5 Secret Santa Tips OR How to make Secret Santa less awkward

Secet santa in a house share

It’s getting to that time of year again when someone in your house says “oh! We should do Secret Santa!” And before you know it, you’re queuing up in a Pound Land to buy 15 jars of salsa because Fajitas is the only thing you’ve seen your housemate eat.

It doesn’t have to be shit. In fact, it can actually be fun. Well, as fun as buying cheap gifts for people you don’t really know can be. Here are our Top 5 Tips!

1) Use A Name Drawing Website

Very simple, very easy. Getting all the members of your house in the same room can be hard work. Getting them to all sit down for long enough to make the draw is even harder. But if you use a lovely naming drawing website, like the cleverly titled DrawNames or SecretSantaElf, then no one even needs to see each other. Just enter the names and when they accept, everyone is sent their secret Santa.

2) Make A Wish List

You don’t want someone buying you 400 earbuds or a rubber duck because you “spend ages in the bathroom.” It’s annoying, and not funny. Make everyone note down one or two reasonable things they’d like. With this, people have the option to get you something you’d actually like.

3) Set a price limit

There’s nothing more awkward than watching your housemate open the jar of pasta sauce you bought them whilst holding that super nice new jumper they just bought you in your hands. This is easily avoidable. Just set a price limit. £10 is a good limit.

4) Avoid Cheap Jokes

Look, we’re not being boring old farts (although the phrase “old fart” doesn’t really support that case), but – honestly – most people don’t find the joke presents funny. In fact, they’re kind of annoying. “Oh thanks! Haha! You bought me a penis shaped lollypop. This is much better than an actual gift…”

5) Quantity is better than quality

If you’re really, REALLY struggling to think of something decent, seriously don’t worry about it. Just buy loads of useful things for the person, at least that way they’ll be like “oh cool, I’d actually ran out of ketchup – thanks for buying me eight bottles.”

Image courtesy of Alexander Baxevanis, licensed under CC BY 2.0

The post-party clean-up

Post party clean up flatshare

As soon as you move into your own place, the first thing you want to do is throw a party. It’s natural. It’s that inner-teenager in you. All those adolescent dreams of “man, when I’m older and I live on my own, I’m going to throw a huge party every weekend” are finally coming true. Although, admittedly, you probably won’t throw one every weekend (you’re not an animal) and the “house-warming” party you’ve told everyone about will probably get postponed by eight or nine months.

BUT, eventually the time will come when the stars align and the party will happen. It’ll either be underwhelming, with most people leaving by 11, or overwhelming, with no one getting there till eleven. Whatever happens, there will be a mess in the morning. A mess that YOU need to sort out before the uptight guy who lives upstairs gets back from his weekend away in Kent. These are some easy steps to get the house spotless faster than you can say hoover.

Get an “on demand” cleaner

Now, this is only for extreme circumstances. If there’s more vomit than carpet in your lounge and more urine than water in your bathroom then just call in the experts. You’re hungover. You don’t need to mess about. This is an expensive solution to your problem, granted, but money doesn’t matter when you’re hanging. Just type in “Same Day Cleaning Service” into Google and you’ll be awash with options – HouseKeep is a good cleaning option in London. You can just sit there and watch Netflix.

Whoever crashed helps

Whoever passed out on your sofa or on your kitchen floor is your own personal cleaner. You were good enough to house them, now make them work for their bed. Find it too awkward to ask? Simply clean around them and keep asking them to pass you things or move. They’ll soon get the message.

Lure your neurotic housemate(s) in

Everyone has a clean-freak housemate. Can’t think who the one in your house is? It’s probably you. But if it’s NOT you, then lure them into the kitchen and just sit there. Soon they’ll snap and just start scrubbing. If they moan? Offer to make them breakfast/lunch/dinner depending on what time you rolled out of bed.

Blackbag EVERYTHING

After particularly brutal parties, everything in your house will be covered in spilt Sambuca and every service will be home to a can of Fosters. Salvage nothing. Get the blackbag, and scoop it all in. There are still some crackers in this box? Bin it. Half of this gin is still good? Bin it. If you want to get things sorted quickly, just blind binning is all you need. (be warned, environmentalist types may not like this ‘everything get’s binned’ attitude, and may prefer to recycle some stuff…)

Mop mop mop

Whatever happens, just mop. The mopping is the most important part. You can probably leave the rest of the mess till you’re feeling better, but that sticky kitchen floor cannot stay. Mop and you’ll feel better.

Image courtesy of Rin Johnson, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Where the fu** do you put a bike in a house share?

Where to put a bike in flatshare - lego

Cycling is absolutely brilliant. It’s good exercise, environmentally friendly and, obviously, loads of fun. But, when you live in a houseshare and space is an issue, a bike can really get in the way. Pop it in the hallway? Blocking your housemate’s door. In the kitchen? Someone’ll moan about hygiene. The lounge? Now nobody can see the TV. We’re exhausted just thinking about it, and that’s without having to lug a bloody bike around.

So at WDMM we’ve decided to get to the bottom of this age-old debate. We’ll rank the common and often used bike spots in a flatshare out of 10, taking practicality and effectiveness into harsh consideration.

Local garage

This is a great idea. Loads of city’s have garage’s you can rent and drop your bike in. http://www.goodgaragescheme.com is a good place to look for them. That is, however, a tad expensive. And excessive. And if a garage isn’t near your home then it’s a bit pointless. 5/10

Locked up outside

Bikes love being outside. Unless you’re on a velodrome they’re almost exclusively outside. They do, however, rust. And if you live deep in a city, leaving a bike locked up outside is just asking to be stolen. If you’ve got a garden, then this blog provides good tips on how to winterise your bike. But if don’t, maybe it’s a bad idea. 6/10

Your bedroom

Now this keeps YOUR bike out of everyone else’s space. But unless you live on the bottom floor, then you’ll have to lug it up a least one flight of stairs. Plus, bikes get muddy. You don’t want that making tracks all over your room. 2/10

Landing/Hallway

Landings and hallways are often where bikes end up. It’s vaguely out of the way and, in your regular houseshares, people don’t really care about the state of them. It can block doors, however, and trip you or your flatmates up when you come stumbling home drunk. 6/10

A shed

Do you even have a shed? If so, this is the obvious place for your bike to go. It’s literally the perfect place. But sometimes sheds can be rammed right at the back of your garden, down some steps, and then you’ll have to drag it through the house if you don’t have a side gate. Okay. Fine. 7/10

Under the stairs

Most houses have small cupboards or spaces under the stairs. This is an excellent place to keep a bike. Out of the way, hidden. Often houseshares will have dryers or freezers here, but it’s better than keeping it next to your bed. 8/10

Local bike lock ups

You can write to your council and get them to build bike lock ups in your street. You can ask, whether or not they’ll take any notice is a different story. You can also try and find a nearby lockup, but often these need permits 5/10

So, shed and under the stairs look like the perfect places. You’re welcome. If these are unavailable to you, a local garage or on your landing. But regardless of where we advise, realistically you’re just going to leave it wherever is easiest if you, so nevermind.

Image courtesy of Loozrboy, licensed under CC BY 2.0