Aren’t the holidays a time for being grateful? Sure, reconnecting with old family members and gorging oneself on fatty foods is good fun. It’s also a recipe for disaster. From old grudges to a little bit too much wine, turkey isn’t the only thing cooking on the holiday table. Who doesn’t love a good story of holiday family drama when it’s not happening to us? From adulterous siblings to unruly side-dishes, enjoy these 42 delicious stories about the holiday get-togethers that went belly-up.
42. What is Every Grandchild’s Worst Nightmare, Alex?
Grandma threatened to defecate in the turkey if we didn’t let her watch Jeopardy.
41. Meet the Parents: A Horror Film
My stepbrother was just released for possession and distribution. Total black sheep of the family. Brings his girlfriend, who is high out of her mind. They proceed to eat nothing but turkey and rolls.
Then she decided to go use in my step-aunt’s bathroom, where we found her passed out. My stepbrother attempts to wake her up by punching her in, his words, “the cooter.” Cops are called.
40. Cheesy Excuses
The woman my cousin had just married stole a Costco-sized box of individually wrapped Cheezit packages from our garage. I just happened to notice they were gone when putting food in the fridge.
Asked about it publicly and she locked up, started stuttering, and went to get them out of her car. She returned with the excuse “I thought these were mine. I have a box just like them at home.”
39. Missing That Special Sauce
My uncle poured Crown Royal on his turkey and ate it.
38. So Much for Big Brother
My brother got trashed before the dinner started then slapped me at the table for being a mouthy woman—I asked if he wanted the mashed potatoes, for reference—and then ran off to puke.
37. A Frosty Reception
She was responsible for bringing the dessert. She showed up 3 hours late and instead of bringing dessert she brought an open bag of frozen pierogis. It was a real downer.
36. Against the Bro Code
My brothers got into a fight. My oldest brother slept with my younger brother’s new wife, who was like 20 years younger than him. They got into a fist fight and broke through the wall of their dad’s trailer. The police had to be called. Aaaand that’s why I stopped going to family evenings. This was by no means an unusual occurrence, just the first thing that came to mind.
35. I’ll Take It to Go
My aunt, uncle, and cousins made no food and took 90% of it home.
They also got there late and got to leave first.
34. Uncle Elvis
My uncle shot the TV because of how the Lions were playing.
Checking game histories, it would definitely have been ‘77. It was a 17-inch black and white TV, with two knobs—one for VHF channels and one for UHF. He and my dad had started drinking early and the Lions were awful. After a bad play late in the game he strolled into the bedroom, picked up his revolver and shot the TV. We ate dinner shortly after and then went to my grandma’s house to watch the Cowboys game.
33. Dinner Rolls
My aunt was sent to bed because she was too drunk last year and ended up falling down the stairs an hour later when she tried coming back downstairs.
32. Keep It in the Family (Stone)
My husband’s brother and his sister-in-law (who was married to his OTHER brother) always disappeared for about 20 to 40 minutes at the same time.
This happened for four years in a row before anyone got nosey enough to go looking for them.
Sister-in-law is now married to the Thanksgiving Hookup Brother.
31. Can’t Wash These Sins Away
One of my aunts found out her husband was sleeping with her brother. She found one of her husband’s shirts from a vacation they took with “stains” on it in her brother’s bedroom when she went to the bathroom. I wasn’t surprised though, to be honest.
30. What’s the Scoop?
My Aunt Janie took a bunch of Xanax—and who knows what else—on top of a jug of Carlo Rossi that she had hidden in her room. She then proceeded to steal every spoon in the house while the rest of us were drinking and playing games. EVERY. SINGLE. SPOON. We found them in her purse.
Why just the spoons?
29. Clean Diet
My grandma accidentally poured dish soap on the turkey instead of oil… might have been one of the funniest but most upsetting things I’ve ever seen.
28. What Goes Around Comes Around
My grandmother ran over herself with her own SUV.
I was on my way to the festivities when it happened, so I don’t know the exact details, but she was getting food out from the back of her SUV, put it in neutral instead of park, and it slowly ran her over. The craziest part is that my family, all inside, didn’t notice until they heard a bump against the house. The SUV made three loops before hitting the house.
She ended up being fine but now isn’t allowed to go outside alone anymore on holidays. This story is now an “Oh, Grandma!” moment in our family.
27. Burn Rubber
I thought it would be a funny prank to put a rubber chicken in the oven on Thanksgiving. My mom would laugh and laugh. Ho ho ho, there’s a rubber chicken in the oven, what a gag.
13-year-old me didn’t realize that normal adults usually preheat the oven before putting the turkey in.
26. Not-So-Good Old Days
Every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner my step-grandfather will always bring up his father’s death. Always goes into detail about how he walked into the kitchen to see his father’s body on the floor with his head blown off. Either that or politics.
25. Where There’s Smoke, There’s Aiming Out of Your League
My grandparents had a new oven, and my grandmother had never made a turkey in it before. The turkey drippings somehow caught fire and the kitchen filled up with smoke. We called 9-1-1 but by the time the fire department arrived, my dad and grandfather had put out the fire.
