Oh the holidays… For a time that’s supposed to be filled with love, joy, and cheer, they sure can be a nightmare, can’t they? And most of us aren’t nearly as unlucky as the poor souls who’ve shared their tales below. From toxic families to the worst gifts imaginable, these holiday horror stories definitely wouldn’t make the nice list.
1. Table Talk
This last Christmas, I found out that not only had my mom already been previously married and divorced before I was born, but that my dad had also had another kid before he had gotten married to my mom. So, that means I have a secret half-brother or sister out there somewhere, who I have never met. That’s already bad enough, but the real kicker was the way I found out about it all.
I found out from my brand new sister-in-law, who had just joined the family. Apparently, she had been doing some digging and research into our family history and she discovered all of these details. She had no idea that they had been a secret, though, and she assumed us kids already knew about them. So, she just casually brought it up out of the blue on Christmas Eve while we were baking cookies.
2. This Has To Be An Elaborate Prank, Right?
I used to work as a mall Santa. One time, a little girl no more than five was screaming when it was her turn. Kids get scared of Santa, it’s not that uncommon. Her dolled-up mom was having none of her child’s tantrum and the elves were pleading with her to not put the girl on my lap. She did and her kid instantly stopped screaming. Just had this look of pure hatred at her mom for the remainder of the photo session.
I swear, I thought I was on Candid Camera, it looked so acted out. Attempting to talk to the little terror, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and she just looked at me. Then she said something that still haunts me: “For my Mommy to die.” Noped myself to a break after that one.
3. Plain Cruelty
My mom once got me a gag scratch-off lotto ticket for Christmas. On it, I had won something like $100,000 – one of the grand prizes for a $20 ticket, so it would’ve been a huge payout at my age of seventeen. She sat through me calling my father (divorced parents), other friends and family members telling them how much better things would be for the next few years, especially college, and that they would all get a fair share.
This went on for about twenty minutes until she told me it was a gag ticket, as she burst out laughing. I left her house Christmas morning on the spot, storming out blind with rage. On the way home, I had to call everybody back and explain what happened, near tears. It took me almost all year to forgive her. I can’t recall anything worse that has happened to me. It was one of the most intense mixtures of feeling simultaneous hate/rage/sadness I’ve ever felt.
4. Being Santa Can Be Soul-Crushing
I was a mall Santa once and will never do it again. Some of the things still haunt me. One little girl was the sweetest most well-spoken girl and asked that her parents would love each other again so they could get back together and they could be a family again. The pain in her voice still hurts my heart almost a decade later. Another boy wanted his dad to come back from Iraq.
Another little boy wanted his dad back and told me he passed in Afghanistan. One asked for his parents to get jobs, because they both lost them. A few others just ran to me and gave me the biggest and most loving hugs and though those aren’t really sad they really struck a nerve with me, just such genuine love from complete strangers. I am not an emotional person normally, but even typing this brought me to tears.
Kids should not be worrying about some of these things. I would never do it again, you expect toys and gadgets but things like these I never expected and they will be things that break my heart for the rest of my life.
5. Can’t Please Everyone
I don’t spend Christmas with my mother anymore. When I was between the ages of 15 and 17, my parents were in the process of a nasty divorce, so I spent Christmas Eve and morning with my father and then went to my mum’s side of the family for Christmas dinner. Her response was unhinged. She was so upset I had spent half my time on Christmas with my dad that during dinner she didn’t sit or speak to me.
Later that night as we were getting ready for bed in a room we shared, she was typing on her computer, still not having said a word to me up to this point. I asked her to be a little quieter because I was trying to sleep, and then she blew up at me with no warning. It ended with her telling me I ruined Christmas. My grandpa ended up driving me out to meet my dad at 1 AM that night. I am forever grateful to my grandfather for taking me out of that horrible situation.
6. The Evil Stepfather
My mother was a narcissist. She got remarried when I was ten or so and her new man was everything. She had always been abusive, but it was always of the emotional, mental variety. After his unwavering acquiescence of her torment, he came to agree with it wholeheartedly. That’s when my life became a real nightmare. For instance, when I was eleven, his three boys came to stay with us over Christmas break from school.
