The College Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

It’s officially “the holidays” — are you prepared?

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If you’re anything like me, October ends too quickly. 

The pretty leaves fade to dead twigs covered in snow, the wind becomes biting, and suddenly Halloween candy is on clearance. Store shelves, which have borne pumpkin-shaped decorations since July, are now prepping for Christmas. 

Which is terrifying. 

Wherever you stand on the issue of when the “holidays” should or shouldn’t start (I’m a November 1 kind of girl), it can’t be denied that the holidays are coming — and fast. Like it or not, there are only two more months left in the year and multiple major holidays to prepare for…or avoid.


Freaked out yet? 

Don’t be! Lest the end of the year and our favorite holidays take us by surprise, here is A College Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays. Whether you want to plan like a pro, or avoid everything like a pro (or a little bit of both) we’ve got you covered.

This guide will focus on the non-curricular aspects of November and December, but never fear! Midterms still got you down? Here’s a guide on how to recover

Catch Up On TV

Whether it’s in the name of midterm recovery, for posterity, or just because Netflix is wonderful, post-Halloween/pre-Thanksgiving is a great time to catch up on shows. Lots of shows that started in the fall have racked up a few episodes, so bingeing possibilities are nearly endless. 

watching netflix on laptop

Consider Ghosted, available on Hulu, starring Adam Scott from the show Parks and Recreation, and Craig Robinson of The Office fame. 

Also excellent: Mindhunter, a show about serial killers (so…viewers beware) and how the FBI developed techniques for identifying and catching them. It’s available on Netflix, so the entire first season is binge-ready. 

Want more ideas? Check out the A.V. Club’s definitive fall TV list

Another option is to rewatch shows. Nothing says avoidance like nostalgic returns to the shows of yesteryear.


Great rewatching options: Gilmore Girls or Friends (even if only for the Rachel Green fashion inspo). Plenty of seasons, plenty of episodes, plenty of avoidance possibilities! Those are both available on Netflix, and How I Met Your Mother, another excellent option, just moved to Hulu this week. 

Catch Up on Movies

I don’t know if you know this, but 2017 has been a pretty great year for movies — and most of the best are already on DVD, like Baby Driver, one of my favorite movies ever. 

Even better: The Big Sick, another of my favorite movies ever, comes to Amazon Prime on November 24th, perfect timing for Thanksgiving Break. 

The Big Sick movie poster

For avoidance, sometimes movies are better than TV shows — because when a movie is over, it’s done. With a TV show, there’s always another episode, always more to watch. So if you want to avoid your life for two hours — and only two hours — maybe opt for a movie on a streaming service, or rent one from Redbox or YouTube. 

With movies, you can avoid the stress of the holidays without too much guilt. 

Need something cozy and fallish? Check out my list of fall movies

Holiday Shopping Prep

Too soon, you say? Maybe. But Black Friday is in three weeks, so then again, maybe not. 

Even if you’re not ready to buy anything yet, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared. Decide what you’re going to get for all the people in your life, so when the time comes, you’re ready.

No more wandering the aisles of Target on December 24th, hoping that you’re suddenly struck with inspiration. 


Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving and the general vibe of the coming months are an excellent time to show your appreciation for your friends and the other people in your life. 

We’ve already started planning our gift ideas for the season — click to see what we’re getting our parents for Xmas. If you want something DIY, try putting together gift bags or making handmade cards. Here are some ideas from Pinterest. 

Be proactive, be creative, and above all, be thankful. The holidays can be stressful, but if nothing else, try to make sure you remember the people who stuck by you year-round and let them know you care


I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but there are less than 60 days until 2018. 

…Yeah. I know. 


I can’t begin to count the number of times that I got distracted during November and December, and then, whoops, it was January and the year was starting over and there I was, still trying to catch my breath.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Consider revisiting your old resolutions, back from January, or from June, or the last time you made a promise to yourself to be a better person. 

Did you keep those promises? Who did you become as a result? What do you want to see next year? Who do you want to be? 

Obviously, these aren’t questions you can answer in a few minutes, which is why it might be a good idea to start now. Start preparing yourself mentally for the coming year, so when December 31 comes, you can be proud of what you did and accomplished this year – and get excited for the next one


If you haven’t already stocked up your wardrobe for the winter, it’s sweater and boots season, AKA the best season of the year. 

Part-avoidance, part-productivity, shopping the next couple month’s sales is the perfect opportunity to #TreatYourself, maybe while you’re out looking for gifts. 

Make sure to check out College Fashion’s weekly sales list by joining our daily newsletter here, and check out our recent fashion tips articles for inspiration here, here, and here

Your turn! 

November and December can be stressful. But they can also be fun! No matter what you’ve got in store for the rest of 2017, a little avoidance and a little productivity can go a long way to end the year right – and start the next one even better. 

What are some things you like to do at the end of the year? How do you prepare for the holidays? Do you have any good avoidance tips?

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