Some of us love getting together with our family and friends for the holidays, but not everyone. In reality, there are plenty of people who actually avoid holiday dinners and events for many reasons, but a lot of it stems from family drama. And when Thanksgiving and Christmas rolls around, some individuals are thankful they don't have to spend it with their family.
From estranged relatives, bratty children, to recipes gone wrong, and mishaps no one thought could ever happen, these people share their Thanksgiving stories that still make them dread the holiday season. All content has been edited for clarity.
“Somehow I Got Everyone Home”
“When I was 14, my family decided to go out to a restaurant for Christmas. This restaurant in particular served all sorts of cutesy drinks – appletinis, mochatinis, you name it, it had a ‘-tini’ in the name.
Six or seven rounds later everyone was so hammered that they cried. I was also allotted quite a few sips so for a very naïve 14-year-old I was pretty sloshed. They decided that I was the most sober out of everyone there (and I’m pretty sure I was) so they made me drive them all back to my aunt’s house. I basically learned to drive right then. Keep in mind the ‘car’ was my aunt’s house-sized SUV that went from 0 to 60 in maybe two hours. I had no idea what I was doing but somehow I got everyone home.
No one ever, ever talks about that night. However, when I passed my driving test two years later I got a lot of responses along the line of ‘We all knew you’d pass!’ Uh yeah, flooring it down the freeway as a sloshed 14-year-old teaches you pretty freaking quick.”
She Ruined The Holiday
“My mother had a complete meltdown moments before our guests arrived. I don’t even remember what set her off, but she grabbed the edge of the table and just tipped it right over. Dented the new fridge, food went everywhere. It was a mess. Every dish we were having was now on the carpeted floor, minus the rolls because they were in the oven. I was maybe 11 or 12, and she demanded that I clean it up NOW. My step-dad grabbed my arm and dragged me to the barn. We sat on straw bales until she calmed down. He told her I was not helping her clean it up. The guests didn’t stay. She ruined the holiday for everyone. Typical.”
Too Late To Uninvite
“The first Christmas after my mom died was pretty tough. My dad had found out like a week before that my grandmother (mom’s mom) had been involved in rewriting the will to essentially remove my dad from it. Basically lots of shadiness that benefited her and blindsided my dad, especially given that he’d been married to and taken care of my mother for the duration of her illness.
It was too late to uninvite my grandma. So not only was it two weeks after the death of a family member, nobody spoke a single word the entire evening. The anger and hate was palpable. That was the last time the two were actually in the same room as each other. It’s been ten years.”
What An Announcement
“I invited my girlfriend over for Christmas when I was in high school. We had had been intimate together for our first time the night before and during dinner she abruptly shouted out, ‘I’m pregnant, I took a test this morning and it’s positive. I told you rubbers don’t work.’
There was a lot of yelling, I don’t remember what all was said, but my older brother knew the night before was our first time, and he yelled at her that if she’s testing positive it can’t be mine. She argued for a minute but once my older relatives realized what had happened they all started calling her a liar, and she eventually left. She even switched schools after that, and apparently she was pregnant with someone else’s kid.”
“A ‘Nice’ Memory For Christmas”
“My great-grandmother died at the table right as we were bowing our heads to pray on Christmas. She had been slowly dwindling in health so the whole family gathered together figuring it was her last holiday, little did we know how right we were.
Her kids, their kids, and their kids’ kids, family she hasn’t seen in years, about 20 people all gathered around with her pushed up in her recliner. Food was stuffed on the table, and we bowed our heads to pray (she was devoutly religious) before we dug in. As we raised our heads and opened our eyes we found great-grandma slumped over, tongue rolling out dead. As someone started compressions and another person called an ambulance, my youngest cousin dug into her meal completely unaffected by the dead body.
Anyway, a nice memory for Christmas every year.”
Not The Robe They Would Want To Find
“I was around 5-6 years old. Us kids were playing hide-n-seek and I hid way in the back of Grandma’s closet. While I was hiding back there, I found this beautiful deep red robe, I assumed it belonged to my grandfather who died just after I was born. I tried it on and it was huge on me but the silk felt really smooth and cool, so I decided to go ask my grandma if I could have it to grow into.