They were showered with gifts. I received none. Their explanation was so messed up. They told me that I was not a good child like his three boys. The eldest of his children, who was around twelve at the time, took pity on me and gave me an RC car that had been gifted to him. When I was caught playing with it, it was taken from me. When the eldest explained he had given it to me for Christmas my stepdad lightly reprimanded him and then took me outside.
I was told to stand still and watch as he ran the RC toy over with his big truck. I then had to sleep on the cold cement basement floor for “taking” presents from his children. I’ve never celebrated Christmas since. The whole holiday season makes me very emotionally wrecked with bitter intermittent flashbacks of the way I grew up.
7. A Broken Memento
My late grandmother gave me something of hers, and when I came back from the bathroom, I found that my mother had broken it. I got angry—that’s when my mom snapped. She started screaming at me and ran outside after she was done. I was never able to talk back to my mother growing up, but the last few years, my patience with her personality disorders waned, and I just glared at her until she ran away.
I followed her outside and asked her angrily if she wanted to be a part of my family. She said no. So, I turned around and left. She followed me out, screaming the whole time about what a piece of garbage I am. It’s a tactic used by narcissists to degrade someone’s sense of self in order to subjugate them. I told her the only way I’d talk to her again is if we were in court.
So, this holiday season will be the first time away from my family. I’ll be with my wife’s family, who are nice people.
8. Making It Manageable
One year, two of my brothers got in a fistfight on the front lawn. Another year, two of my brothers got stoned and cut the Christmas tree I bought because they were “trimming it” to fit in the stand. I always do 90% of the cooking, but I’m left to sit in the living room with two of my brothers’ random friends because there was no room at the table.
I regularly play referee, and I always have to buy or at least wrap my own presents. Yeah, I don’t go home for the holidays anymore. Want to know the best part? Since I started not going, I receive yearly calls about how unmanageable the holidays are when I’m not there. Ha! I enjoy them with my husband who gets me gifts and wraps them and appreciates my hard work.
9. Everything’s Falling Down!
My since-passed grandfather brought a Craigslist working girl to family Christmas. Of course, she preceded to get loaded and hit on me. But it gets even worse. She actually tried ripping off my shirt; a couple of buttons popped off. My grandpa, after seeing this, comes over and screams at her. She takes a swing at my grandpa, and he attempts to grab her.
I get in between them to try to separate them. This was all happening next to the bar shelf which is getting run into and begins to fold. I have my leg propping up the shelf from falling while holding each of them apart while they swing away at each other and me. Took what seemed like an hour for my brother to step in and help.
My family then took my grandpa’s side and disregarded the event even happened. I didn’t attend the next three years of holiday events.
10. These Aren’t Gifts At All…
I was dating a guy for a few months when Christmas rolled around. He had recently started a new job that required travel. This was before smartphones and built-in GPS in your car were common, so I splurged a bit and got him a Garmin to help him find his way. Thoughtful, useful, but not too sentimental; it felt perfect for where the relationship was at the time.
Due to schedules, we couldn’t get together until a few days after Christmas. The second I saw him, my stomach dropped. In my haste to go see him, I walked right out the door without his gift. I didn’t realize it until I got to his house, and I felt terrible, but he said, “No worries, I’ll give you your gifts now and I’ll just get mine later.” Cool. So, he goes into the other room and comes back with two wrapped gifts.
I noticed some of the paper was messed up like it had been rewrapped, but didn’t think much of it in the moment. I carefully unwrapped the first package—and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was an MMA magazine. That had clearly been read. I was…confused. I do not like MMA. Not even a little bit. Nor have I ever expressed interest in MMA. Not once. He, on the other hand, loved all things MMA.
Trying to move on, I politely thanked him, set the magazine down, and refocused on the next gift. I could tell it was a DVD from the shape of the package. And indeed, it was a DVD. A Forrest Gump DVD. With the cellophane wrapper missing. Now don’t get me wrong, Forrest Gump is a solid choice. Except, I already owned a Forrest Gump DVD.
And now here I was suddenly the proud owner of a second copy that appeared used. I again thanked him, and sat there quietly, trying to wrap my head around how he could have arrived at the conclusion that a used magazine on a topic I didn’t like and a second-hand DVD of something I already owned would make for good Christmas gifts.
He also got a little quiet, then sheepishly volunteered, “I, uh, got bored so I watched the movie yesterday.” I just stared. “And then I, uh, hadn’t seen that issue yet…so I went ahead and read through it. I think you’ll really like it!” I slowly responded, “So…you got me a magazine because you wanted to read it and then watched the movie you got for me because you were bored?”