So, when the firemen arrived, there was no more fire. They were really nice and understanding. My grandmother was mortified. My drunk aunt tried hitting on all of the firemen even though she had a good 25 or 30 years on them. My cousin and I just stood in the front yard drinking beers in silence, watching it all play out.
Fortunately, the turkey was fine, and dinner proceeded normally once everything settled down.
24. Can’t Hardly Wait
Last year, my husband’s grandma hosted Thanksgiving dinner at her house and asked us to provide the turkey—not even the trashiest part.
We had to go to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s dad’s side that morning, so we dropped the turkey off on our way to his dad’s house. His grandma said that they would be eating at 4.
We arrived back at his grandma’s house around 3:45 and everyone had already eaten all the food. Including the entire turkey.
23. Cash This in the Bank
At my friend’s conservative Catholic family’s house for Thanksgiving, and his older brother told everyone that my pal had gotten a tattoo. His parents were mad and forced him to show them the tattoo. When they saw that it was a dollar sign on his left butt cheek, there were in tears.
22. Do You Think Dinner Will Be Late?
I heard some screaming from outside my apartment. I opened the door and saw this lady running to the dumpster with a turkey still in the pan on fire. She threw it into the dumpster which then caught fire. I called 9-1-1 so the fire department could put it out.
21. Fear the Booty
My dad broke my grandparent’s toilet with the power of his bowels. He ended up having to buy them a new toilet—which he broke a year later at Christmas with the same method. If you can tell, my family fears my dad’s bowels and we have many more stories about him and toilets.
20. Slow Cooker
Mom bought a new stove and had me, my brother, his very pregnant girlfriend, and a few others over for Thanksgiving. About a half hour to an hour before the turkey was supposed to be done, Mom checked on it. It was still raw. She had hit the wrong button when programming the new stove and accidentally shut it off.
Luckily, we learned you can in fact microwave a turkey because, judging from the look my brother’s pregnant girlfriend gave, she was ready to eat my mom. The turkey was a bit dry but otherwise? Not bad.
19. See Through Your Excuses
Spent all day cleaning the house for the guests. Made sure the windows were incredibly clean and clear.
My little brother and cousin were chasing each other outside. Brother comes running through the door, which was clearly open because you couldn’t see the gla… uh oh.
He slammed through the plate glass window and got a massive gash on his face and leg. 80 stitches, plastic surgery, and a multiple day hospital stay.
Don’t clean your windows too well.
18. Duck These Carbs
Someone will say “Pass the dinner rolls” in front of my dad and he will pick it up and throw it at them. Every. Single. Year.
You have to specifically say “Please hand me the dinner rolls,” or you get a bun thrown at your head.
17. Better Out Than In
Ah, the worst one was probably where the entire family—an odd 20 or so—got sick so we all had to take turns going into the bathroom to throw up for the rest of the night. Nobody ate the turkey after that.
16. Homework on the Holidays
My first semester of university after moving to Canada from America, my uncle offered to have me over. I spend 12 hours traveling from my university to his place, only for him to put me to work on demolishing the bathroom tiles. Then, he puts me to work on figuring out how many tiles he needs. Then, it’s time for me to go home on a 12-hour journey and have a midterm. I was told we’d be celebrating Thanksgiving. I didn’t even get a nice dinner out of it.
15. Not All Firsts Are Worth Celebrating
My two-year-old brother had his first seizure at the dinner table. That’s how we found out he had epilepsy.
14. Playing Favorites
My mom cried in the bathroom half the night because I told her to stop feeding the dogs food I was going to eat.
13. The Last Supper
A decade or two ago I was at my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. It was the first time in a while the whole clan had gathered at the table, so it was fully extended with all extension leaves being used. Unfortunately, it was a somewhat cheaply made table, and once the turkey was placed in the center, it collapsed.
The center buckled under the weight and fell, causing both ends to rise up, sending the rest of the feast sliding toward the gaping maw. I managed to grab the mashed potatoes (my favorite dish), but everything else was a loss. Since I was 5 years old I found it hilarious, though now that I’m older I can imagine how much that must’ve sucked.
When I was 5 or 6 years old, we were at Thanksgiving dinner at my Oma’s house. I was reaching for food, and I reached directly over a candle, burning my wrist.
My dad rushed me back into the kitchen, where he used water to put out the fire. That was pretty funny, honestly.
11. You’re Breaking My Something
We witnessed a faked heart attack.
It was very surreal. And her husband was so embarrassed.
Here’s what happened. Grandmother didn’t like my dad very much, and she picked a fight with him, so he decided that he was going home.
When grandmother realized that my stepmom (her daughter) was going to take dad’s side and go home too, she yelled a lot and then, as a last-ditch effort, dramatically clutched her chest and collapsed very carefully—it was outside, and I guess she didn’t want to bump her head or muss her clothes).
Dad offered to call 9-1-1, grandfather said it wasn’t necessary, and when grandmother realized no one was taking her seriously she opened her eyes, allowed grandfather to help her up, and went inside with him while fake sobbing.
