The holiday season can be super fun…or a massive headache. Family drama, annoying visitors, and scheduling conflicts are a hassle for many of us. Whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving, or even just a birthday, sometimes we definitely WON’T be looking forward to going back home for the holidays.
1. Can’t Please Everyone
I stopped celebrating Christmas with my mom some time ago. When I was a teenager, about 15 to 17 years old, my parents were going through a bitter divorce. So, I'd spend Christmas Eve and part of the morning with my dad, then head over to my mom's family for Christmas dinner. This arrangement seemed to make my mom really upset.
She was so distraught over me sharing Christmas with my dad that she opted to neither sit with me nor talk to me during dinner. Later, when night fell and we were prepping for bed in our shared room, she was busy clacking away on her keyboard and remained silent towards me.
Needing sleep, I asked her to soften her typing, and this triggered an outburst from her. Ultimately, she accused me of spoiling Christmas. Thankfully, my grandpa stepped in and drove me to meet my dad at an ungodly hour, 1 AM. I can't express how much I appreciate my grandpa rescuing me from that terrible ordeal.
2. The Evil Stepfather
My mom was extremely self-centered. She remarried when I was around ten, and her new husband became the center of her universe. She was always mean, but her tactics were mostly emotional and psychological.
After consistently tolerating her harsh behavior, he began to fully support it. That's when my life switched from just difficult to a downright nightmare. For example, when I was eleven, his three sons visited us during the school's Christmas break.
They were lavished with presents while I didn't get even one. Their justification was completely unjust. They attempted to convince me that I was less deserving than his three well-behaved sons. His eldest son, who was about twelve at the time, felt sorry for me. So, he gave me one of his gifts, an RC car.
However, when they discovered me playing with it, they took it back. Even though the eldest son revealed that he gave it to me, my stepdad did nothing more than scold him gently and then escorted me outdoors. He asked me to watch as he purposely drove his mammoth truck over the RC car, destroying it.
Afterward, as a form of punishment for "stealing" presents from his sons, I was made to sleep on the hard, cold basement floor. Because of those awful experiences, I stopped celebrating Christmas entirely. The entire holiday period just triggers an overwhelming mix of distressing memories from my upbringing.
3. A Broken Memento
My grandmother passed and left me a keepsake. I discovered it had been broken by my mother after I returned from the bathroom. This upset me, and my mother lost her temper. She began shouting before stormily leaving the room.
I wasn't comfortable talking back to her as a kid, but lately, my patience with her erratic behavior has run thin, leading me simply to stare at her till she left. I confronted her outside, asking with frustration if she still wanted to be part of my family. She said, "No," and with that, I walked away.
She chased after me, continuously yelling insults and belittling me. It felt like a classic narcissistic strategy, aimed at eroding a person's self-esteem to control them. I told her I would only communicate with her again in a legal setting. So, for the first time this holiday season, I won't be spending it with my family.
Instead, I'll be enjoying it with my wife's family, who are genuinely kind people.
4. Making It Manageable
In one year, my two brothers got into a physical fight right on our front yard. In another instance, they thought it was a great idea to cut down the Christmas tree I purchased, claiming they were just "adjusting its size" to fit the stand.
I take up the task of doing the majority of the cooking, but end up spending my time in the living room with some of my brothers' pals since there's no space left at the dining table. It's like I'm constantly playing the peacekeeper, and I also have the responsibility of buying or at least wrapping my own gifts.
So yeah, these days, I avoid going home for the holidays. But there is some kind of karmic justice. Ever since I began this new tradition, I regularly get calls lamenting about how disastrously chaotic the holidays turn out without me. A sweet irony, isn't it?
Instead, I prefer to spend these times with my loving husband—someone who actually buys me gifts, wraps them, and acknowledges the time and effort I put in.
5. Everything’s Falling Down!
During the holidays, my late granddad brought a woman he met on Craigslist to our family Christmas celebration. To add chaos to the already unexpected situation, she got pretty tipsy and started making moves on me—she even went as far as trying to unbutton my shirt, causing a few buttons to fly off.
Upon seeing this spectacle, my grandpa intervened and scolded her. But it didn't cool down. She took a swing at him, and he tried to restrain her. I got caught in the middle, trying to separate them. This whole chaotic scene happened near a bar shelf, which became unsteady during the commotion.
I found myself trying to hold the shelf up with my leg while keeping the two combatants away from each other and myself. It seemed like an eternity before my brother stepped in to lend a hand. The most baffling part was after all this, my family sided with my grandpa and pretended like the incident never happened.