His only response was, “Well yeah, I guess so.” I left not long after. The next day, I returned the Garmin for a full refund. About a week later, he called and said he didn’t think it was working out. “No problem,” I said, “I don’t think it’s working out either.” As we were wrapping up the call, expressing well wishes and all that, he paused for a beat and said, “Hey, uh, were you still going to give me that Christmas present?”
11. Laundry Emergency!
My husband’s uncle called me four times on my birthday before 8AM, leaving cryptic voicemails about how he needed to talk to me as soon as possible. I started to panic. I thought someone was hurt. I called back maybe 20-30 minutes later when I was fully awake, and he told me to rush over to his house. I get there and he says he had a gift for me and wanted to make sure I got it on my birthday!
I watch him pull a men’s polo out of his laundry basket and say, “I saw this and knew you’d love it!” I’m a petite woman who doesn’t wear polos. He found a men’s large polo shirt in the back of his closet that he was given at some event 15 or more years ago, somehow thought that was emergency worthy, but also didn’t need to even put it in a gift bag or anything.
He crumpled the shirt from the laundry to my hand. It’s been almost three years and I’m still perplexed by it.
12. Friends Or Family
I lived about two and a half hours from home but hadn’t actually lived there for 10 years. Anyways, I have a small family, and we had a Christmas get-together 2 weeks before actual Christmas. However, my wife’s best friend’s father passed from cancer, and he was also a good friend of mine. His funeral was my family’s planned Christmas get-together.
I did not go home for that get-together, as I obviously went to the funeral. They…did not take it well. I literally had to receive wrath from Grandma about caring more about friends than family, and my aunt eviscerating me on Facebook. I haven’t spoken to any of them in five years because of that, and I’m perfectly fine with it.
13. A Relaxing Visit
I was laid off and went back to visit for the week. Times were tough for me, and I just wanted to relax. I hadn’t lived there in seven years. But the week I went, my mom was really laying into me to clean her house, do her dishes, wash her laundry. I told her I don’t live here anymore and I’m not doing her chores. To which she flipped out and started yelling at me.
She’s always been a two-faced backstabber, but I’d had enough. I immediately walked away from her, packed my bag, and got in my car to make the 10-hour drive home. I haven’t spoken to her since. That was almost three years ago now. I have no desire to see her ever again. She’s caused nothing but misery and pain in my life.
It was Christmas morning and we’re all sitting around the tree with my family and girlfriend at the time. We are all opening presents and I open one from my girlfriend. I unwrap the box and inside I find a flat-billed baseball hat. Strange—I neither wear hats, nor give a hoot about the team whose logo was plastered on the front, let alone the sport.
So, I pull it out and hold it up so everyone [but mainly my girfriend] could see. All the adults give a quizzical look. Even my little sister makes a “huh?” face. So I say something like, “Uh thanks, hon.” Her face drains of color. She says “Oops, that was for someone else, I must have brought it inside by accident.” She then snatches it out of my hands.
I hold out the card that was attached to the wrapping: “Hey baby, love ya lots. Merry Christmas.” She was cheating. There were tickets to some big upcoming game tucked inside the hat too. Needless to say, it was awfully embarrassing to have to essentially break up with your girlfriend in front of your family on Christmas morning via what you thought was a gift.
15. Nobody’s Here!
I flew home for Christmas from across the country. Upon landing, I was informed that my sister would not be joining us because she couldn’t get the day off. My parents knew this well in advance but didn’t want me not to come. I was also informed that we would not be doing Christmas with my extended family as they were busy with my cousin’s husband’s family.
Since I don’t have a great relationship with my family, I was already pretty crushed. Still, it was worse than I ever imagined. I spent Christmas Day with my mother and father until my father left around 2 PM to visit his friends. My mother then went to bed around 3 PM and didn’t wake up until the next day. I decided to wait to have dinner until someone either woke up or came home.
My father came home around 6 PM, and he forced me to hug him despite my protests while he was just in his underwear. He then proceeded to run to the bathroom and puke his guts out. Yeah, I’m just not going back.
16. This Is A Joke…Right?
I should start this by saying I don’t give a care about getting expensive things for gifts whatsoever, but this was just depressing. One Christmas after watching my entire family open all their new iPads, laptops and other cool new devices, I opened my three gifts. The first thing I opened was a bottle of Colon Cleanse.
