Christmas is supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men (and women). Tragically however, with the extra time spent together indoors (often as days are shorter / Christmas parties are organised) arguments occur. See below for a run down of the most common Christmas holiday arguments we’ve experienced along with some simple suggestions to avoid them…
1. Buying a rubbish secret santa gift and making it obvious it was you
For some, the idea of Secret Santa brings excitement, but for others (more frequently guys as opposed to girls) it brings thoughts of dread: “another chore” when our calendars are already jam packed. Despite the tempting option of grabbing a box of Celebrations on the way home at the corner-shop, try to put at least a little effort in, so not to disappoint those that are looking forward to their surprise gift.
Put together a quick housemate profile in your head, to help you work out the most suitable gift:
- Pet hates
Based on this, you’ll now be able to find something a little more personal in the shops. Using the information above, these website have a present finder that should help you:
If all this fails and your gift still disappoints, fear not – it’s SECRET Santa after all! Keep cool and don’t give it away by following the tips below to avoid being accused:
- Share sympathy “Oh that’s a bit rubbish”, but don’t overdo it
- Make eye contact but again avoid exaggerated hypnotic stares
- Suggest ways the gift is good / useful “oh you could use it for…”
2. Not paying for your share of the Christmas dinner bill
This is an easy one to do, what with all the other Christmas stuff you’ve got to think about! Fortunately it’s easy to get out of:
- A simple apology along with swift payment thereafter should keep your flatmates happy
- If your roommates like to hold a grudge, try rounding up the bill total to the nearest £5 / £10
- If they still seem a little annoyed, maybe shout them a beer or glass of wine too
3. Getting with another housemate at the Christmas party
If you’re lucky enough to live in a house share with attractive housemates of the opposite sex, all the Christmas parties and free flowing booze can often introduce temptation: a quick snog or more… This is a classic conundrum that often seems like a great idea at the time, but usually becomes a massive headache the next morning (even worse than the one brought on from your hangover).
Obvious methods of avoiding this are to stay t-total (boring) and just being more strict on yourself (easier said than done). If it’s already too late follow the steps below for damage control:
- Ask yourself, do I want this to be more than a one off thing?
- Ask the housemate in question: do you want this to be a one off or more?
- If others already know about it, be honest, laugh it off, letting it get to you will only drive them on
4. Forgetting a vegetarian / vegan Christmas dinner option
Is one of your flatmates a Vegetarian or a Vegan? If so, this can be a nightmare. It may seem easy to just make them eat more Brussels sprouts, but this is likely to get their backs up. Consider these points to keep everyone happy, including the hipster hippies in your flat:
- Replace the meat with a suitable replacement: goats cheese tart, or a nut roast perhaps
- Roast potatoes are often cooked in Goose fat, so replace this with olive / vegetable oil.
- Gravy is usually made from chicken / beef stock, so make sure you use vegetable stock
5. Eating the last mince pie / nice tasting chocolate
So you’re sitting on the couch, watching all the annual repeats of the usual Christmas movies – Die Hard, Home Alone etc. It’s all too common for this to go hand in hand with a subconscious feasting of the communal chocolates / mince pies, before realising you’ve finished them all! Aw shucks, it wasn’t intentional, but your roommates are unlikely to believe this. Some solutions to this predicament:
- Make sure to have a back up supply hidden in your room to replace what you’ve eaten
- Keep your head down, perhaps the other roomies won’t realise you ate them all
- Nip down to the shops and grab some more before anyone notices
6. Letting it slip that “Santa isn’t real’ to the younger housemates
This one isn’t likely to ever occur, unless your housemates are either worryingly young or have have had an extremely sheltered upbringing. For whatever reason if you put your foot in it, just back track and come out with one of these little gems:
- Say that you mean Santa isn’t real (that’s the media’s version) but St Nicholas is totally real
- Start crying and explain that he is real, you’re just pissed off from receiving nothing the previous year after being a bad boy / girl
- State that you’re just joking, then quickly go away and write up a fake note to show as proof that you still believe in him
7. Not letting other housemates have a say on the Christmas music
It’s nearly Christmas so you’d think it makes sense to slap on some Christmas tunes, however this isn’t always the case… By December time people are often sick of the sound of Cliff Richard banging on about mistletoe and wine, thanks to the premature playing of these festive classics by work colleagues, pubs and department stores.
Therefore remember it won’t necessarily be a unanimous decision in favour of Christmas music, so instead mix things up a bit with more universal music. If you’re looking for some alternative Christmas themed tunes, check out James Brown’s “Funky Christmas” album and Bob Dylan’s “Christmas in the heart” album.
8. Knocking down the Christmas tree in a drunken stupor
After hours of intense effort (usually by the girls) to spruce up the house / flat / apartment in time for Christmas, it’s not too difficult to understand how coming home late from a work party then falling into the Christmas tree can cause a few housemate tifs.
To avoid, try to stay clear of these delicate decorations when drunk and also make sure to place these well out of the way e.g. in corners of the room.
9. Causing the flat bills to rocket by leaving the heating on
Bills are often the number one topic of arguments within a shared living environment, most notably the larger ones for gas and/or electricity. Avoid these becoming an issue during the cold season (if you’re in the northern hemisphere) by keeping the heating and hot water on an agreed time schedule. DO NOT be tempted to turn on at other times unless consent is given by the majority of others, in case you forget, leave it on and somebody notices…
10. Generally not being full of festive cheer
With the shorter, colder days it’s fairly common for people to suffer from the winter blues. Symptoms include general depression, doom and gloom chat and inability to smile. Try to look out for these amongst your housemates and when diagnosed give them a tickle / hug / glass of wine / pep talk to cheer them up.
So there you have it, a rundown of the likely arguments you’ll come across in your house / flat / apartment this year. Hope you manage to avoid / resolve them – drop a comment below if you’ve come across any others or have any suggested solutions!
(Image courtesy of Brian Neudorff)