The experience shook me so much, I didn't attend the next three years of holiday events.
6. These Aren’t Gifts At All…
A few months into dating this guy, Christmas came along. Shortly before, he'd started a job which required lots of traveling. Back then, neither smartphones nor cars had built-in GPS, so I decided to get him a Garmin—practical, helpful, but not too mushy. It felt just right given where things stood between us.
We both had packed schedules, so we could only meet a few days after Christmas. As soon as I saw him, a sinking feeling hit me. In my rush to see him, I had left his present at home. I realized this only when I reached his place and felt awful. However, he was cool about it and suggested we swapped gifts then—mine could wait.
Without wasting a moment, he went into another room and returned with two presents in hand. The wrapping seemed a bit shoddy like it was done in a hurry, but I brushed it off. As I opened the first gift, I was dumbfounded. It was a well-thumbed MMA magazine, something I've never shown the slightest interest in, while he was an avid fan.
Keeping my feelings aside, I thanked him, placed the magazine away, and turned my attention to the next gift which was shaped like a DVD. Lo and behold, that's exactly what it was: a Forrest Gump DVD. An opened one at that. Now, I agree it's a great movie, but I already had a DVD of it at home.
Sitting there, owning what looked like a used DVD of a movie I already had, along with a baffling magazine, I was flabbergasted. What was he thinking? The atmosphere grew awkward until finally he said, bashfully, "I got a bit bored yesterday, so I watched the movie..." I was speechless.
He continued, "And that issue looked interesting, so I thought I'd give it a read before you did. I think you'll really like it!" Trying to make sense of it, I asked, "So...you bought me a magazine because you wanted to read it and then watched my DVD because you had nothing to do?" He could only respond with "Well yeah, I guess so".
I departed shortly, and the next day, I got a full refund upon returning the Garmin. Roughly a week later, he called to break up. "No problem," I replied, "I feel the same". As we ended our final call, he asked, after a brief pause, "Hey, uh, were you still going to give me that Christmas present?"
7. The Nutcracker
I've been dating my girlfriend for around 2-3 years. I'm a part of their family now, according to her relatives, but honestly? Her aunt and mother can be exceptionally challenging to deal with. Her aunt, for instance, looks down on folks who use GPS to navigate, despite the fact that she once got us all lost while driving on a family trip.
Despite living in Florida for nearly three decades, getting lost seemed to be her specialty. On the other hand, her mother tends to be quite manipulative and can sometimes project her frustrations unfairly on my girlfriend, which really bothers me. This year, the holiday season was especially tough.
I celebrated Christmas first with my girlfriend's family before celebrating the remainder of it with her at my place. I got gifts from the aunt and mom, each more worrisome than the next. Her aunt gifted me a rubber duck with its bottom ripped off and a cryptic note inside saying, "If you are reading this, you offed the birdie!"
There was also a peculiar all-black painted rock with "best buds" inscribed on it. The gift from her mom, though, took the prize for being the most baffling. She gifted me a nutcracker. I initially didn't see anything untoward about it until her father quietly explained that it was a veiled threat she usually gives to my girlfriend's boyfriends.
So, in short, my Christmas gifts involved a murdered rubber duck, a mysterious black rock, and an ominous nutcracker from my girlfriend's mother. Quite the festive package.
8. Laundry Emergency!
On my birthday, my husband's uncle kept dialing my number before 8 in the morning, leaving mysterious voicemails, urgently asking me to return his call. Fear started to gnaw at me, making me think something awful had happened. Once I was able to fully wake up, which took about 20 to 30 minutes, I gave him a call back.
He urged me to hurry to his place right away. On arriving, he mentioned he had a birthday present for me, something he was eager for me to receive on my special day! What he produced as a "gift" was a men's polo shirt, fished out from his laundry pile, with him claiming, "I saw this and knew you'd love it!"
Oddly, I'm a petite woman who has no interest in wearing polos. This shirt, a men's large, had been lurking in the corners of his closet, a giveaway from an event that took place over 15 years ago. I was baffled that he thought this was an emergency and yet he hadn’t even bothered to place it in a gift bag.
He balled up the shirt from his laundry basket and thrust it into my hands. Fast forward almost three years, this puzzling scenario still leaves me scratching my head.
9. Friends Or Family
I used to live about two and a half hours away from my family home, a place I hadn’t resided in for a decade. My small, tight-knit family had scheduled an early Christmas celebration a fortnight before the actual holiday. However, a tragic event coincided with our planned family get-together.