The second thing I opened was a package of female intimate moist wipes (I’m a guy). The third thing I opened was a DVD about terrorism. After opening my gifts and thinking they are all a joke from my dad everyone just gets kind of quiet and realizes that I don’t have anything else to open. My brother-in-law walks over to me, leans down, and whispers in my ear “that was the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen.”
The best part about all of this is that my Dad bought them new but 1st generation iPads (I didn’t know this at the time). My birthday is right before Christmas and this particular year I decided to treat myself and get a new iPad. While my family was playing with their “new” iPads they just got for Christmas they then proceeded to give me heck and call me a showoff for having the newest iPad that I just bought for myself.
17. Getting A Raise
It was the night of her company Christmas party. I had to stay home and babysit our five-year-old son (Grandma was supposed to, but she fell and was in the hospital with a broken hip.) I figured my wife would go and then come home early. Turns out, she was planning to stay the night at a hotel so “she could drink and not worry about driving.” I woke up about 3am just knowing something was wrong (never happened before) and checked “Find My Phone” to see where she was. She was with her boss at his apartment. Pretty much sucked.
18. The Dirty Dirt Bike Debacle
It wasn’t bad because the gift was that bad, but more because of the context of it. My little brother is the definition of a spoiled jerk. He has been his entire life. One year, when I was maybe 13 or 14 and he was eight or nine, we both asked for dirt bikes for Christmas. I had several friends who went out with their dads on the weekend to the track or out to the desert and I wanted my own bike to go with them.
I wasn’t necessarily expecting a dirt bike, but I asked for one anyway. Christmas day comes, little brother, who didn’t want a dirt bike half as bad as I did, got a brand new Kawasaki KX65 dirt bike. I got a $40 remote control dirt bike…he also got the same remote control dirt bike. I remember coming out to the living room that morning and seeing his dirt bike and almost crying.
I thought they were playing a joke on me so much to the point that I went and checked the garage and side yard to see if there was another dirt bike. I rode his bike more than he did as he really never had much interest, but it was way too small for me so it wasn’t very useful for me either other than cruising it around the neighborhood once in a while, the thing sat with hardly any hours on it for years and years before my parents basically gave it away.
19. Don’t Skirt Around The Real Issue Here…
My mum once pulled up my skirt, causing me to involuntarily flash a room full of people, at a family Christmas dinner. I was absolutely mortified. She wanted to check for any potential self-harm scars on my thighs, apparently. I’ve never physically harmed myself before in my entire life. I was 18 years old at the time, and thankfully I was wearing underwear so it was not as bad as it could have been. Nevertheless, she should not be allowed to consume alcohol ever again…
20. Not-So Secret Santa
My mum has done plenty of embarrassing things over the years, however the thing that immediately jumps out at me the most would have to be what happened to my sister. She had been dating this guy for a year or two on and off. Now, normally his ethnic background would not be important, but for this particular story it is. He’s Black and my family is English, so we’re all pretty much paper white. This was all back when my sister and I were in high school many years ago.
It was Christmas, so he and some family friends were invited over and everything was going great until it the time came for opening gifts. My mum, who thinks she’s hilarious, decided to give my sister (who was still a virgin at the time) a deck of cards filled with “positions to try.” Remember, this was also in front of our close family friends, not just the boyfriend himself.
She was already mortified by that alone, but the worst was still yet to come. Her boyfriend opens up his gift and it has a little card in it, along with a box of glow in the dark condoms. Mum: “Do you like the present? It’s so that she can find you in the dark!” Everyone: …Laughs nervously, while secretly wondering what on earth just happened…
21. Meet Your New Friend, Clarinet Case
My whole life I wanted a dog more than anything. Every year I asked for a puppy and sadly was disappointed every year as well. One year I woke up on Christmas and saw a large box under the tree with my name on it, it had holes in the side and I KNEW this was the year I’d finally have a dog.
I opened the box, it was a clarinet case.
22. Christmas Bonus
The president of our company got completely plastered at our Christmas party. His speech started off funny because he was slurring hard and he was playing on it. Then he started talking about how he came from nothing and became something. Then he proceeded to tell us how if it wasn’t for us working so hard and keeping our clients happy, he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish building his mega-mansion for himself and his family, nor would he have been able to afford his new Mercedes Benz.
