The bad house guest mistakes to avoid at Christmas - are you guilty of any of them?

'No you can't put on your own playlist....'

mauve living room with christmas tree and fireplace
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Christmas is the time when family and friends gather together and celebrate, but having people around is not always all it’s cracked up to be. There are certain bad house guest habits which drive many, including the Ideal Home team, up the wall. 

Christmas can be a stressful time, especially for those hosting, from making sure everyone has a drink, to keep the kids entertained. The last thing you need is a poorly-behaved house guest adding to the stress and ruining your Christmas party ideas.

Bad house guest mistakes to avoid

However, we also recognise in the modern day and age house etiquette can get a bit confusing so the Ideal Home team has put together a few of our top pet peeves and bad house guest habits to steer clear off. 

Take this as your modern day Christmas house etiquette guide.

1. Don't treat your host's house like a hotel

red and white ribbon around a twig in the shape of a Christmas tree with a handwritten note

(Image credit: Future PLC)

When you’ve been invited round to a family or friend’s home for Christmas, remember that it is someone’s home and not a hotel. While you might take shampoos and toiletries from hotels, this is not ok when you are a house guest. 

Check to make sure your host is ok with you using their toiletries. Or better yet bring your own to avoid any confusion or awkward conversations about why their favourite shampoo is now finished.  

2. Don't be a last minute fussy eater

christmas dining table with foliage and house decorations in glass cloches with christmas tree behind

(Image credit: Future PLC)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having particular dietary requirements or preferences such as you can only eat the turkey leg. But, give your host plenty of notice so they can prepare in advance and cater to everyone. 

Ideal Home’s Ecommerce Editor Amy Lockwood says 'any unusual dietary requirements that haven't been mentioned until they arrive' is one of her biggest pet peeves, making hosting a total nightmare.

3. Don’t take board games so seriously

coffee table with silver squirrel, monopoly game, and two glasses

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Repeat after me, it is just a game. Christmas is not the time to be a bad house guest and start arguments over the Monopoly board or shout about a bad Pictionary drawing. Games at Christmas time are meant to be a fun and relaxing way to get everyone together. Christmas is the one time when you can forget about your winning streak and just play to have fun.  

4. Don’t go snooping

Christmas presents wrapped in blue and green patterned paper with lights and a bird ornament

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Snooping is a big no-no for the Ideal Home team. ‘My top pet peeve would be if they start wandering around unannounced looking inside different rooms without me around,' says Ideal Homes Junior Writer Julia Joson. 'Surprisingly, it happens more often than you'd think - however, I'm always happy to host guests providing they're respectful of my space and just happy to be there.’ 

Ideal Home’s Editor Heather Young seconds that, she adds ‘For me that's mainly because I'll have cleaned and tidied downstairs but upstairs is total mayhem!’ 

5. Don't bring unannounced guests

Christmas dining room table with decorations and golden star hanging at the window

(Image credit: Future PLC)

When you’re hosting at Christmas, space is often at a premium, and there may not be enough stuffing for that an unexpected extra guess. So don’t turn up announced to your host's Christmas decorated front door with an extra guest, because it could throw the whole plan your host is sticking to in disarray. No one wants less turkey, or to have to sit on the fold out deck chair due to an unexpected guest.  

6. Not asking about the shoe on or off policy

Ideal Home’s Deputy Digital Editor Rebecca Knight's top pet peeve is guests not asking if they should take their shoes off at the door. ‘I've got cream carpets in a rented flat, so I appreciate it if people are thoughtful enough to ask.’ 

Whether it's a shoes-on or shoes-off household, it's just a nice courtesy to ask. 

Christmassy hallway with stocking and mini christmas tree

(Image credit: Future PLC)

7. Putting things in the wrong place

We get it, you want to be helpful when cleaning up, but if you don't know where it goes just ask or leave it alone.

‘I find it annoying when people put things back in the wrong places,' says Ideal Home's Heather Young. 'It's great that they're offering to help with washing up, but I'd rather they left stuff for me to put away, or there'll be things I know I'll never find again.’

8. Turning up early

If your invite says 7, turn up at 7! Nobody is going to be happy if you turn up during the Christmas table prep at 6.50.

Ideal Home’s Assistant Editor Thea Babington-Stitt says this is one of her top pet peeves, 'turning up more than 5 mins earlier than asked, otherwise I'll still be running around in my dressing gown, hoover in hand doing last minute tidy ups before throwing on my outfit!’

shelving with Christmas tree decorations including Noel lettering, Christmas tree, Santa statue

(Image credit: Future PLC/TALBOT)

9. Commandeering the playlist

The whole Ideal Home team concurred that top bad house guest behaviour is thinking this is the time to act out their DJ fantasies. When someone asks to put their phone/spotify on the bluetooth when you've already got a curated playlist going on.

So if you want to be invited to Christmas next year, don't be a bad house guest and make sure you’re not guilty of any of these annoying habits.

Imani Cottrell
Content Editor

 Imani Cottrell is Ideal Home’s Content Editor, she graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from Nottingham Trent University in 2018.

She then went on to join the Royal Television Society and worked on their digital team writing about all things TV. In 2022 she joined the Ideal Home team and is getting to express her passion for all things interior design. In her spare time she loves discovering new homeware brands and travelling to new places for design inspiration.