International students can join us on this one: sometimes it is simply not possible to go home during the holidays. Flatmates and friends all seem to be leaving and loneliness possibly sets in. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether it’s your first year of embracing holidays away from home or if you’re returning to that tradition, don’t despair – your options just got better.

Share the experience

Chances are someone else is in the same position as you over Christmas – why not plan a get together for Christmas Day or a Christmas themed party? Think of this as an opportunity to make new friends and share in the festive spirit. Don’t worry too much if you haven’t hosted a Christmas party before – someone’s already taken care of the ideas and planning.

Share the festive spirit(s) with someone this Christmas.

Travel around

You’re probably aware of this, but Edinburgh and Glasgow are only a short train ride away – and they are two of the most exciting Christmas destinations in Scotland. The Scottish capital has a range of activities available this season, and most of them are free.

Take part in the 24 Doors of Advent (1st – 24th December) and explore a new area of Edinburgh each day, or go to the Edinburgh Christmas Market (19th November – 7th January) and treat yourself to a little gingerbread man!

Edinburgh can be pretty spectacular at Christmas.

Don’t fancy Edinburgh? Glasgow has Christmas markets too. This year they return to St. Enoch Square (10th November – 22nd December) and George Square (26th November – 29th December), offering up delicious gifts and beautiful handicrafts. Great for last minute presents!

Make the most of Christmas in Stirling

For a small city, Stirling packs a punch when it comes to festivities. You don’t have to look far for them – this year, the Macrobert is organising a handmade crafts sale (12th December – 8th January).

There is also a Christmas Ceilidh at the Tolbooth which you might find gets you into the festive spirit. What better way to spend the lead up to Christmas in Stirling than celebrating the festive season with friends and family in traditional Scottish style? Don’t worry if you’ve never been to a ceilidh before – the band will talk you through the dances. You WILL have fun at a ceilidh.

There’s loads to do for Christmas in Stirling this year.

Listen to some Christmas carols

You don’t have to be religious to enjoy Christmas carols. Head over to the Christian Union (located in the Chaplaincy) and grab yourself an invitation to a carol service at Allan Park South Church. Alternatively, Stirling Baptist Church is holding a carol service on 18th December.

There’s so much to do this holiday season to cure the winter blues. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all – so be sure to make some memories this year!

– Gabriele Misgirdaite, Francesca Sella & Sarah Raffles, Student Assistants