Turns out granddad was a Grand Dragon in the Carolina KKK and it was his ceremonial robe. The family members who didn’t know about this already were highly upset, the ones who knew were embarrassed as could be. There was a small riot when I walked into the kitchen wearing it. That was an awkward Christmas”
Like An Episode Of Jerry Springer
“My mom, grandmother, and I had just gotten back from eating at my aunt’s house. My mom and I lived with my grandmother along with my uncle. I was the first in the house and heard my uncle in a screaming match with his ex-wife on the phone. I had horrible anxiety as a child so any loud noise or slightly raised voices made me have a panic attack, so I immediately ran to my mom. By this time, my uncle had unplugged his phone line and his ex was repeatedly calling my grandmother’s phone line, making my grandmother anxious to the point of having chest pains.
My mom calmly took the phone and told her to not call anymore because she thought her mother was having a heart attack and was going to dial 911. My uncle’s ex started to laugh, which set my mom off, and called her a hag before hanging up. My uncle apparently heard this or had plugged his phone back in and gotten a call from the ex, because he asked my mom to go outside with him to talk. They went on the porch and he said, ‘I’m glad you came out, I don’t want [me] to see what I’m going to do to you’ as he lifted his fist up to hit her.
Somehow my mom maintained control and simply told him if he hit her he’d be spending the night in jail. My grandmother came outside with some of his clothes in a trash bag and told him to leave.
My family is a Jerry Springer episode.”
They Don’t Come To Family Events Anymore
“One Christmas, my uncle yelled at me right before a family photo, so I walked away to cool down for a moment. Obviously, the natural response would be for my grandfather to scream at me, call me a worthless brat, and insult my manhood. When my mom and aunt came over to calm me down, my grandfather accused me of slapping my mother, which has never happened.
Then, my wasted cousin tackled me, threw me over a couch, and screamed in my face for five minutes. He told me that I’m tearing my family apart, and he threatened to kill me in the front lawn. After crying for about thirty minutes, I went back inside to confront everyone, which resulted in my mother and I being attacked by that wasted cousin’s mother.
It kind of ruined the whole thing for me. I’ll go back once my grandfather dies. The wasted cousin and his awful family don’t come to family events anymore because his wicked mother poisoned my uncle to death over the course of a few months. At least her sons, including the one who attacked me, are fat, ugly, and bald now. So I guess there’s that?”
“I’m Sorry I Ruined Christmas”
“My mother and grandmother had plans to go to a restaurant last year, but my sister convinced them to go somewhere else at last minute. Of course this meant no reservations but sister was convinced that it would be fine, and they might just have to wait a few minutes for a table. I live in another state, so I got to experience all of this from a distance.
They ended up sitting at the bar while waiting for a table, having a few drinks and appetizers. After the second round of drinks, my mother looked over and my grandmother was leaning back in her chair, completely limp and unresponsive. Everyone freaked out, paramedics were called, grandma was rushed to the ER.
I was 1,200 miles away when my mother called to tell me what happened. At this point, grandma was at the ER, still unresponsive, crazy low blood pressure and high heart rate. I was ready to book plane tickets and rush to the airport when my mom called me back saying, ‘Don’t worry, everything’s OK, your grandmother just got hammered.’ Her blood test came back completely normal except with a BAC of 0.24 (3x legal limit). She was awake, so I got to talk to her, and she was crying while saying, ‘I’m so sorry, I’ve ruined Christmas.’ I assured her that she hadn’t ruined Christmas, and that everyone was just happy she was OK.
So my grandma is 90 years old, about 4’8, 100lbs. She hadn’t eaten anything all day because she knew they were having a big dinner. She also ordered another drink while no one was looking, so the second drink was actually her third. This turned into the perfect storm of really sloshed grandma.”
How One Terrible Holiday Tore Their Family Apart For Over A Decade
“My niece was dating this dirtbag of a person. He was a con-man, liar, and an addict. He was in his late 30’s dating a girl in her early 20’s. He already had three kids with one on the way. A real piece of work. He was teaching his sons to be misogynistic, woman-hating pricks. He denied his daughter was his even though she looked exactly like him in drag.
