When Your College Student Can’t Come Home for Winter Break•
Posted on December 12 2018
College is tough. The college winter break, usually offers college students the opportunity to go home, recharge, reconnect with friends and family, and have some much-needed downtime after a busy fall quarter or semester. But coming home isn’t always possible for every college student. Travel is expensive and time is precious. Especially if a student lives on the other side of the country or is studying internationally, a trip home during the college winter break can be even more difficult.
If your college student can’t make it home this year, here are some ways to keep those family connections strong.
- Schedule some time to connect.
Luckily we live in a time where video calls are easy to make on a variety of different apps and devices. Facetime on iOS is a popular option, but Skype, What’s App, and Facebook Messenger all offer video calling as well.
These video services and apps are the most well known, but everyday new technology appears on the market to make the connections more unique and more meaningful. For instance, the Logi Circle is a tennis ball-sized camera that streams live video to a smartphone and has a microphone for two-way communication. The rechargeable battery is good for streaming up to 3 hours of continuous live video. With this technology, your college student will be able to join holiday celebrations virtually.
everyStory is a very cool cloud-based social media platform or app that allows you to stay connected by recording personal color commentary to a photo. It’s up to the user to digitize the photos if thirty years old, but once uploaded, it’s possible to have a storied narrative attached to each photo. Parents with students away from home are then able to share images and audio clips with each other. And speaking of photo sharing, Bevy by Intel saves and preserves memories in one location. And can be accessed any place in the world. Whoever owns the actual device can grant access to another so family members can stay in touch by uploading photos, viewing photos from other family members and creating photo albums.
Finally, if you are a parent or grandparent who does not use a smartphone to communicate, the Ily may be what you are looking for. This modern family phone allows grandparents and young children who typically do not have smartphones to stay connected to the rest of the family especially with a grandson or sibling who may be off living at college. According to their Kickstart announcement “Ily is always on, connected and ready to go.” Instead of scheduling a video chat, the grandparent or young sibling taps the icon and it will ring on the college student’s smartphone or tablet. The new modern version of the home phone.
Remember college breaks, especially during the holidays, get busy. Schedule some time to connect!
- Send holiday decorations or themed decorations from home.
Remember 3 D pop up, paper Valentines that you hang or use as a centerpiece? You can actually send these and many other things in the mail without placing them in a box. Simply write the address on the object. If there isn’t a place you can write the address on a separate piece of paper, then tape to the object. Add a message, something funny or clever, attach stamps, and mail. Treat the object like a postcard. You can even mail a pinata! Keep this in mind beyond the holidays. Are your son or daughter away over their birthday? Celebrate by sending the party to them stuffed with their favorite candies!
The Christmas holiday can be a very lonely time for a student away from home. Even if your son or daughter isn’t able to or planning on putting up a tree, send decorations that mean something special to them so they can enjoy a bit of home. Childhood Christmas tree ornaments, personalized Christmas ornaments, wreaths, or that holiday drawing they did in the 3rd grade. You can even make the art drawing into a puzzle or make their artwork into wrapping paper.
- Keep traditions, but encourage your son or daughter to create new ones.
If there is a way to keep your college student involved in some of your traditions, like gift exchanges, do so, but also encourage them to create new traditions and experiences. That’s what this time in everyone’s life is all about! Here’s an older Christmas tradition they may enjoy and share with friends….The Christmas Pickle or they may decide to create a new tradition like hosting an ugly Christmas sweater party. According to the authors of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book, the trend may have originated in 2001 at a party in Vancouver, Canada.
However, the most important tradition that should be encouraged during winter break and really any time of the year is the spirit of giving. It’s a great time to encourage participation in community service and for your student to get involved in a cause that they hold close to their heart. The PrepScholar offers a list of 129 great examples of community service projects.
- Encourage them to stay busy, but not too busy.
Many colleges have a term break this time of year. Winter break can be a great time to get a part-time job on or near campus, especially as many businesses are losing their employees who are going home. If transportation is an issue, you can always work from home.
There are even two to three-week mid-term classes at some schools. It’s a great time to learn something new like exercising in 3D and get a head start on the next year. Keep in mind this should still be a break. Make sure they are planning some much-needed downtime too.
Grown and Flown shares 31 Ways Students Can Make the Most of Time Off during Winter Break. Favorites include: make a digital book of family vacations, learn to cook, summer internships and look for scholarships.
- Send them something special from hugabox care packages!
Something about getting mail that you know is special for you just never loses its magic. Even if your family sends gifts this time of year, consider sending something a little extra special. Our Warm Hugs Care Package is one of our most popular boxes to send because what student doesn’t love fresh baked cookies?
Is your college student planning to be away from home this year?