Then came awkward muttering, followed by him directing us to, “Drink up and enjoy, because due to budget cuts, the future Christmas party/bonus budget is canceled from here on out.” I’m amazed no one got up and punched him in the face. Many of my coworkers relied on that bonus. No one was impressed. Except for one person, the rest of us quit within the first few months into the new year.
23. Ruining All The Good Things
Tim was the guy everybody hated; he was lucky we all felt bad for his quirks. Every working day Tim punched in exactly at 8:00 AM and out at 5:00 PM, in between those hours you were lucky if you saw him working. Because of him we no longer have Secret Santa during the holidays, catered monthly lunches, or Holiday Bonuses.
Secret Santa: Tim was quite frugal, and when I say quite, I mean he was as cheap as it gets. But still, the recommended spend for Secret Santa was $50. When people started opening presents, it was clear that everybody went over that amount. Tim received a pair of tickets to a Dodgers Baseball game plus some Dodgers T-shirts and a hat. When it came down for Tim to give his gift, I watched in horror. He gave his desk-mate Jesse, who was the sweetest, most polite, quiet girl in the office, the most inappropriate gift. When she opened it, I wanted to die. He got her lingerie. Not just any lingerie, crotchless panties and matching bra. HR had a hay-day with that one.
Catered Lunch: Tim got so upset that he couldn’t have Mexican food every single week that he raised a huge stink and made our bosses cancel the entire program. Holiday Bonuses: This is what got the ball rolling for Tim’s demise. Our company manufactured steel products and shipped them to different distribution warehouses. Nobody in our office worked in sales, so nobody had commission-based pay. Every year before our 2-week holiday vacation we received our last checks for the year and a bonus.
The bonus was a percentage of the profits divided up between all employees. It was great. Who doesn’t like more money right before the holiday season? Tim, that’s who. This particular year had been a bad one for us, profits were down 10% due to one of our distributors filing bankruptcy. So our bonuses were not as big as before, but they still equated to a paycheck’s value.
Everyone, other than Tim, was ecstatic they were still receiving bonuses. When Tim opened his check, insanity broke loose. I’ve never seen someone so angry about a bonus check in my life. First he goes around asking everyone how much they received (we all received the same amount), but nobody wanted to show him their check.
Then he tries to talk to his desk-mates about receiving less than last year and this is where it goes downhill. Everyone he asks tells him they received more than last year’s amount. You can see where this is going now. After everyone’s gone for the day and a few of us stay to clean up the Holiday Party mess, Tim rushes to the company owner and yells at him about how low the bonus was.
After the holidays, we’re told that our branch’s bonus program was canceled. Everybody knew why. A month later Tim finally got fired after his poor desk-mate Jesse revealed that he’d been harassing her pretty much non-stop. Last I heard he moved to Kansas to live closer to his family.
24. My Meddling Mom
My wife’s family is all deceased. The only one left alive on my side is my mother. Still, every time we go see her, I regret it instantly. We are quite literally all she’s got, and still she tries to meddle like heck in our marriage. Last Christmas, after she left, we went to a marriage counselor because things got so bad.
The counselor said we are both more than fine and to limit contact with nightmare mother and mother-in-law. We no longer see or hear from her anymore.
25. Temper Tantrums
Literally every Christmas, my stepdad causes a fight. I’ve learned to think it’s funny, and just laugh at his 5-year-old tantrums now, since I no longer depend on them whatsoever. I just leave if he gets really annoying. His antics are usually because someone wrapped presents wrong or opened a present in the wrong order.
His tantrums consist of throwing things, breaking things, slamming doors, peeling out of the driveway, and veins exploding from his forehead. It was scary to watch when I was 10, but now it’s just comical. He’s in his late 50s now.
26. Stop Belittling!
One side of my family is just a bunch of blowhards who all went to Ivy League schools and work on Wall Street, and they just suck. I definitely went to a good school and have a good job, but every year they tried to make me feel like garbage. I got accepted in an early decision to a good college, and at Christmas that year the cousins go, “So, did you apply early because you didn’t think you’d get in anywhere else?”
I started dating a nice guy and had him over for drinks at Thanksgiving, and they said, “Wow, your boyfriend went to this school? What kind of job is he planning to get with that degree?” They want you to squirm and feel insignificant so they can feel better. So, I finally came up with a devious way to stick it to them. I just started telling them what they wanted to hear.
