Roommate Etiquette and Gift Giving This Holiday Season

By Aaron Swartz

With the holiday season upon us, those of you who have the mixed pleasure of living with roommates are probably left pondering the old adage: naughty or nice? Living with roommates can be a lot of fun, but there can also be a lot of questions and challenges when it comes to roommate etiquette regarding gift-giving and the gift itself. Not sure how to approach presents for your roommate this holiday season or what to get them as a gift? Well if you’re dealing with either of these struggles (or even both) then worry not! In this double-whammy of an article, we’ll be giving you our most important pieces of roommate gift-giving etiquette, along with some great gift ideas for the person or people who share your home.

Roommate Finder: Roommate Etiquette and Gift Giving This Holiday Season

Top Tips On Roommate Gift-Giving Etiquette

1. Communicate: Really, where else is there to start, and what else is there to say? When you’re cohabitating with someone you need to be able to talk things out with them, and that certainly applies to holiday traditions. Discuss the holidays with your roommate and make sure that you’re on the same page on all fronts. Are you giving each other gifts this holiday season? Should you set a budget limit so your gifts are appropriate for each other and roughly cost the same? When are you planning to exchange presents? It can make for an uncomfortable moment if you get your roommate a gift and they didn’t get you one or vice versa – or if one of you clearly spent more money and thought on their gift than the other. Either way, discussing how you want to approach the holiday and gifting will make it more enjoyable for both of you.
2. Splitting Costs: If you live with more than one roommate, perhaps you want to split the costs of a gift for one roommate with your other roommate/, and have that be the approach for gifts for each roommate. Of course, this should only be done if you all agree to do so in order to keep the gift-giving fair and the same for everyone.
3. Be Respectful: Perhaps your roommate has different customs when it comes to celebrating holidays, whether it’s because they have a different faith or just different familial traditions. Whatever the case may be, the most polite thing you can do in any circumstance is to simply be respectful. Ask your roommate how they’d like to mark the holiday and treat them as you’d want to be treated.

Now let’s think about one of the best parts of the holiday season: gift-giving! Giving gifts to your roommates can be a lot of fun or kind of tricky depending on how well you know them, so to help you get started here are a few of our favorite ideas.

Top Roommate Gift Ideas

1. Games to Play: Spending time with your roommates is a lot of fun, so get them something that’ll allow you to have fun together! Board games like Settlers of Catan, or card games like the eminent Cards Against Humanity make great gifts for the people you’re living with.
2. Household Items: The biggest thing binding you all together is the fact that you live together, which means you know better than anyone where the weak links are in the household. Need a new spatula, a nice rug, or some pretty drapes for the living room? Does your roommate always complain about the shower and would love to have a new showerhead? Things with household utility can be great gifts for the people in your life.
3. Gag Gifts: If there’s one thing living with friends generates, it’s comedy. We’re willing to bet you have at least a few inside jokes with your roommates, whether it’s about your landlord, a pet cat, or something as random as the letter W. Lean into those jokes and get them something that’ll make them laugh, or get them something that’s just funny on its own, no shared history required.
4. Decorations: There’s one thing that turns a house into a home, and that’s the care you put into decorating it. Whether it’s a picture of a moose from Target or a tasteful yet refined coffee table, decor can be a great gift for your roommates to make your living space even better.
5. Trust Your Gut: Ultimately, there’s only one last piece of advice we can give and that’s to trust your gut. You live with this person, you know what they’re like. If you think they’ll like something, chances are you’re probably right.

The holidays are just about upon us and it’s about time to get rid of the bad and bring in the good. That means reminding yourself how to be the best roommate possible and getting something that’ll really bring light to the fast-approaching new year for those you live with. After reading this article, you’re now prepared to do both, so get out there and do it!

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