They're Back......College students coming home for the holidays

It seems like the sweaty August move-in was so long ago but here we are in December and many of our college students are home for the holidays!

This is a fun time but not without some challenges. For most of us, the holidays come with a lot of stress: getting everything done that "has" to be done, gift buying and wrapping, organizing family get-togethers, cooking, etc.

I personally am not a Pinterest holiday mom. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just saying my holiday table doesn't look like this:

perfect holiday table Pinterest

No, it absolutely does not. To be 100% transparent, my dining room table currently holds several unopened Amazon deliveries, a stack of our "good" dishes that were washed but not yet put away from Thanksgiving, and some toiletries items from Target that nobody has bothered to take upstairs yet. Fa la la la la!

Add to the holiday stress the return of your college student and you could be in for some rough days if your expectations are unrealistic.

Our kids are back from what?

Expectation management is a thing. For real.

If you've been envisioning scenes like this since the first Halloween decorations started appearing in stores, time to reel it in.

little kids at Christmas

More likely, you're going to be seeing your college kid, um, recharging from exams.

college kid sleeping at home on break

I am sure I am not alone in noting that my returning student slept A LOT during the first week back.

While I wanted to prod her awake, I resisted the urge. I knew she had worked her butt off during exams and was wiped out. So, I let her sleep.

Do you wonder where your child is when not sleeping? Does it seem as if she or he is always gone? Not uncommon.

Not only have our kids been away from us, they've been away from their "hometown friends." It's natural for them to want to get together, reconnect and catch up. "But what about us?" you might find yourself thinking. Doesn't she want to hang out with her fam?

Probably. But probably not as much as you would like. This will likely feel much like it did during those waning days of the summer before college when your soon-to-be college student was cramming in as much friend time as possible, leaving you with a few stolen hours mostly spent dorm shopping.

Hang in there! Be happy that they are well-rounded and social. And enjoy the time you have with them.

college kids home visiting high school friends

Different doesn't have to mean worse

So, your college kid may not curl up with you to watch hour after hour of Clay-mation holiday specials. And he may not want to help wrap gifts. And she certainly wouldn't be caught dead caroling in the neighborhood.

That's okay.

We still get to have them home, even if for a short while. We can enjoy their stories from school, appreciate the changes they are going through, laugh at old memories, and cherish their presence.

Make the most of your time together and don't waste it pining away for when they were little and those holidays of yesteryear. They are growing up and although that can be tough to accept at times, that has always been the plan.

Things to do with your college kid who is home for the holidays

Just because the kids are getting older, doesn't mean you still can't have fun. Some of the things we've enjoyed with our college-aged daughter are simple. We're still making memories, we're still laughing, and we're still family. Enjoy!

Go sledding

If you have snow, you need to get yourself a snow tube and get out there and have fun. What's better than sliding down an icy hill with a runny nose and bright red cheeks? Not much!

No snow where you live? Oh, you lucky so and so! Get outside with a giant Jenga and have some laughs.

Board games

My kids always object to playing board games but once we sit down and start playing, they're all in. I'm super happy about that because I love my board games! I become overly competitive and trash talk, but I'm okay with that.

Our faves include Cards Against Humanity (bonus that our kids are now old enough to play this raunchy one), Pick Your Poison (this one is so fun-lots of laughs!), and Ticket to Ride (we've been playing this for years--let's just say this one involves a LOT of trash talk).

Kick it up a notch

If tuition hasn't wiped you out and you are able to take it up a notch, check out some of these cool options. My goal for next year is to snag that Pac-Man game. Um, for the family, of course....


How about some tunes on a jukebox? You can always do a Spotify dance party if this is out of your budget, that's what I will be doing. 🙂


Happy Holidays!

So, however you celebrate, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your college student and family.