Illustration by Leanna Wright.

The holiday season can offer magical merriment, cozy family time, or a much-needed break from school. It can also feel emotionally draining and intensify stress surrounding family, social anxiety, and seasonal depression. We dug through the Rookie archives to find some of our favorite essays, DIYs, and gift guides to help you make the most of your winter break.


Reading List

1. From fort-building to letter-writing, The Disconnect: Winter Break Edition is full of fun things to do if you want to spend some time offline during the holidays.

2. In How to Be a Happy Homebody, Hazel Cills provides tips for embracing your inner homebody and enjoying every minute of it.

3. Ragini Nag Rao’s piece, How to Structure Your Days If You’re Depressed, is incredibly helpful for creating a daily routine when you’re battling depression, which can hit particularly hard this time of year.

4. Read Literally the Best Thing Ever: Love Actually, Caitlin Hazell’s illustrated guide to the magic of Love Actually, then spend some time watching the Christmas classic.

5. If you have seasonal depression or are generally feeling down, Blue Christmas by Rachael Prokop will remind you that you aren’t alone and that there are ways to get through it.

6. Sady Doyle’s essay, Surviving a Small Town, is full of inspiration for making the most of growing up in a tiny town, whether you live at home or you’re just visiting for the holidays.

7. In Life Skill: How to Not Buy Any Holiday PresentsKrista Burton relieves your stress about the pressures of gift giving.

8. In Life Skill: How to Graciously Accept a Disappointing PresentKrista relieves your stress about the pressures of gift receiving.

9. Pixie Casey helps you navigate social anxiety during the busy holiday season in her essay, Party Trouper.

10. When you’re going through grief, the holidays can be especially painful. Blue Tinsel by Chris M. is about coping with the sadness, even if it will never be easy.

Things to Do

1. Deck your walls, halls, or tree with these sweet Printable Snow Globe Ornaments by Isabel Ryan.

2. Upgrade your holiday party look with a festive homemade highlighter trick from Rian Phin’s DIY Shimmery Snowflake Makeup tutorial.

3. Give a new life to some found objects with Ragini’s DIY, How to Make a Winter Diorama.

4. Make some cozy all-ages drinks from The Rookie Holiday-Beverage Recipe Jamboree by Dylan Tupper Rupert.

5. Have an at-home spa day with this DIY Snowflake Manicure by Marie Lodi.

6. Read a roundup of some of our favorite seasonal music, Not Just Christmas Music, and find an album to match your mood.

7. Find tips and tunes for the best New Year’s Eve yet with our New Year’s Eve Survival Kit.

Gifting Ideas

A commemorative plaque by Gabby Noone.

1. Make a loved one an embroidered photo, patch, or a recycled friendship bracelet with ideas from The Rookie Gift Guide: DIY Treasures.

2. Refer to Krista’s guide, Eight Ways to Wrap a Gift, for both classic and wildly clever gift-wrapping ideas.

3. Print Kate Leib’s wrapping paper to give your gifts a special touch.

4. Let Jamie Keiles teach you how to make a matchbox shrine, garland, or a chai tea kit, in DIY Ideas No Matter How Broke You Are.

5. Pay tribute to a friend’s funniest tweet or favorite quote with Gabby Noone’s tutorial, Make Your Own Commemorative Plaque.

6. Read Heart-Shaped Box for Tavi Gevinson’s checklist to surprise a long-distance pal with a thoughtful care package.

7. Consult The Rookie Gift Guide: Crafts ’n’ Such to make a fortune teller, a book with secret compartments, or paper bows.

8. Tell your family and friends how much you love them with these beautiful, campy printable greeting cards by Jao San Pedro.

9. Create the tiniest chest of drawers, a pom pom keychain, or a party cracker with help from The Rookie Gift Guide: DIY Presents