A close friend of mine, who happened to be the father of my wife’s best friend, lost his battle to cancer. Instead of attending the family gathering, I chose to pay respect and attend the funeral. This decision wasn't well-received by my family. Grandma, for one, expressed her anger by accusing me of prioritizing friendships over familial relationships.
My aunt took it a step further and berated me on Facebook. Due to this incident, I've maintained radio silence with my family for the last five years. And honestly, I'm absolutely okay with how things turned out.
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10. A Relaxing Visit
After being let go from work, I decided to spend a week back at my old home to unwind. This place hadn’t been my home though in over seven years. But during this week, my mum began continuously piling up her house chores for me—cleaning, doing dishes, and laundry.
I reminded her that I was no longer a resident and therefore not obligated to do her tasks. This triggered a major tantrum from her side. Despite her history of two-faced behavior, this was the last straw for me. Reacting immediately, I distanced myself, packed my stuff, and journeyed on a 10-hour drive home.
Since that blow up about three years ago, we haven't reached out to each other. I'm resolute in my decision not to cross paths with her due to the constant sorrow and discomfort she's brought into my life.
11. Nobody’s Here!
I made a long journey from the other side of the country to spend Christmas at home. As soon as I landed, I was told my sister couldn't make it as she had to work. This was something my parents had known beforehand, but they chose not to tell me as they didn't want it to deter me from coming.
On top of that, there was no extended family Christmas gathering this year, as they were spending it with my cousin's husband's side of the family. Given that my relationship with my family isn't the strongest, this information was already quite disappointing to me. However, what transpired next was even more disheartening than I could have anticipated.
Christmas Day was spent solely with my parents. My dad left around 2 PM to hang out with his friends, and my mom retired to her bedroom around 3 PM, not to emerge until the following day. I decided to postpone dinner until either of them woke up or returned home.
Dad came back around 6 PM, insisting on hugging me despite my objections and the fact that he was only in his underwear. Not long after, he made a beeline for the restroom where he became terribly sick. To be honest, I'm not planning a return visit.
12. Last-Minute Plans
My husband's side of the family seems to be experts at planning things in advance, so they normally take precedence. With my family, it's different. It's difficult for me to traverse the length of the country in a bid to meet my sister and brother, especially when their plans are often last minute.
They usually go something like, "Oh, you're in town? Great! Text us when you're here, and we'll try to catch up". However, when I get there, often enough they forget because of some other engagement they've had scheduled.
13. A Good Brother
In the past, my elder half-brother and I used to celebrate Thanksgiving at our mom's home, despite the fact that our actual upbringing was done by our biological fathers and grandparents. This tradition continued until Thanksgiving of 2000, when I was 14 years old.
On that particular day, our stepfather took a wrong step. He slapped me in front of my brother. There's quite an age gap between my brother and me—he's 14 years my senior. So, he was in his late twenties when this incident occurred. The chilling sound of pure fury in his voice as he lashed out at our mother's spouse is something I'll always remember.
After this occurrence, we decided to skip the subsequent holiday gatherings there.
14. My Meddling Mom
All of my wife's family has passed, and the only remaining family member on my side is my mother. However, every time we visit her, I immediately wish we hadn't. We are all she has left, yet she continues to interfere significantly in our marriage.
After she visited last Christmas, it became so difficult that we needed to seek help from a marriage counselor. The counselor reassured us that we are both doing fine. They advised us to reduce our contact with my troublesome, meddling mother. Consequently, we hardly see or speak to her anymore.
15. A Troubled Family
My mom devotes the majority of her time exploring the city center, hunting for opiates. My dad uses most of his time finding ways to create income or swindling others. My aunt resides on the outskirts of the town, while my uncle spends his time either mistreating his girlfriend or scoring deals.
Being in a financially steady job and having a comfortable apartment, not to mention my sound mental state and peace of mind, I steer clear of any family-related activities. Whether it's the holiday season or otherwise.
16. Temper Tantrums
Year after year, every Christmas without fail, my stepdad stirs up trouble. I've grown used to his behavior and nowadays, I find it more amusing than anything else. I respond with laughter to his tantrums, which closely resemble those of a 5-year-old.
As I no longer rely on him in any way, I have the freedom to walk away if he becomes too bothersome. His fits of rage are typically set off by little mistakes, like wrapping gifts incorrectly or opening them out of sequence.
His tantrums are full of drama—tossing items around, breaking stuff, door slamming, speeding out of the driveway, and bulging veins on his forehead. Seeing this when I was a 10-year old was quite frightening, but now I just find it ridiculous. After all, he's a man in his late 50s now.
