The holiday season is inarguably one of the most exciting times of year. Whether it's icing cookies with friends at home or browsing a festive holiday market downtown, there are endless opportunities to revel in the holiday cheer. Unfortunately, the holidays have become inexorably linked to abundant spending, something that us college students are certainly wary of. However, it is definitely possible to still indulge in the holiday spirit without going broke. Here are some ideas:

1. Head down to Washington Harbour's ice rink on Thursday's for a student discount. ($14) 

Don't lie, ice skating is definitely on your wintertime bucket list, and as it should be. No matter your skill–or lack thereof–you should definitely head down some Thursday to the wharf for discounted student skating. With a student ID, college students can get $2 off their skating experience. Granted, the experience will still bring you down $14, but if unlimited ice-skating beneath the festively-lit tree at the Waterfront sounds like a can't-miss, take advantage of their student pricing. If you have time, go once it's dark out to fully enjoy the Christmas tree lights. Bonus points if you bring your own skates–you'll only have to pay $8 admissions. 

2. Meander across upper Wisconsin Avenue to enjoy "A Book Hill Holiday." ($0)

Spend your Saturday afternoon (12/14) right off campus enjoying the neighborhood amidst Christmastime. Grab a friend or two and stroll down Wisconsin Avenue to support some local businesses as they team up to provide a festive shopping haven. You may have to exercise some self-restraint from spending all your money on holiday gifts and seasonal treats, but if you do choose to drop some money, feel good about supporting your local stores. However, you can still enjoy the afternoon without spending a penny–just enjoy the samples that participating businesses will offer. Think of the afternoon as a glamorous Costco run, and keep one simple mantra in mind: samples, samples, samples. You can refresh your sample-scouting skills with this guide to sampling at a real Cotsco.

3. Admire the various GLOW exhibits scattered around the Georgetown areas. ($0)

This year, GLOW (running now until January 5) is featuring 11 public light-art installations across the Georgetown area. The M Street area offers the best opportunity for enjoying the different installations, including pieces next to Sweetgreen Tavern, the walkway next to Dean and Deluca's old storefront, and the canal below Pinstripes (just off Grace Street). Once you reach the Waterfront, challenge your friends to the interactive installation "Lightbattle," where you compete on stationary bikes power your lights across the entire arch first. Bundle up in something cute, too, because although the nighttime air will be chilly, you'll definitely want to take some pictures with the breathtaking art pieces. 

4. Make a DIY hot chocolate bar and watch your favorite holiday movie. ($0-$10)

coffee, chocolate, espresso, mocha, milk
Xinwei Zeng

Sometimes, you just want to stay in and stay cozy. Channel your inner Pinterest energy into a cute hot chocolate bar and prepare a drink with which you can curl up to watch a holiday movie. This wholesome afternoon or evening requires only one hot-chocolate packet per person, a package of marshmallows, some candy-canes, and a can of whipped cream. But feel free to get creative with other goods such as cinnamon, Nutella, and even espresso (if finals have you grinding). Empty the toppings into some cute mugs or dishes if you're going for an aesthetic... or just leave them in their packaging if it's more about the destination than the journey for you. If you or a friend still needs to use up the rest of your Flex (assuming you didn't run out within the first two weeks), head to an on-campus grocery store to stock up on your hot-chocolate bar essentials. Otherwise, snag some toppings from around campus–the Cawley career center has mini candy canes at the reception counter, and Leo's ice cream bar offers mini chocolate chips that are perfect for topping your drink. 

The holiday season can add up, but if you  take advantage of your student status, nearby neighborhood events, and campus resources, you can inexpensively enjoy all the holiday season has to offer. So go ahead and treat yourself, because even you, a broke college student, should take time to indulge in the most wonderful time of year.