My sister and this guy got into an argument on Christmas, with him basically calling her genetic trash, and they started yelling at each other. My brother (my niece’s father) had the tryptophan haze going on and woke up to the yelling. He went to get his weapon to kick this prick out permanently. In his rush, he knocked over our mother who had just had rotator cuff surgery. I fought my brother for the weapon (not to save the guy’s life, but to preserve my brother’s) and got it away from him. The dirtbag and my niece left. I told everyone, ‘Get out of my way, I’m getting my coat.’ I grabbed my sister and we left. The police were called but everyone had gone by the time they showed up.
This started a family fight that lasted almost 10 years. My niece started telling lies about my sister; my brother and sister stopped talking; then the prick exposed himself to my nephew’s daughter. My niece finally realized this guy was not worth the value of the raw materials he was made of and had him legally written out of the picture. She finally apologized for spreading lies. It was just last year with my dad almost dying that my brother and sister started talking again.
After 14 years, you know what my parents remember? Me saying the ‘F’ word in my brother’s house. Way to keep your eye on the ball.
The prick died in September. We can’t figure out if someone shot him or if he shot himself, either way, the world is better off and this will be a happier Christmas for his absence.”
“I Should Have Realized Something Was Wrong”
“My worst Christmas was in 2005. I was a freshman in high school and playing video games or some stuff while my mom was working a late shift the night before Christmas. We were living with my grandpa at the time.
It was late and I heard him calling from downstairs. He usually came partway up the stairs, even though he had a hard time doing so, before he called up to us for anything, so I should have realized that something was wrong based on the distance he was yelling from. I went downstairs, and he was in his living room recliner like usual, but had to ask me to help him to the kitchen table which I had never had to do before.
I had to hold him over my shoulder, but we made it to the kitchen and got him seated in his favorite chair. I wish I remembered more than that, but I’m sure I went upstairs and continued about my life as usual. The next morning I just remember my mom coming into my room crying. Grandpa died in his sleep. I couldn’t even work up the courage to say goodbye before the coroners took his body away. I realize now how much I could have learned from him and think about his passing every year around this time.”
“All Was Well, Until Someone Exited The Bathroom”
“We had just moved to a new state a few months before the holidays. My family was trying to make friends in our area, specifically in our church, so they invited pretty much everyone to our house for a potluck and/or dessert. We also had about three families visiting from out of town and staying with us (about 10 extra people).
So, we had a large turnout, especially around dessert time. All was well until someone exited the bathroom and informed my parents the toilet was backed up despite several plunging attempts.
Then someone said it was happening in our other toilets, nothing was flushing.
So the men got to work. It was nighttime, and about ten men were all running over the house doing their best to solve the mystery (nice friends- it’s the south). The Mystery Gang ended up outside in our backyard, and were met with wet, mushy grass.
Yep, our septic tank downright exploded on Christmas, with about 50 people in our house. At night. With a lot of those 50 people being kids who can’t control their bladders or bowels very well. The only place to go was behind our shed. We quickly set up barriers, one side for men and the other for women.
The party came to an end (far later than you’d expect after such a hazard occurring) but we still had a lot of people staying the weekend. The septic tank guys couldn’t make it for a few days, so we ended up destroying the back of the shed with our post feast blowouts by the time the toilets were working.”
Can’t Have Christmas Without Raccoon
“My family celebrated Christmas a few days early one year because my uncle, who we were close to, was moving out of the country and his flight was on Christmas. So, it’s the day of, and we’re cooking like crazy in our tiny kitchen. We had a strange neighbor (who later caught their house on fire while trying to cook up some crystal) who often came by and pestered my mom. The morning of, she came by and asked for $20 and in return, she would spray paint our house number on the curb… for some reason.
Anyway, my mom let her just to get her out of our hair, so she spray painted the number and left. An hour later, we saw her stalking around our front yard with a black garbage bag. Our family was mildly freaking out, so my mother went out and asked her what’s wrong. Well, she pointed to a raccoon sitting in our other neighbor’s driveway. It was alive, but pretty obviously sick because it was just sitting there with flies buzzing around its head. The woman asked my mother if we had a kitchen knife she could borrow, she said she ‘needs to put the poor thing out of its misery.’ Her plan was to push the raccoon into the plastic bag with a stick, and then… stab it to death with OUR kitchen knife.