17. Stop Belittling!
On one side of my family tree, we've got a group of show-offs who all attended prestigious colleges and work in the financial district. Personally, I think they're the worst. Sure, I also had a decent education and currently hold an impressive job. However, they always had a way of making me feel inferior.
It began when I got an early admission to a reputable college. That Christmas, my cousins teased, "So, did you apply early because you weren't confident you'd get in elsewhere?" When I introduced my wonderful boyfriend at a Thanksgiving gathering, they commented, "Your boyfriend graduated from that institution? What career is he planning with such a degree?"
Their aim is clear: to make you feel small and insignificant to feed their ego. So, I discovered a cunning way to turn the tables. I just began to feed them the answers they were fishing for. Upon moving for a promising job, their first remark was, "You're living in that neighborhood now? Isn't that a dodgy area?"
Coolly, I replied, "Not exactly, but I am not exactly rolling in cash, so it's what I can manage at the moment. Such is life!" You should have seen their stunned faces. For once, they were the ones squirming, and it felt incredible. I highly recommend using this strategy against such personalities.
18. Money Between Brothers
Being from North India, Diwali is certainly our most vital holiday. It's a time when every family member should be reunited at home for celebrations and rituals. Significantly, this is the festival where we honor Lakshimi, the goddess of prosperity. However, my extended family has, unfortunately, spoiled the Diwali spirit for us cousins due to their constant disputes.
The main issue lies in the struggle for control over the family business and the accumulated wealth. It seems like the focus has shifted from the festive celebration and reverence of prosperity to a day devoted to arguing about it. As a result, I've chosen to step away from the chaos and stopped traveling home for Diwali.
19. So Many People To Visit!
Last Christmas, I made the trip back home. I wrapped up work at 8:30 PM and then embarked on an eight-hour night-time journey. However, I was only able to stay for a few days, right in the middle of a family dispute. On my arrival, I spent time with my immediate family before heading to my grandmother's.
That's when I received a surprising text from my aunt. She was upset because I hadn't visited her, labelling me as impolite. Here's the twist. My aunt's workplace is merely a hundred meters away from my mom's home. Yet, I had no idea where she resided, and she made no effort to reach out to me.
Since then, I've made it a point to inform only those I wish to see when I return home. This Christmas, however, will be a busy one. I'll be working and not missing out on the chance to earn some extra holiday pay.
20. Wrapping Paper Woes
Our firstborn turned one shortly before Christmas in the year '95. At that time, my hubby's parents lived in a town about two hours away from our home. My mother-in-law asked us if we would celebrate Christmas Eve at their home, to which we responded, "No, it's a bit tricky with a tiny one. We'll drive up and celebrate with you on Christmas Day instead".
She wasn't thrilled about this, but eventually said, "Alright, but you must be here by 10:00 am. That's when we're ripping into the gifts". So, we woke up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day, had a quick breakfast, dressed up our little one, and hit the road by 6:30 am. The drive was somewhat slow due to some snow and ice, but we managed to pull up at my in-laws' place by 9:50 am.
Breathing a sigh of relief, we looked at each other and smiled. We had made it on time! As we entered the house, we were taken aback. There was torn wrapping paper strewn all over the place. They'd gone ahead and opened all the presents without us. My husband, not usually one for confrontations, was really irked this time.
He confronted his mother in the kitchen and asked angrily, "Why didn’t you guys wait for us? We arrived as planned!" She responded sweetly, saying, "Oh, the kids were eager to open the presents". These "kids" were my husband's younger sister and brother, aged 26 and 21, respectively.
To this day, I firmly believe she made the decision not to wait as a way of getting back at us for not staying the night on Christmas Eve. Well, it showed us our importance in her eyes, and after a few more incidents like this one, we decided to take matters into our own hands. Now, we celebrate Christmas Day in our own home.
21. A Really Loud Christmas
Our family used to spend Christmas at my grandma's house every year, staying for a week or two. It seemed like every visit, my mom would let her temper loose over something minor which would lead to a yelling frenzy. To escape the chaos, I would often seclude myself in the bathroom. Once, she even cornered me in there to continue berating me.
Typically, these incidents would culminate in my calm-natured grandma stepping in and reprimanding my mom for "spoiling Christmas yet again". This usually brought the turmoil to an end, and my mom would eventually apologize to her. However, she never bothered to say sorry to me.
After a few years of no contact, I reconnected with my grandma. I still visit her from time to time. She usually ensures my mom is not around during my visits, allowing me to enjoy some peaceful moments.
