Christmas time can be lonely if you are an international student not leaving London. However, first, you should know that you’re not alone! Other students aren’t leaving London at Christmas and the second thing is that London has a lot to offer! Grab your cup of tea (or your mug of coffee or hot cocoa) and read these tips to enjoy Christmas with your flatmates, even if they were strangers in your student residence only a few days ago!
Tips to Enjoy Christmastime
1. Holiday Decorations
Whether you’re a religious person who celebrates Christmas for religious reasons or you like Christmas just for the wintery themes and holiday vibes, it doesn’t matter. Holiday decorations with red, green, silver and gold can make the homesickness blues disappear when you look at the lovely colours. To decorate your shared space (whether it’s your room or common areas), you can decide with your flatmates to share some ideas to spruce up your living quarters. Once you choose, you can buy some decorations or make some DIY decorations depending on your budget options.
2. Common Room Dinner
As mentioned above, you may be one of many staying in London during Christmas. Why not reach out to a stranger in your student residence or your slightly grumpy or shy flatmate with whom you haven’t had a chance to bond yet? In the worst case, they will say no. In the best case, they will be into a holiday dinner as you are! You can even embrace the potluck dinner concept, and everyone can bring their contributions to the food for the dinner. With a potluck concept, you can try different kinds of food. We suggest getting ideas from each other while decorating the common areas based on cultural differences. Who knows? You might learn something new and be more appreciative about the holiday season.
3. Secret Santa: Gift Swap Galore!
Getting gifts might be tricky, but it would also be worth it when the gift opening starts. You can offer to do a Secret Santa for your flatmates. You can pick the name of a person you haven’t even met yet or choose the name of a friend whose perfect gift you already know. All of you can decide on a budget to keep it more budget-friendly, and DIY gifts would be even more welcome.
4. Film Marathons
Is it a plane? Is it a bird? No, it’s Santa Claus! Movie night with caramelised popcorn while sipping some store-bought eggnog may not look like it’s much. But with a group of people who find common ground with the love of holiday films, your film marathon night might get magical. If you’re excited about the Christmas spirit, Home Alone films Elf and Love Actually may contact you in the mood. If you’re suspicious of the holidays, we suggest It’s A Wonderful Life, Scrooge or Grinch. And if you’re very anti-Christmas and want to embrace the holiday spirit without losing your edge, Bad Santa might be your best choice.
5. Christmas Markets
There will be so many Christmas markets in different neighbourhoods of London. You can choose the closest one to your place and enjoy the lights with hot cocoa and eggnog. You can shop for your loved ones far away from you, get your Secret Santa gift for the name you pick (we hear that a mug is always a safe option) or experience the vibes. What matters is that you will have a shared experience with your flatmates and the lights will look less dim in December.
6. Game Night
Maybe some of you don’t enjoy the winter holidays at all, or they have good reasons not to attend Christmas-themed activities. Why not a game night in that case?
Did you know that Monopoly is a UK-based board game? It is! The London version of Monopoly has iconic London landmarks. If you’re somewhat new to the city, Monopoly may give you great insight or allow you to create excursion plans with your flatmates.
Cluedo may be the best option for those who enjoyed Bad Santa during film marathon night. This murder mystery game will create suspense with your flatmates, and by the end of the night, you will have three options: You will find the killer. The murderer will kill you. You will have the best time with your flatmates. The first two options may interchange, but the last option is mandatory!
Trivial Pursuit might be the best game for the nerdy and proud brainiacs! This board game can also be the UK version, and you can warm up to British culture with random historical and cultural facts about the UK.
7. Talk It Out
While reading this post, you may have noticed that Christmastime doesn’t always mean Christmas around the holidays. While you are in London for education, you will also learn that London is a multicultural city that hosts students worldwide. Talk to your flatmates about the holidays. About why they share the same space with you during the holidays, what is different for them. They may have different beliefs and ideas, but by sharing the same room with a flatmate, you may find common ground while empathising, listening, and opening up yourself to new things and people.
Calm Before the Storm
Once the holiday season ends, you and your flatmates will return to your chaotic study life. Because of the activities and the common ground you shared during that calm period before the actual study days start, you will feel more included when you are in London, and the next time London has snow, you will know whom to go to for a good snowball fight! After all, just because you’re all grown-up doesn’t mean that a snowball fight is less fun now. If you want to experience the inclusive spaces of Londonist, you can contact us about our residences or learn more about them on our webpage. London and Londonist are here to welcome you to live your best city life in the UK.