I moved for a good job, and first thing they said last year was, “So you’re living in that neighborhood? Isn’t that a bad part of town?” I just said, “Not really, but I don’t make a lot of money, so it’s all I can afford! Oh well!” They just looked really shocked and then THEY were the uncomfortable ones. Felt so dang good. Try it out against people like this.
27. So Many People To Visit!
I went home last Christmas. Finished work at 8:30 PM, drove the eight-hour drive through the night, and made it. I was only going to be there for a few days, and this was during a family argument. I saw my immediate family, then went to my grandmother’s place. That night I received a text from my aunt saying that she’s angry I didn’t see her, and I was rude.
The kicker? She works a hundred meters from my Mum’s place, I didn’t know where she lived, and she never tried contacting me. When I go back now, I don’t tell anyone except the people I want to see. This year I’m working Christmas Day for some sweet, sweet bonus pay.
28. Wrapping Paper Woes
Our first daughter turned one shortly before Christmas in ‘95. At that time, my in-laws lived in a town that was approximately a two-hour drive from us. My mother-in-law asked if we’d be staying at their place on Christmas Eve, and we said, “No, it’s kind of difficult with a baby. We’ll drive out to join you on Christmas Day.”
She wasn’t happy, but she said, “Fine, but you have to be here by 10:00 a.m. That’s when we’ll be opening presents.” So, we got up bright and early on Christmas morning, gulped down breakfast, got the baby ready, and got on the road by 6:30 a.m. Driving was a bit slow due to some snow and ice, but we arrived at the in-laws’ house at 9:50 a.m.
We grinned at each other with relief. We’d done it! We entered the house, and couldn’t believe what we saw. There was torn wrapping paper everywhere. They’d all opened their gifts without us. My husband isn’t one for confrontations normally, but he couldn’t help it this time. He cornered his mother in the kitchen and asked angrily, “Why didn’t you wait for us? We got here on time!”
She said sweetly, “Oh, the kids didn’t want to wait.” Said ‘kids’ were my husband’s younger sister and brother, who were 26 and 21 at the time. To this day, I’m convinced that she decided not to wait because she was punishing us for not staying overnight on Christmas Eve. Whatever. That told us how much we mattered to her, and after a couple more similar experiences, we put our collective feet down and have been celebrating Christmas Day in our own house ever since.
29. A Really Loud Christmas
Christmas was always at my grans house, and we’d stay for a week or two. I think every single time we were over, my mum would absolutely lose it over something innocuous and start a screaming session. I’d either lock myself in the bathroom to get away, or one time she locked me in there with her so she could continue berating me.
The last few times ended with my mild-mannered gran screaming at my mum for “ruining Christmas again” and then my mum would actually stop screaming and end up apologizing to her. She never apologized to me, of course. I came back into contact with my gran after a couple years and I’ll visit sometimes. She’ll tell me when my mum isn’t there so I can visit in peace.
30. Old Chocolate
One year for Christmas, I received expired chocolate from an aunt who was a chronic re-gifter, yet always expected expensive, top-notch gifts for her children on Christmas and their birthdays. Not only was the chocolate expired, but it was also evident that it had melted completely and re-solidified. When I noticed, I came up with a devious plan. I know I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help myself. I went up to her with “OMG this chocolate is so good, you have to try it!” In front of the whole family.
I watched her unwrap a piece of chocolate and when she noticed how it looked, she was extremely hesitant to eat it. When she looked at me, I just had a smile on my face: “It’s the best chocolate ever!” And then I watched her slowly bring it to her mouth and try to eat it. She quickly walked to the kitchen immediately afterward. I think I’ve only seen her once since that moment almost nine years ago.
31. It’s The Least Wonderful Time Of The Year
My mom decided that she didn’t want to receive any Christmas presents one year and made sure to tell me and my two brothers. I suggested to her instead that we donate what we would have spent to charity in her name. She said she was fine with that if that’s what we wanted to do. So that’s what I did. I sent her a nice little card and the info for the charities that I had donated to.