22. Holidays Are Stressful, Okay?
My mother-in-law really feels the heat when it comes to holiday preparations. She's always aiming for perfection, strictly abiding by family traditions. This intense stress once landed her in the hospital with a heart condition.
That Christmas, our feast consisted of takeout from Subway and Jack in the Box, enjoyed around her hospital bed. My wife and I stumbled upon a solution—we avoid visiting on Christmas day itself. We drop by a month earlier or later, explaining our visit as "just checking in," and it seems to alleviate a lot of her stress. Why?
Because it isn’t technically "Christmas," so she doesn’t feel the pressure to make everything perfect. We end up having a typical dinner, complete with an out-of-season Christmas tree stationed inside the house, surrounded with a pile of gifts. In simple terms, we've broken our holiday homecoming tradition to ensure my mother-in-law stays healthy.
23. “So Kids? When?”
Family get-togethers can feel heavy for me because, although I'm in my 30s, I'm not yet married or a mother. However, I'm happily committed to my partner and together, we own a home and have stellar credit scores. We've earned two degrees each, have great jobs and we love spending our free time traveling and attending fun events.
We have plans to have kids someday, but we're not rushing that milestone. My family isn't quite as pleased with our life choices. They view our childless lifestyle as wasteful, as if I'm allowing my fertility to go to waste. When, they ask, will I put aside my love of costume play and conventions, and start having children of my own?
Sometimes, I feel like I'm the only woman over the age of 19 who isn't a mom. However, about a year ago, my aunt surprised me with a moment of understanding and support. She confided in me that she considers my lifestyle aspirational for her teenage daughters. My hard work and responsibility are the benchmarks of success for them.
Hearing her appreciation made me tear up, and I thanked her for recognizing the value in my life choices, rather than highlighting what some see as my shortcomings.
24. One, The Other, Neither!
Growing up, my parents were divorced, and I often shuffled between them. Similar to a holiday time-share, if I had Thanksgiving with one parent, Christmas was earmarked for the other one. Now that I'm older, I try not to take sides.
Opting out of visits was easier in university; I found convenient excuses in long distances and looming exams. But now that I'm a working adult, my full-time job conveniently plays the role of exit strategy.
It's not that I don't love them both, because I truly do. But I find my peace being alone instead of stressing over who might get offended.
25. Broken Promises
Throughout our entire marriage, my mother hasn't treated my wife well. She even warned that she wouldn't attend our wedding unless we invited certain guests. Although she volunteered to host my wife’s baby shower, she never followed through. Promises she made, like attending our daughter's baptism, were also broken. It seems she's full of empty promises.
The past few times we saw her, she acted friendly to me but completely ignored my wife. What’s more, she spreads untrue stories about my wife behind our backs. The final line was crossed with this. We've stopped visiting her for holiday celebrations. I'm sorry, but if you can't be kind to my wife, we won't be attending events.
26. The City And The Country
I've chosen not to join any holiday shindigs with my wife's family. She hails from a quaint town in Western Missouri, Boonville, while I've spent most of my life in the Saint Louis area. I suppose my city upbringing was a bit overwhelming for her family.
While my wife was busy introducing me to her relatives, I caught someone's remark, "Look at him, all spruced up and snazzy. I bet he's one of those city dwellers who backed Obama". They weren't nearly as polite with their wording though.
I cast a pleading glance at my wife like, "Can we escape this rustic spectacular?" I've not set foot in there since. Yeeeeeehaaawwww!
27. Nobody Wants This
One Christmas, before I left to join the Navy, was especially memorable. At the time, I only had $300 to my name, and I was preparing to leave for boot camp in January. But my mom insisted that I should take my sister to the mall and splurge $200 on holiday gifts.
She wanted this even though I felt we, all working adults, shouldn't follow such a superficial tradition to express our love. Despite my repeated objections, I was made to go shopping and spend that substantial amount on gifts, which, honestly, didn't seem very practical. I also ended up receiving several gifts that I really didn't need.
After that Christmas, I haven't been home for the holidays. I also made up my mind to henceforth distance myself from obligatory gift-giving and never expect any either on Christmas or on my birthday.
28. An Empty Nest
For about a decade, the holiday seasons have been a private affair for our family: my husband, me, and our two adult kids. Since all our grandparents are no longer with us, it's changed the dynamics significantly.
We used to celebrate with my husband's brother and his family. But ever since his divorce, coordinating schedules became quite a challenge, especially with the kids spending time with their mom occasionally.
Now, as all our children have grown up, some starting their own families or engaged in serious relationships, arranging get-togethers has been even tougher. These days, 'home' is just us. My kids, though, feel an emotional void without their cousins around—a sentiment they've had for more than a decade, which now shapes their cherished memories.
