It’s almost Christmas break! Just a few more finals and papers and you’re home free!
I’m guessing you’re excited to come home for the holidays and spend time with your family, catch up with friends and of course see your pets. You might also feel a little anxious about coming back home after having such freedom and autonomy at college. I remember feeling uncertain as I prepared to go home for a break. This is normal, and chances are your family might be feeling that way too.
You’ve grown and changed while being away at school, which is great! You might be surprised to hear your family has grown and shifted too. They’re still your family and the people who love you most, but going home might feel a little different and require a bit of an adjustment period as you and your family learn a new rhythm.
Here are some dos and don’ts to make your time at home on Christmas Break fantastic.
You’ve just spent five months in an ‘eat, sleep, breathe’ college world. It’s been your life, your job and your community. You’ve gotten used to “College You,” but your family is still learning about this “new you.” Be kind to yourself and to your family. Remember, they’ve changed too. Having a flexible and open spirit will help as you re-bond with your family.
Don’t Expect Home Life and Dorm Life to be the Same
You’ve done things a certain way for the last few months, but try not to project your dorm life onto your family. They may not want to stay up until 1am and they may not appreciate you labeling all “your food” in the fridge. Be considerate. Clean up after yourself and help around the house (even if your mom or family member is happy to serve you). Enjoy it and receive, but be aware of serving them as well.
Do Respect Family Rules
You enjoyed your freedom living on campus, so it’s no surprise it might be an adjustment to come back home for a break. Remember to respect your parents’ rules. You’re in their house and staying out crazy late will keep them up worrying and create unnecessary tension the next day. To be treated like an adult, you must act like an adult. If curfew is an issue, talk to your parents about an adjusted curfew. This will give you privileges while honoring your parents and their boundaries.
It’s healthy to rest and catch up on your sleep, but don’t sleep your whole break away. Create time for family and friends. Be well rested for the holiday fun, but don’t miss out because you’re sleeping until noon each day. (Bonus points for communicating with your family ahead of time to let them know you need a lot of sleep the first few days.)
Do Guard Your Finances
It’s tempting to go out for fun and social activities with friends and do a little shopping. Do this within reason. Just make sure you don’t splurge on outfits and drinks, and then say you don’t have money for gas, Christmas gifts or food. Choose Wisely! J
Don’t be rash
Perhaps being at home reminded you how much you love home. Maybe you love it so much you don’t want to go back to school. (I’ve been there!) If it was a rough semester and going back feels draining and depleting, talk it out and process with trusted loved ones. Make a plan for how you can succeed this next semester, but don’t make any rash decisions. If you can, finish out spring semester and then make a final decision.
Above all else, communicate. It’s impossible to guess what everyone’s expectations are. You’ve been successful on your own at college, but being back home changes things a bit. It can be frustrating or it can be refreshing. Communication will make or break your time with your family. If you want to spend time with friends, choose some time slots or a day to do so, but talk to your parents about it so they know what to expect. Remember, your family missed you! Ask them what they have planned and make sure you’re present for what is important.
If I could just tell you one thing, it’s to have fun and enjoy your family. You might miss your college friends and college life. After all, that was home for a semester. But don’t miss the treasure of being at home with your family and local friends.
P.S. Wondering what the perfect gift is for your parents is? Lots of hugs!
What tips do you have for having a great holiday break?