Ever found yourself wondering, “Can I really stay in my uni accommodation over the Christmas break?” We get it; sometimes heading home just isn’t on the cards. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of Christmas stays at uni.

The Christmas period during uni life

So, first things first. Uni life has its own rhythm, right? There’s the Christmas vibe around mid-October to December, and then there’s Easter and summer breaks to look forward to. Knowing what to expect when these breaks hit is key.

Maybe your home feels like another planet, or train fares are just mental. Perhaps you’ve got coursework deadlines haunting your festive mood, or maybe you just fancy a quiet Christmas with your uni pals.

Well, when it comes to hanging out at your student accommodation across the Christmas period, there are sadly no one-size-fits-all rules. Every uni has its own set of rules. Before you get too comfy, have a gander at your accommodation contract. Some unis are chill about you staying over the festive season, but watch out – the catered halls might be on a break.

Why stay at uni over Christmas?

If you fancy a quiet, distraction-free zone, your uni room could be perfect. Especially if you have work to get through. Plus, wandering around the city without the usual hustle and bustle of students can be pure bliss.

When it comes to the winter break, not everyone wants to head back home. Whether you’d prefer spending Christmas day with your uni mates, or you consider uni your true home, there are plenty of reasons why you might wanna stay in your student accommodation over Christmas.

staying at uni over christmas

Can you stay in uni accommodation over Christmas?

Sometimes going back home over the winter break just isn’t feasible. Maybe you have work experience, you’ve taken a job locally or you simply prefer to hang back at uni over the festive period.

But does that mean you’re allowed to stay in your accommodation?

Check your accommodation contract

First thing first, you gotta check your accommodation contract. Some halls of residence contracts are around 31 weeks, which may mean you need to book extra accommodation across Christmas. Most students will disappear across the Christmas period, which means halls will be empty anyway – so it’s not like there’s no space!

However, this will depend on your accommodation contract. Vacation accommodation is often available at your halls, subject to availability. To organise this, speak to your student support or halls reception.

The cost may depend on the room type

Often, your uni halls will offer a lower rate for staying across the festive season. Again, this will depend on your accommodation contract. The cost can depend on whether it’s a single room, single room with a queen bed (for example), or room with an en-suite, or shared bathroom. Your best bet is to liaise with your university and tell them you aim to stay across Christmas.

The majority of the time, you’re paying for your student accommodation anyway, so all you need to do is figure out if you’re allowed to stay over Christmas!

Can you stay in your term time room?

This will totally depend on your university halls. However, most unis will try to accommodate you in your term time room where possible.

What about the Easter break?

When it comes to the Christmas and Easter holidays, lots of students choose to stay back in their new city. For further information regarding your specific uni halls, speak to your student support for advice. Don’t worry, there’s always a way around it if your term time room isn’t technically ‘available’ across the break.

But it is important to get organised ahead of time, so you don’t have to worry.

How to make the most of your student accommodation over the Christmas period

Whether a few of your mates are hanging back over the festive season, or you’re flying solo, when you’re not studying (or working), what else should you get up to? Here are a few ideas to keep you busy over the festive period. After all, Christmas at uni can feel a bit strange, but there are some ways to make your stay feel more every day.

staying at uni at christmas

Binge a new series

Just as diving into a new book can keep you occupied for hours, there’s nothing quite like becoming engrossed in a new TV show, where each episode’s ending leaves you craving the next. The best part? Having a flat to yourself means you can binge-watch to your heart’s content. Just remember to grab some snacks. Don’t forget to catch some Christmas films while you’re there, though.

Learn to cook

If microwave dinners and frozen pizza have been your go-to for the last term, now’s your chance to channel your inner Gordon Ramsay.

With the whole kitchen at your disposal, there’s no rush, and you can be as untidy as you like. Plus, you won’t have to manoeuvre around the usual chaos of a shared kitchen. Don’t go leaving the mess too long, though, that’s just gross.

Why not indulge in a lavish meal, or whip up a homemade dessert? Here’s a little recipe inspiration to kick things off.

christmas at uni

Treat yourself

If none of your friends are staying at uni during the holidays, chances are you’ll have some solo time. The silver lining? You have the freedom to do as you please, on your own schedule.

Grab those books or movies you’ve been meaning to check out and allocate a day or two to doing absolutely sod all. Put a face mask on, play your Xbox, do whatever you need for a little self care time.

Skype friends and family

Even if you’re away from home during Christmas, you can still be a part of the festivities. If you’re hanging back at your student accommodation across the Christmas period, jump on Skype or FaceTime with your pals.

See who else is around

While it may feel like you’re set to spend the holidays solo at uni, remember, you’re not the only one. There will be fellow students in the same boat – you just need to find them!

Start by chatting with your coursemates. If that doesn’t get you anywhere, your students’ union or the reception at your student accommodation might be aware of others staying back for the holidays or even hosting an event.

Alternatively, take advantage of Facebook groups and other channels to see who else is hanging back over Christmas. You might make some new friends! When you find your tribe, why not cook Christmas dinner together?

christmas doing uni work

Get a headstart on your uni work

While it may be tempting to lay in bed, stay up late and spend hours just eating pizza and playing games… If you’ve got a pile of uni work waiting for you, the Christmas period might be the perfect time to catch up. Maybe you’ve got an assignment due in January, a retake or reading to do, now’s the time.

Remember though, you do need to take some time off over Christmas. Just don’t slob about the whole time, maybe?

Believe me, if you get ahead with a little work, you’ll thank me later.

Get involved in the local community

Numerous charities would appreciate your efforts during the holiday season. Whether it’s assisting at homeless shelters or contributing to food banks, there are numerous opportunities to make a difference in your community. And it’s not just about supporting fellow humans; animals also require attention during this time. Consider reaching out to Cats Protection or the Dogs Trust to see how you can contribute. Who knows? It might even turn into a consistent commitment.