Maybe one day, we can rebuild those connections. At this point, however, I'm just unsure about how to make this happen.
29. Cutting It Out
The previous family gathering I attended with my relatives, including my aunt and cousins, was back in my college days. During this holiday meet up, they criticized me heavily for dating someone of Jewish heritage. Add to that, the men were spewing quite disrespectful language while engrossed in a football game on TV.
I tried spending time with my younger cousins, who were in middle and high school then. One of them shared an absurd notion she'd learned, suggesting that white individuals can only contract AIDS if their partners belong to different cultural backgrounds. After my grandfather's passing, I made the decision to disconnect from my entire extended family.
30. Crying At Christmas
We decided to start having our own family holidays when I came to two realizations. Firstly, I found myself upset for the past couple of Christmas celebrations. Secondly, my partner hasn't had a say in our Christmas festivities, even when we hosted at our home. Besides, it's a lot more manageable to stick to our toddlers' routine when we celebrate independently.
I'd definitely suggest giving it a try.
31. I Can’t Leave!
To put it simply, this is the first time that I won't be celebrating the holiday season at my family home. There's no deep-rooted issue or bad feelings involved. It's just that my family will be heading to Australia for Christmas and New Year's celebrations.
As I'm not a semi-retired baby boomer, there's no way I can spare two months away from work or afford the trip to Australia without risking my job. So, my plans this time involve a quiet Christmas with my cat.
32. A Discrepancy In Price
On one occasion, my husband's stepmother gifted me (a 36-year-old) a backpack meant for a kindergartener. The situation only soured from there. As I unwrapped it, she shared, "Originally, I bought it for a young child a few years back, who admittedly didn't like it at all, so it's been in a closet ever since.
Spotting it, I figured you might enjoy it. Honestly, none of us are fans—we all find it quite unattractive". The same year, my three children received presents, all of which tallied up to just $15 on a clearance shelf. In stark contrast, her own granddaughter unwrapped a $300 unicorn toy.
They made certain we knew of its hefty price tag and then drew attention to the clearance labels on our gifts, praising the bargains they'd found. Then, almost insultingly, they asked my kids to leave the room so the granddaughter could take solo pictures with her new prized toy. That Christmas was the last we spent with them.
33. Why Don’t I Get That?
When I was just 12-years-old, I saved money to buy a Kindle. My sister and I worked hard for the entire summer, helping our grandpa and stepdad, to collect around $200 each for this purchase. However, one Christmas, my mom gifted Kindles to my three brothers, while I received clothing from Old Navy. I was infuriated.
When I confronted my mom about it, she explained that my sister and I had, according to her, been unfair to our brothers, excluding them when we played video games. She never admitted that her actions might have upset me, never apologized, and honestly, even after nearly ten years, I still haven't been able to forgive her.
34. The Odd One Out
As per tradition, this Christmas was spent with my dad's extended family–a routine we've followed for 17 years without a miss. However, this time was different. I had just turned 18 a couple of months earlier. For some odd reason, it was decided that I wasn't to receive any gifts.
The strange part was, all of my cousins, older and younger than 18 alike, received presents from somebody while I sat there, empty-handed. In the spirit of the season, my parents had brought presents for all the cousins. And those weren't the only gifts the cousins had to unwrap, except, oddly enough, they didn't seem to bring anything for me.
No, it's not that we came unannounced, our arrival was known to everyone. It's a mystery that I still can't solve. The weirdest part was everyone behaved as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.
35. Rewriting History
During the last Thanksgiving, I paid a visit to my folks and ended up listening to some offbeat theories my stepdad has. This went on for a continuous six-hour marathon. I mean, if he insists, there's a possibility that these ideas might have actually occurred. But the real questions here are why do we have to go through all this on a Thanksgiving day, and why does it need to extend beyond a simple five-minute chat?
36. Too Much Stuff
My husband isn't too keen on heading back home to the east as his parents are currently caring for his grandmother, who uses up her fixed salary on various unnecessary items. They're genuinely struggling to prevent their home from getting flooded with pointless clutter because of her hoarding habit.
His brother recently tied the knot, however, the costly life in the New York City metro area forced them to also move back home. Even under normal circumstances, that household is a complete circus, and when it comes to the holiday season, it's just plain absurd.
37. You Don’t Like Him, Do You?
During last Christmas, I decided to spend it with my family alone, leaving my boyfriend with his family. Understandably, my boyfriend has always been an elephant in the room with my family, who never lose an opportunity to throw underhanded jibes at him in his absence.
