Whether this Christmas is your first holiday away from home or you’re just not sure how to celebrate with your crazy work schedule, winter holidays during a DCP internship are entirely non-traditional. Despite long hours, or distance from family and friends, you can still celebrate the season during the Disney College Program, here’s how:
Don’t worry about celebrating the holidays on December 25
Or the 24th, or any other holiday for that matter. You more than likely will not have it off, and that’s fine. You’re not in the minority here, in fact you’re probably more likely to find yourself alone for the holidays if you do manage to have the day off. (Most CPs will be working the holidays, so don’t stress if you find yourself on the schedule). Get some friends together and make time to celebrate on whatever day and time happens to work– don’t sweat it if it doesn’t fall on the holiday.
Host a holiday party
I somehow did manage to be off on Christmas during my program. As I mentioned before, everyone else I knew was working so I tried to pick up a shift. To my surprise, all of the part-timers who I usually picked up shifts from wanted to work to get the holiday pay, so I was left with the day off.
For Christmas day, I decided to cook and make a spread that my friends and neighbors could enjoy before or after their shifts. I got up super early to cook everything, and while it was a lot of work to do alone it was so worth it to give other CPs a chance to enjoy Christmas too. I had guests in my apartment from about 10:00 am to 4:00 am the next day (because everyone’s work schedules were so different) but it was really nice to be able to spend the holiday with so many different people!
Tour the resorts’ holiday decor
The parks will be crowded during the holidays, and especially if you live in Orlando you’ll find that it just isn’t worth the headache to fight the crowds when you can visit any time. Instead, get some friends together and tour Disney’s resorts. They’re all decorated for the holidays and they make for some great photo spots too. If you don’t like to cook you can also take this opportunity to dine at one of the resorts– restaurants like Grand Floridian Cafe and The Wave almost always have availability regardless of how crowded Disney is.
Facetime or call your family on the official holiday
If you have some free time on the holiday, give your family a call or Facetime with them if they are so technologically inclined. They’ll be happy to hear from you and you’ll enjoy having a little piece of “home” even if only for a moment during the holidays.
Your friends and neighbors are your family too
However you choose to spend the holidays, don’t forget to include your roommates, friends, and neighbors. Even if you’re doing just fine being away from home, this is the time of year when many CPs start to feel homesick. It’s the perfect time to organize a roommate outing or check on your next door neighbors, or just be there for that coworker who seems to be really missing home.
Keep your family’s holiday traditions alive
When I prepared my Christmas spread in my apartment, I made some of the traditional food I have with my family at home, like antipasto and spadinis. Most of my friends on the program had never had either of these, and they were excited to try something new– and I enjoyed having something familiar for the holidays. You can even encourage other CPs to bring their family traditions over and have a potluck!
The holidays during your Disney College Program are like no other experience you’ll ever have during this time of year once your program is over. Take it all in and enjoy making memories with your friends, and if you’re missing home don’t fret as you’ll be back before you know it.