Normally she was quite nice, but she had her moments and really wasn’t happy that her daughter had grown up and had a life. Holidays usually brought out the worst in her. Which was weird because she loved cooking and celebrating.
10. Drunk Parent Tennis
Last year my dad got blind drunk. Like the drunkest I have ever seen him. He kicked me and my girlfriend out of the house very loudly, and when we were packing up, he came asked why we were leaving and demanded we stay.
After another five minutes, he came back and kicked us out again. We went to my mom’s house who was so drunk we couldn’t wake her up. So we ended up playing Borderlands all night.
9. I Sense Tension from All Sorts of Places
My dog ate the whole entire turkey and my grandma farted on a stool, causing it to break. Also, my stoner cousin got in a huge fight with my lawyer sister.
8. Not All Things Should Be Crispy
My dad and uncle tried frying a turkey, very drunkenly. They forgot about. The oil went up in flames and so did the side of my uncle’s house.
7. The War at Home
My uncle and grandfather don’t have a good relationship but were tolerating each other because it was Thanksgiving. My uncle was cooking lasagna and my grandfather decided to help, so he grated the cheese. He did this in another room, because the kitchen was full of other people cooking, we have a big Thanksgiving with maybe 15 or 20 who love to eat.
I had brought in the cheese and everything was going fine. Flashforward to dinner time, the food is coming out and, as tradition dictates, we always start with lasagna. My grandfather made some joke like,” I know you hate me, but at least I’m grate,” and stuff hit the fan.
My uncle literally went I to a rage and was yelling at everyone because we didn’t tell him he was using “tainted” cheese. Then said “f#@# it” and proceeded to flip the table ALL the food was on. Then my grandfather called him outside to settle the score, which resulted in two grown men fist fighting in the backyard, culminating with my grandad getting thrown into the pond we lived off of, and slicing his leg on a jagged rock that he landed on. The rest of us ordered Chinese food and kicked my uncle out. My grandfather refused the hospital because he had a little too much “holiday joy” in him at the time. Surprising my uncle hasn’t come to holidays in years now…
6. This Dog’s Got Great Comedic Timing
My grandmother ran out of counter space and stuff was sorta burning like crazy on top of the stove. She took out the turkey on the tray, looked around, and put it on the ground for like three seconds. She intended for it to be there for three seconds.
Her dog, Rosco, had been following her all day. Earlier she tossed him a turkey giblet, and I guess that didn’t sit well with him.
He defecated all over my grandma’s leg, floor, and freshly-cooked turkey in one explosive two-second blast of fiery diarrhea.
5. Grandma Taking Death Drops Too Far
My mother and grandmother had plans to go to a restaurant last year, but my sister convinced them to go somewhere else at the last minute. Of course, this means they had no reservations, but my sister is convinced that it’ll be fine and they might just have to wait a few minutes for a table. I live in another state, so I get to experience all of this from a distance.
They end up sitting at the bar while waiting for a table, having a few drinks and appetizers. After the second round of martinis my mother looks over and my grandmother is leaning back in her chair, completely limp and unresponsive. Everyone freaks out, paramedics are called, grandma is rushed to the ER.
I’m 1,200 miles away when my mother calls to tell me what happened. At this point, grandma is at the ER, still unresponsive, with crazy low blood pressure and high heart rate. I’m ready to book plane tickets and rush to the airport when my mom calls back and says: “Don’t worry, everything’s OK, your grandmother just got drunk.”
Her blood test came back completely normal except for a BAC of 0.24 (3x the legal limit). She was awake now, so I got to talk to her and she was crying “I’m so sorry, I’ve ruined Thanksgiving.” I assured her that she hasn’t ruined Thanksgiving and that everyone is just happy she’s OK.
So my grandma is 90 years old, about 4’8″ tall, and 100lbs. She hadn’t eaten anything all day because she knew they were having a big dinner. She also ordered another martini while no one was looking, so the second martini was actually her third. This turned into the perfect storm of a really drunk grandma.
In other words, Grandma got run over by a martini.
4. Something Wicked This Way Comes (to Dinner)
My uncle brought a woman other than his wife. She was crazy. A practicing witch who would “divine” things about us on the spot and ironically accused my other uncle of having an affair. She got drunk and groped me in the coat closet, then tried to kiss me saying, “If only I were young again.” I was 16.
3. Caught Something on the Way Here
My aunt decided to announce she got chlamydia as we started to eat and my grandmother told her getting stuffed by random people is “for turkeys.” I laughed really hard.
2. Love Waits for No One
My mother-in-law died one September after [knowing she had] cancer for less than a year. My parents invited her widower husband to have Thanksgiving with us. He spent much of the time giddily talking about dating apps. My husband was not amused.
1. Love is A Special Medicine
We were hosting a young lady my wife worked with, as well as her boyfriend. Halfway through dinner and somehow the discussion got to how her and her brother “once got super trashed on Robitussin, and next thing you know we… Uh… Yeah, that was really a weird time.”
Everyone just got really quiet as we were trying to decide how to fill that one in and where to go with it. For some reason, they got really quiet after that.
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