Residing at their place for three days, around 9 PM of Christmas day, my boyfriend reaches out to me saying he had called it a day with his family. Curious, I questioned him, only to learn that his supposedly "sober" mother was involved in underhand deals involving pills with the cousin, which threw him off the track.
Making things worse, she nonchalantly told him that his Christmas funds are the proceeds from her shady actions. Distraught by this revelation, he gave her the money back and decided to be alone on Christmas. Feeling the need to be with him, I let my family know that I was planning to leave.
Little did I know, this would open a can of worms, with everyone suddenly getting on my case, questioning why he won't join us instead. To this, I responded, "Simply because he is not oblivious to your distaste for him". However, this invited a barrage of flak pointing towards me for sharing this with him.
Finally, the chain of events ended with my mother labeling him as feeble for avoiding loneliness during Christmas. Looking back, I dread the thought of returning this year, although a part of me fears that I might be convinced into it.
38. You Can Come To Us!
My wife and I grew tired of navigating whose family we'd spend each holiday with. So, we opted to stay home during Thanksgiving and prepare a meal just for us. We've represented this tradition for numerous years and thoroughly enjoy it. We plan to visit our children residing within our state around Christmas, primarily to distribute gifts.
Our kids living out of state either have to visit us or expect their gifts via UPS, as traveling during the winter can be difficult.
39. The Annoying Stepfather
Our stepdad, much to our despair, had a knack for ruining every single holiday. Come Christmas, he'd be there, smack dab in the center of the room with a garbage bag, ready to snatch up the wrapping paper the instant a gift was peeled open. But he wouldn't stop there.
He'd practically shove a vacuum under our feet to hasten our departure so they could escape to their vacation home. One year, he even locked all the doors, leaving the kids stranded outside after playtime. Unbeknownst to us, they wept and pleaded to use the bathroom.
To top it all off, he ruined the turkey by cranking up the oven in a frenzied hurry to get it cooked faster. Goodness, how we loathed that man.
40. You Really Think That…?
Last time I visited home, it was for a big family get-together. My cousins were in the midst of a heated, not-so-courteous chat about gay people. Earlier that day, I'd had a disagreement with the local convenience store owner, who wasn't being particularly friendly.
And even though my irritation with him had nothing at all to do with his Indian origin, my family took the opportunity to entertain themselves by making culturally insensitive comments. A couple of things became clear to me that night.
First, they believe turbans are always hiding something sinister. Second, I don't really need to make the trip back home for the holidays anymore.
41. Flaking and Leeching
My brother and his wife, for reasons unknown, are quite aloof towards us and our extended family, including my parents. To illustrate, my parents once drove for eight hours to visit them, only to spend the entire weekend in their hotel room because my brother kept either avoiding making plans or canceling them at the last minute.
Mind you, this is the same brother my parents financially supported until he was in his thirties. In essence, every family gathering involves my parents bending over backwards for my brother, who either brushes them off or turns up briefly, only to behave distastefully the entire time.
42. Losing Conversation
Ever since I was a kid, I didn't really mesh well with my extended family, just the folks under my own roof. Most of them live in the south and are into outdoorsy activities like fishing, hunting, and farming. They're also deeply religious, so booze is off the table. I, on the other hand, am kind of their polar opposite.
I'm a gamer, an introvert and enjoy a good drink. Whenever I'd visit them for Thanksgiving, our exchanges barely skimmed the surface: "How is college going? Everything okay with your girlfriend? How's work?" And then, the convo would just peter out.
For the past half-decade or so, I've been spending Thanksgiving with my best mate's clan, where we all indulge in a bit of drinking, gaming, and joshing around. It's an absolute riot. I feel a deeper bond with my best buddy’s family than I do with my own. They make me feel right at home.
43. The Seventh Wheel
During our last Thanksgiving, my mom opened up about her struggles with depression to our entire family. She expressed how she feels like a bad parent because of the issues I've been grappling with, and she says it has deeply affected her self-worth.
I've been dealing with mental health challenges for quite some time, but sadly, my family isn't always empathetic. In addition to my folks, my two sisters and their significant others are usually there too, and I often feel like the odd one out.
More often than not, I find myself overlooked or cut short during conversations during these holiday gatherings. At times, I also face harsh remarks. Consequently, these occasions usually leave me feeling dejected. Despite this, I don't really have a choice but to participate.
44. Changes In The Family
The last chat I had with my dad involved him telling me he's taken me off his insurance because he's not comfortable with me being transgender. Regardless, I've chosen to pursue my own happiness and haven't visited him—despite encouragement from my brothers to do so.
