How To Deal When Your Housemate Becomes A Christmas Lunatic
The Debrief: She's perfect 335 days of the year, so why does my housemate become a dick at christmas?
My housemate once tidied my bedroom, she brings me tea in bed, fairly often, and organises ALL the council tax bills. She stays calm in the face of freak-outs (including those that involve mice infestations). And is on constant hand with my other friends Grigio and Haribo at the end of shitty days.
Basically she’s fucking perfect. A living dream, all in a room right next to mine. That is until December hits, and then she becomes, well, a lot of a dick.
It all begins around the start of the month with the insistence of a tree. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m no Christmas Grinch. I love the merriment (read: an advent of alcohol – each day I find a new spirit), and any excuse to eat mince pies for breakfast. I even enjoy a bit of foliage in the corner of my living room adorned by twinkling fairy lights.
But do I need to spend 50 quid on a tree that must ‘touch the ceiling like the one in Home Alone’ and another £20 on getting it delivered? Probably not, I’m skint. And yet, should I dare question my housemate’s need a gigantic tree, then I’ve ruined Christmas – all by the 2nd of December.
You see, one whiff of mulled wine and fern, and my sweet, kind best friend turns into a manic Monica from Friends crossed with Elf (in the scene when he stays up all night decorating with paper snowflakes).
‘What’s important about Christmas is that it marks the end of the year, and this is probably why people feel entitled to loosen up and become wild. It is a way to get rid of stress accumulated throughout the year,’ psychologist Ben Voyer tells me, trying to give me a reason why we change come December.
And yet for my roomie her expectations for the festive season is so HUGE, her stress, and thus mine, increase tri-fold. Perhaps even ten-fold.
Thankfully I’m not alone. ‘One of my friends sets the bar so incredibly high that she becomes a nervous wreck from roughly 20 November to Christmas Day,’ a dear collegue who has a similar problem with one of her mates tells me.
‘Last year she attempted a meter-tall Ferrero Rocher mountain, a grotto in the bathroom, and handmade Christmas jumpers – except she finished work at six so was still in her pyjamas when everyone turned up and kept bursting into tears whenever anyone said the house looked Christmassy, muttering something about the lack of grotto, and running outside for a cigarette. She doesn’t normally smoke.’
For me, other inevitable stages of her madness include her transformation into Nigella on speed (no, not literally). But my relaxed roomie, who will normally join me for pasta pesto with a glass of plonk most evenings suddenly expects us to cook slow-roasted meats with a dribble of jus each evening. Why?
‘Because it’s CHRIIIISSSTTTMAS!!’ This does, of course, have some eating benefits (I can still taste that delicious pork roulade last year). But most of the time I’m left with guilt that I’m offering her half of my £1 meal deal stir-fry from Sainsbury’s when the night before she’s served three courses with a glass of fine port to finish.
Our annual Secret Santa between the friendship group throws another huge tantrum in the air. Now I, like the best of us, enjoy presents – giving and receiving. They usually involve a trip to a joke store for some fake chocolate fags or a visit to Boots for a No.7 glittery nail polish.
Present time does NOT involve seven hours making a Monopoly board of our friendship (I still have this gift in the back of my wardrobe – and it’s never been played). This is not to mention my housemate’s penchant for wrapping: presents are layered in different papers, pleated into tissue masterpieces and decorated with pressed seasonal flowers. Oh, and cards, yep, always homemade with ink calligraphy.
The rest of the month is filled with many other forms of enforced fun: evenings once spent LOLing at Netflix is replaced with rounds of the hat game and charades.
‘One of my housemates completely shuts down over Christmas. From his birthday in late November he stops going out on the weekends and instead spends them watching Elf, Home Alone and Jingle All The Way amongst other amazing and not-so-amazing Christmas films,’ another friend tells me empathising that ‘last weekend he managed nine films and the only conversation I managed to get out of him was “Want to go home for Christmas”.’
I’ve once attempted to confront my friend about her manic merriment pre-December in the hope to cull her before it started. All attempts failed in a whirlwind of ‘I just enjoy the traditions of the season, what’s SO wrong with that?’
So I now accept my only respite will arrive when we both head home to our parents around the 22nd. One year, I made the heinous mistake of taking the journey with her to see her family for the few days before Christmas.
I could see her parents grimace in fear with the arrival of my friend, also known as their daughter. They too knew the torment that was about to begin and sure enough, just three hours later, a huge screaming row evolved about why they hadn’t replaced the oven as this one ‘would never be able to get hot enough to do Jamie’s crispy goose fat tats!!’.
I scurried home to my parents the next morning, thankful that when I saw my housemate next on the 30th for NYE preperations, her Christmas perfectionist lunatic alter ego would be gone. And my gorgeous lovely best friend would be back – until next December that is.
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