Back when I had a home-mate in San Francisco how I should observe the holiday season was a big question mark. Prior to my home sharing, I either went to my mother’s house or my romantic partner invited friends over for the big day. But my first year with my flat-mate, I wasn’t too sure how I would approach it. Would I skip Thanksgiving altogether and just go out for Chinese food or sushi? Would I by chance be invited by a friend, or would my flat-mate and I decide to make it a joint effort? Learning how to make your housemate situation work involves getting to know yourself and making smart choices based on your needs.
How to Plan for the Holidays
It was a bit of a head-scratcher because I didn’t want to invite myself if my friends or Nick had plans, but I also did not want to spend Thanksgiving in a restaurant by myself. Thanksgiving has always been the one holiday I don’t like to see anyone spend it alone. When my mother and step-father were alive, we always invited a college friend and classmate who had no place to go and join us for the big meal. It was fun and it made me feel good.
That particular Thanksgiving I had come to the realization that spending the holidays alone would be my new normal and I had to accept it. I won’t lie, I felt a little sad and pathetic. Happily, it was short-lived because Nick asked what I had in mind for the holiday. When I told him that it was still up in the air, he asked if I wanted to join him and his friends for Thanksgiving. I jumped at the chance and volunteered to cook. We all had a great time, laughed a lot, ate too much, and had leftovers for several days.
I was lucky that I had such an easy-going home-mate who made me feel included in celebrating the holidays (we both shopped for our Christmas tree and we also went out with his colleagues on Christmas Eve). But not all home-mates are that welcoming. How does one approach the question of the holidays?
Questions to Consider for the Holiday Season
My thought on how to handle the question of the holidays is to be up front during the interview process. Ask your potential home-mate how they’ve celebrated the holidays in the past. Find out whether they like entertaining or rather spend a quiet day relaxing. Here are some questions you might want to include during the interview process:
- Do you like to entertain and cook?
- Do you intend to invite your family and friends or go to their homes to observe the holidays?
- Which holidays do you observe?
- Are you fond of holiday decorating?
- How do you feel about having my friends and family come to the house to observe the holidays?
- Are you open to alternating who gets the house for holiday entertaining?
- How do you feel about having a joint holiday celebration?
Exchange answers, talk it out, and come to an agreement. The key here is to communicate early on so there isn’t any awkwardness or conflict during the holiday season.
On that note, I’d like to end this post with…HAPPY THANKSGIVING. Enjoy the day whether you’re the host or guest. Here’s to good food, much love, and being thankful for what we have and are able to share with others.
Read more about navigating the holidays and sharing housing: Thanksgiving Loneliness Overcome , The Winter House, What Are You Doing for the Holidays?
Great suggestions for yet another welcome challenge to those involved with Home sharing.
Thanks for the suggestions.