Strangely enough, my mom and stepdad throw super odd holiday get-togethers, which only became more uncomfortable since I came out. I can cope with Christmas because we usually welcome other family members I can reconnect with. However, Thanksgiving only includes the immediate family and anyone we're dating.
During our last Thanksgiving, my brother's girlfriend—the sole Black attendee in an otherwise entirely white party—and my own girlfriend found some solace in a shared awkwardness, bonding through a comforting hug.
45. A Ball Of Nerves
I'm a bundle of nerves and survive on string cheese. Car rides upset my stomach unless I'm the one driving, and yet, long trips are a nightmare for me. Nowadays, if it's not my bed, I just can't sleep. Without my sleep or my medication, I feel queasy all day.
Being around folks with irritating political views makes things even more challenging, sometimes wishing I could trade bodies. So, all things considered, I prefer to simply avoid them.
46. A Pressure For Children
My wife's medical condition complicates pregnancy and childbirth. She has a background in fine arts, which she studied in college. The thought of starting a family took us some extra time due to her health. I had to confront my mom about the pressure she was putting on us, explaining it made my wife feel somewhat alienated.
I pointed out that if my wife was in perfect health, with a prosperous career and without the burden of student debts, we might have had a child sooner. My mom is incredibly thick-headed, resistant to change, naive, and lacking in sensitivity. This caused a huge disagreement during Thanksgiving about 5 years ago.
To this day, I am still waiting for a sincere apology from her.
47. Left Out In The Cold
When I was 13, I faced the same worries about my weight that many other teenage girls do. Every Thanksgiving, my family always served a dish of candied yams topped with jumbo marshmallows. I decided to skip the marshmallows that year. The response from my family was so distressing, I haven't been able to forgive them.
They made me stand outside on the porch in just my light pajamas, as snow covered the ground. While they were inside, they feasted on their Thanksgiving dinner, deliberately having it at the table visible from the glass porch door. I was fortunate enough not to contract frostbite, but I discovered firsthand how uncomfortable frostnip could be.
What hit me hardest was that my grandma, who was visiting that holiday, sided with my parents and thought nothing was wrong with what they did.She even took part in their subsequent scolding. Such punishments weren't unusual, but having another person witness it and not do anything was one of the most disheartening experiences I've ever had.
As a result, I've cut ties with all of them now.
48. Not The Right Gift
My folks had a habit of presenting me with "presents" such as sweets, or other unnecessary items like a photo frame. Then, they'd cheekily say, "You're too overweight to have this, you surely don't want the candy, do you?" Next thing you know, they're giving my "present" away to their pals' kids.
Meanwhile, my sister, who was in middle school at the time, was gifted an iPad, followed by a MacBook in the subsequent year. Honestly, I prefer to avoid going back to a home that's always belittling me. My priority is ensuring my sister receives a thoughtful gift from me, but apart from that, I steer clear.
49. Christmas Alarm
During my last Christmas visit home, my stepdad instructed my younger brother and sister to wake him up at seven to start unwrapping gifts. Following his directions, on Christmas day, they woke up quite early and held back until seven before disturbing the parents as they were asked. Regrettably, my stepdad continued his habit of drinking excessively into the night.
Despite requesting to be awake at seven, he was not in any condition to be roused. This led to a heated argument with my 13-year-old sister, where he resorted to screaming insults and effectively setting a grim tone for arguably one of the most unpleasant family gatherings I've had to witness.
As the day wore on, his actions negatively impacted everyone, subsequently undermining the entire Christmas spirit.
50. Taking Some Insurance
The last time I visited my dad, something quite alarming happened. My dad and stepmom had recently taken out insurance policies on my stepsister and me, which seemed peculiar. Anyway, during a holiday visit, my dad went and tampered with the fuel lines of my 300zx while we were inside feasting.
Given how this particular model tends to overheat, the removal of the engine cover, which left the metallic components exposed under the hood, ignited suspicion.
I chanced upon him meddling with my car when I stepped outside for fresh air. He brushed it off, saying he was just checking things out. A few weeks post this incident, my fuel lines gave out while I was cruising along. Luckily, it only caused the car to stall. Upon inspecting under the hood, I saw fuel had splashed everywhere. Puzzled, I reached out to my dad.
He advised me to take the vehicle to his place, which was 30 miles away. Opting against it, I got it towed to my garage instead. The mechanics suggested the hose clamps seemed intentionally loosened. Considering no one else had ever fiddled under the hood, this led me to one conclusion. And with that, I never entertained a visit back.