Merry and Brilliant: Sleigh Finals and the Holidays

Photo posted by Osman Rana on Unsplash

It’s December. It’s finals season. It’s Christmas. Oh my. It’s a rather unfortunate dilemma. Now that November is officially behind us, odds are you’re ready to get in the holiday spirit and book your one-way train ticket to the North Pole, but there’s just one thing—finals week.

Conveniently scheduled at the peak of the holiday season, finals week never fails to put a damper on college students’ festivities. With final projects to complete, presentations to present, questions to ask and cumulative exams to study for, there’s no wonder why it’s a struggle to celebrate the holidays under the pressure and stress induced by the remaining few weeks of class. However, it doesn’t have to be this way any longer.

Don’t feel like you’ve studied away the entire month of December come Christmas day. Sleigh finals week and get in the holiday spirit with these simple ideas. They’ll bring a touch of merry and bright to your study space activities.

Put a Christmas Fireplace Video on Your Monitor
Video from

If you study better while listening to music, try switching out your regularly scheduled study beats playlist for a little Christmas music. Apple Music and Spotify have excellently curated instrumental holiday playlists to choose from. These blissful beats will surely complement any finals review session while reminding you of the holiday season. However, if you want to take your holiday music experience up a notch, try playing a holiday yule log video from YouTube while working at your desk.

Featuring a quintessential wood-burning fireplace and instrumental Christmas music, a virtual yule log will transform your desk or study area into a cozy holiday nook. VALLEY recommends displaying your virtual fireplace video on an additional monitor if you have one. This way, you can still enjoy “being” by the fire while typing away that final paper on your laptop.

While there are tons of videos like this out there, try starting with the one listed above. With soothing Christmas tunes, this particular yule log video won’t be distracting for serious study sessions. However, if you can’t focus on your work while listening to music, check out this holiday fireplace video. It doesn’t have any music in the background—just a wonderfully crackling fire to study by.

Add a Poinsettia to Your Study Space
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If you’re a plant person, a Poinsettia is going to be your new favorite study buddy this year. Boasting beautifully red and green colored leaves, these festive plants will be sure to brighten up any workspace. Place a Poinsettia right on your desk or within sight of your study space and admire it’s Christmas-y aura while you flip through flashcards.

VALLEY recommends picking out your very own Poinsettia at home improvement stores like The Home Depot or Lowe’s. Both retail outlets typically run fabulous sales on these plants, making them a relatively inexpensive investment for the holiday season. If you’re interested in holding on to your Poinsettia well after December is over, check out this Poinsettia care guide provided by Lowe’s.

Light a Holiday Candle
Photo posted by Jessica Delp on Unsplash

With the sights and sounds covered, spice up your study sessions and consider lighting a Christmas candle by your work area. A little extra light could do some good anyway!  Savor scents like gingerbread, cedar, pine and cinnamon to get in the mood for the holidays. If you’re going to conquer calculus, might as well do it in a winter wonderland!

If you don’t have a holiday candle with you, no worries! Check out this article for a list of must-have holiday candles.

Sip on Some Hot Chocolate or Eggnog
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It isn’t the holidays unless you’re sipping on some rich hot chocolate or decadent eggnog, and it’s not a proper study session without some snacks to keep you going. It’s time to have the best of both worlds. Try sitting down at your desk with one of these classic holiday beverages and steal a taste between assignments. Don’t be shy to pair your drink with a Christmas cookie, either. Your taste buds will be saying ‘tis the season.

If you’re not extremely pressed for time, try making your own premium hot chocolate between study sessions. Check out this article for fabulous hot chocolate recipes. There’s just one rule. “Never ever let it cool.”

Dress Up in Your Most Festive Outfit
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Santa hats, reindeer ears, ugly sweaters and Olaf onesies are all acceptable. Whatever it may be, add something special to your finals week wardrobe. Dressing up for your review sessions shouldn’t steal any precious study time away, but it will do wonders to put you in the holiday spirit. So go ahead and wear those plaid PJ’s, snowflake socks and jingle belle earrings to your desk. Feeling festive never looked so good.

While these ideas may not be extravagant by any stretch, you can easily incorporate these little holiday activities into your finals week preparation. However, do set aside some time for baking cookies, decorating gingerbread houses, watching Christmas movies and other things you like to do this time of year. Taking breaks between extended study sessions is critical for finals week success, so try and schedule more involved holiday activities during these times. 

VALLEY knows you’re going to sleigh your finals and the holidays this year. Good luck, Nittany Lions and have a safe and happy holiday! 


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