That way, I figured she would enjoy being able to see that her decision had helped some good organizations out. Nope. Turns out Mom was not happy. “Why didn’t you just send me a gift card if you weren’t gonna buy me anything! You ruined Christmas for me!” I was totally distraught. I sent her a screenshot of the conversation we had and circled the place where she said she’d be fine with my decision to donate in her name. Her infuriating response made me want to scream: “I don’t remember that. I deleted those texts.”
I lost my cool, told her it was her own fault for raising me to do as I’m told, and told her that next time she should just not say anything if she’s gonna change her mind and not tell us about it. And then we didn’t speak for three entire months. This was two and a half years ago and I still have not gotten over it. It was one of the worst incidents of my life.
32. All In The Family
It was Christmas 2002. I was home from my freshman year of college. The vibe in the house had been really strange and tense since I got back. On Christmas morning, my mom gives my dad a really heartfelt, personalized present. My dad gives my mom an expensive but generic-looking bracelet with some diamonds in it. She starts openly weeping. Something was definitely not right. He told us he was leaving the next day and moved out immediately, into the house of the coworker he had been sleeping with. It was not a good time for my family.
33. Merry Christmas!
My girlfriend dumped me two days before Christmas. Little did she know, my gift was going to be an engagement ring…
34. Getting Turnt Off Pudding
My grandma passed right before Christmas. We all got together for the holiday and my aunt was, understandably, still taking it really hard. She had made something she called, “vanilla angel food pudding cake.” It was in a shallow casserole dish. The top layer was whipped cream and cookie crumble. Middle layer was vanilla pudding. Bottom layer was crumbled angel food cake, soaked to the top in a massive pool of bourbon. The cake was floating in the bourbon. We later found out she mixed even more bourbon into the pudding layer.
She didn’t tell anyone it was alcoholic, so we all got scoops assuming it was a syrup or something. My cousin was the first to bite into it and had to run to the trash can to vomit as soon as it got in her mouth. Another person got a forkful near their nose and freaked out and yelled in shock. Cue my aunt beginning to completely melt down about how she’s trying so hard and she got the recipe from a friend and it’s not THAT much alcohol and grandma was such a good cook she would’ve helped her etc., etc. She was like full blown about to lose it. There was no escape now.
Everyone else was sufficiently guilted into eating at least some of what they’d scooped onto their plates. That stuff was physically painful to eat. Everything burned. Looking around the table, you would’ve thought we were all downing spoonfuls of wasabi. I was 19, but I guess my parents were more worried about my aunt than me getting underage sloshed on pudding. However, about halfway through my portion they found a discreet way to dump my plate. The whole place reeked a couple minutes after we had dug into the “pudding” too, so it was this awful, inescapable sensory overload of bourbon.
35. Taking The Good With The Bad
I am not usually a delivery guy, but one year I was doing some work for one of the major shipping companies. It was the Christmas season, which is their busiest time of year by far. One night, one of their delivery guys picked up his truck full of packages to start his shift, and there was some kind of problem with his paperwork. He headed back into the shipping hub office to straighten it out. But there was just one problem.
He had left his keys in the ignition like an idiot. He then came back out to find that the truck had been stolen. The kicker, though, was that many of the packages in the truck actually ended up being delivered to their appropriate destinations. Our thief had some holiday spirit in him and had played Santa for the night! Unfortunately, my friend still got fired for letting the truck get stolen…
36. Dasher, Dancer, Donner, Destructive
I had a domestic in progress that I responded to on Christmas Day and the excuse for them fighting was, “We’re not mad at each other, we’re just upset because we wanted to surprise the kids for Christmas, we got some deer, dressed them up, now they’re destroying our house.” Turns out, there were literally three fully grown white-tailed deer in the house somehow dressed in full bell harnesses like Santa’s reindeer.
I had to call the game wardens down who were then able to help me remove the deer from the property without injury to us or them. How they managed to get the deer and dress them up is still a mystery to this day.
37. Kids Asking Things For Their Parents Always Gets Me
I was a Santa for three years in college. The most memorable moment—a sad one—was a young boy who asked if I could bring him a “new Daddy because his had passed during overseas service and his Mommy was lonely.” I saw the look of sorrow and pain in his pretty mother’s face, even as she was trying to make Christmas special for her son.
38. Broken Promises
My mom has been terrible to my wife the entire time we have been married. She threatened not to come to our wedding unless we specifically invited certain people. She also said she was going to plan my wife’s baby shower but never did. She said she would come to our daughter’s baptism, but she didn’t. She always makes so many false promises.