My mom politely declined and the woman started freaking out and crying and left. The raccoon sat in the driveway for hours and now it was ruining our Christmas because it was directly across from our house and, frankly, incredibly depressing. My uncle, an admittedly bizarre person, decided he would fix this. He went down to the crazy lady, got the black trash bag from her and they both pushed the raccoon into the bag. She said, ‘Do you have the knife?’ Which, of course not, my uncle wasn’t savage. No, he grabbed the thickest stick he could find and beat this senseless raccoon to death. All the while my 8-year-old self was sobbing and thoroughly traumatized. I didn’t watch, but I could hear what was going on. That was an awful holiday.”
Prioritize Politeness Over Sense
“I was probably six or seven at the time. My mom’s candles caught the kitchen curtains and some decorative greenery on fire. My sister, my cousins, and I were at the ‘kid’s table’ in the kitchen while the adults were in the dining room, so no one of significance noticed anything except me.
My mom threatened us with pain of death if we annoyed the adults during dinner, so I quietly walked to the dining room and stood silently for a minute or two, until someone noticed me, and only then did I politely say, ‘Sorry, but the kitchen’s on fire.’
My mom still gives me grief about my prioritizing politeness over sense.”
No One Wanted To Eat Through The Tension
“My dad had an allergic reaction to shrimp before dinner and his face blew up. He refused to come out of the kitchen or sit at the table with us. He was just eating his food in the kitchen and trying to act like things were normal, like yelling out ‘Hey, good mashed potatoes this year, huh?’
Meanwhile, my mom is anger-crying at the table, telling us to just eat our freaking food that she worked all day on. All of us kids are just very scared and very confused. My sister starts crying because things are so weird and no one wants to eat because there is so much tension. Eventually, my mom convinces my dad that she needs to take him to the ER. My high school senior-aged brother took the bottle of some adult beverage and shared it with seventh grade me and got me smashed for the first time. My parents came home to me throwing up on the bathroom floor.
“My wife’s family lives on a small farm. Like any small farm, they have a barn full of cats that become progressively more inbred with each passing generation.
One year, they (her family, not the cats) decided to get a turkey fryer for Christmas. I personally find the idea appalling, but there’s an entire turkey-fryer industry that exists because there are people who refuse to eat anything that hasn’t been fried in oil at least once.
A few people went outside to fry the turkey. My wife and I began making bets about which family member would be responsible for inadvertently setting the house on fire. We waited with anxious anticipation for someone to come in screaming that the porch was on fire.
Instead, someone came in and casually said ‘One of the kittens jumped into the fryer.’
We all froze and looked at him. There may have been screams as well. The bearer of this news, though didn’t even seem upset.
He was bewildered as to why we were all so horrified. Then he explained that it happened before they turned on the heat. They were able to fish the kitten out and set it loose, no harm done.
We all breathed a sigh of relief.
Then my mother-in-law pointed out that they had basically coated the kitten in delicious oil and set it loose in an area filled with coyotes.
“My dad decided one year to buy a farm-raised turkey live, kill it himself, and then have it for Christmas dinner. Innocent enough of an idea… but then he took some advice from his idiot buddies.
His friends told him that if he put a rubber glove full of Busch Light over the bird’s beak it would suffocate the bird, and he would die peacefully and the meat would taste better. So lo and behold, glove, adult beverage, turkey all met and had a party. Bird apparently ‘died’ and he dragged it out behind the shed to start plucking it. I mean if it’s not alive, why should he cut the head off first… let’s just start ripping off feathers.
Dad starts plucking, blood and feathers everywhere, when the darn turkey wakes up… angry. Very angry. He takes a quick look around, then starts after my father. Dad runs toward the house screaming for my uncle to come and help him. The two men then proceed to tackle the partially hammered, bleeding, very annoyed, and screeching loud turkey. The block and axe are brought up onto the back porch and then proceed to cut the bird’s head off.
Now all this commotion has brought the rest of the family out onto the back porch to watch the scene and when the head is cut off my mother starts screaming. Both men let go of the hammered turkey who proceeds to start running around the porch eventually finding his way through the back door and into the kitchen where he would eventually bleed out on the tile.”