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Winter is one of the best seasons of the year because with winter comes the Christmas holiday. However, for many students, winter also marks the arrival of the finals season, which is when we have to take the final examination for our academic semester. When December comes, we get to hear jolly Christmas carols filling the streets, but our heads are also filled with knowledge we have crammed in preparation for our examinations. Despite that, December is not all about studying and stress as Christmas is the treat we can anticipate after our examinations come to an end. There are many activities we do and places we visit with friends to make winter break more enjoyable.

Spicing Up Gift Exchanges

The best part of Christmas is definitely giving and receiving gifts. There is no better feeling than making your friends happy with presents and receiving something that someone else has bought for you. Presenting gifts to your friends is fun, but there are certain ways to make it more exciting.

One gift exchange activity that many students partake in is secret Santa. Secret Santa is an activity where each friend participating in the gift exchange randomly picks the name of someone else. They must keep their gift recipient a secret until the day of the gift exchange. Everyone can write a wish list of the items they would like or their secret Santa can just surprise them with something pleasant! It is always exciting and sometimes even funny to find out who your secret Santa is when doing the gift exchange. There were a few times some people even put santa letters with their gifts to fulfil their role as “Santa”, which was a cute gimmick that made people laugh.

Another exciting way to exchange presents is to create a gift pile. Everyone simply buys a gift which they think will make other people happy, without having anyone specific in mind. When the day of the gift exchange comes, all the gifts are wrapped up and put in a pile. People will then take turns to pick a random gift based on appearance. This method of gift exchange is fun because people usually put random items in boxes to not give the object away, such as placing a pair of socks into a box used to store a phone. The gifts are often unexpected and bring a lot of laughs when they are opened.

What is Christmas Without Good Food?

While watching Christmas movies, such as the ‘Home Alone’ series, is a fun thing to do with friends, an alternative activity is to make Christmas goods!

One of the quintessential Christmas goods is gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread cookies are simple to make, and you can even have fun decorating them with friends. You can make colorful frostings and draw them on the cookies in the shape of gingerbread men to make different variations. You can each take a photo with your very own gingerbread man cookies at the end and upload them on social media.

If you and your group of friends would like to take it further, you can even have a gingerbread house competition. You can get into different groups and compete to see who can assemble and decorate a gingerbread house better. Friendly competition between friends makes the Christmas season even more exciting and you can savor your own masterpieces at the end.

Getting into the Festive Mood

Christmas markets are believed to have first originated in Germany but are now a common scene around the world during the Christmas season. Christmas markets are one of the best places to get into the festive mood. It is heartwarming and cozy to see bright stalls lined up next to each other selling warm and delicious food for visitors to try. You can also buy little gifts and Christmas ornaments.

Christmas markets usually sell traditional food, including Zwetschgenmännla (figures made of decorated dried plums), Gebrannte Mandeln (candied toasted almonds), and Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (traditional soft gingerbread Christmas cookies). If you grow cold from the winter weather after walking around, you can also enjoy a cup of hot mulled wine or Eierpunsch (an egg-based warm alcoholic drink) to help you warm up. Christmas markets often also have performers playing Christmas-themed music or singing Christmas carols, which can put you in a jolly and festive mood as you stroll around the market. Christmas markets are a must visit during the Christmas season.

Another Christmas tradition in many places is to put up Christmas lights. Many commercial areas or wide public places may set up Christmas trees which are several stories high and adorn them with many bright Christmas lights and beautiful ornaments. There are even special Christmas light sculptures that are put on display. Usually, these sculptures depict Santa Claus or reindeers, but sometimes they are also just patterns that serve as a nice backdrop. Appreciating the pretty lights at night and taking nice photos always serve as a good Christmas memory.

There are many ways to enjoy Christmas with your friends after examinations. Planning early is the best to make sure that the Christmas season will be extra fun and memorable!