you always used to watch a specific movie every Christmas or you just like movies in general, either way, there are plenty to choose from and plenty more non-Christmas ones if you want to think about anything but Christmas. Our go-to movie as kids was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (the 1964 stop motion one), telling the story of a bunch of misfits trying to find somewhere they belong. For something a bit different to watch, NORAD runs a Santa tracker that lets you watch where on the globe Santa would be throughout Christmas at any time, telling you a bit about each place. It can be quite interesting to check every now and then, learning about random far-away places.
- Traditions – If you had any Christmas traditions at home, try to replicate or change them up, bringing a bit of home to Dundee. As an example, Swiss Christmas cookies make the flat smell like home in December to me.
- Self-care – This year has been hard enough for plenty of us and spending a day doing things you often do not take time for would probably do all of us good. Whether this is the standard bath bomb, facemask and fuzzy socks, taking a break from stressful things or simply taking time to do something you love, do whatever works for you.
- You could also look into volunteering around Christmas and help improve someone else’s holiday, although opportunities may be a bit more scarce this year.
- If you cannot bear celebrating alone, you always have the possibility of treating it like any other day. Distract yourself doing whatever you would usually do. Around Christmas, the library will likely be more empty so it could be a great time to get work done. Plenty of shops hire help around Christmas, if you fancy working through Christmas, this will also leave you with some spare money for 2021.
- Lastly, you could also start making plans for what you want to do in 2021/ once Covid is past/ next Christmas and create something to look forward to.
Hope that helps, my current plans are to stay busy with coursework, work and exercise in December, hopefully go for a snowy hill walk in the days leading up to Christmas, and then spend the 24th and 25th baking cookies, cooking fancy dinner, running a bit, watching movies, reading and painting, and if the weather allows it I am hoping to have my fancy Christmas dinner at the beach and maybe even go for a dip, and hopefully I will get home soon enough. If you are staying here too, I would love to hear your plans in the comments.