The last couple times we were around, she was super friendly to me but didn’t even acknowledge my wife was in the room. She also spreads rumors about my wife when we are not around. That was the last straw. We don’t go to her place for the holidays anymore. Sorry, you don’t get to be mean to my wife and still have us come to things.
39. You Don’t Like Him, Do You?
Last Christmas, I went over alone and left the boyfriend at home as he had plans with his own family. My family has never liked my boyfriend anyway, and makes a point of badmouthing him whenever he’s not around. Well, I had been staying at their house for three days and at around 9PM on Christmas day, my boyfriend texts me to tell me he left his family’s home.
I ask why and essentially his “totally reformed alcoholic” mother is actually not reformed, and she’s selling her pills to a cousin. He catches her and she told him, “Well where do you think your Christmas money came from?” He gives her the money back and leaves. He’s in tears because his mom’s a piece of garbage, and now he’s spending Christmas day alone.
So, I tell my family I’m going to leave and go spend time with him. They start losing it. Asking why he doesn’t just come over, there’s a family here he can be with. I tell them: “Because he’s not stupid. He knows you don’t like him.” That starts a whole thing dunking on me for telling him that. It all ends with my mom calling him weak for not wanting to be alone on Christmas.
I desperately don’t want to go back this year, but I have a feeling I’ll get guilted into it.
40. The Annoying Stepfather
Our mother’s terrible husband would always, without fail, make every holiday awful. At Christmas he stood in the middle of the room with a trash bag to grab up wrappings the minute a gift was opened, and then he would vacuum under our feet to rush us out so they could leave for their weekend house. One year, he locked all the doors so the children couldn’t get back in from playing.
They’re crying, needing to go to the washroom, and we had no idea. He burnt the turkey by turning the oven up to hurry it to being done. Dang, we hated that guy.
41. Flaking and Leeching
For some reason, my brother and his wife are super unfriendly towards us and my extended family, including my parents. Just for example, my parents drove eight hours to come see them and they ended up sitting in their hotel room all weekend because he would never make plans or would cancel them at the last second. Note that my parents supported him financially well into his 30s.
Basically, every family function consists of my folks coddling to my brother and having him either blow them off or showing up briefly and being a complete jerk the whole time.
42. The Seventh Wheel
Last Thanksgiving, my mom told the entire family how she was depressed and felt like a terrible mother because of me, complaining that I had ruined her as a person. I’ve been struggling with mental health stuff for a long time, and they aren’t very understanding. Also, it’s my parents, and my two sisters and their partners, with me being like a 7th wheel.
For the most part, I spend the entire holiday being ignored and talked over or snapped at. Either way holidays just make me feel like garbage. I still have to go, unfortunately.
43. Changes In The Family
The last conversation I had with my father was him calling me to tell me he kicked me off the insurance and doesn’t approve of me being trans. I told him I’ll do what makes me happy and have refused to go see him, despite my brothers both asking me to come with them to visit him. For whatever reason, my mother and her new husband always host super awkward holiday parties, and my coming out hasn’t exactly helped.
I can handle Christmas, since they usually invite extended family I can catch up with, but Thanksgiving is just the immediate family and anyone we might be dating. Last Thanksgiving, my brother’s girlfriend – the only black person at an otherwise very white party – and my own girlfriend actually hugged it out in solidarity due to how uncomfortable it was.
44. A Pressure For Children
My wife has a disease that makes childbirth complicated. She also has a degree in fine arts. We had to wait a long time to have a child. I told my mom that pressuring us made my wife feel unwelcome in the family, and if I had a perfectly healthy wife with a great career and no college debt, I could have had a child much earlier. My mom is unbelievably dense, stubborn, naive, and insensitive. This led to a major fight at Thanksgiving 5 years ago. I’ve still not got a solid apology from her.
45. Left Out In The Cold
When I was about 13, like many other teenage girls, I worried about my weight. One dish my family always had for Thanksgiving was candied yams with big marshmallows on top. I opted out of eating the marshmallows. My family’s “punishment” was so disturbing I’ll never forgive them. They locked me outside on the porch, while I was only in light PJs, standing in the snow.
They enjoyed their Thanksgiving dinner in front of me because the table was right in front of the glass porch door. I was very lucky to somehow not get frostbite, but I learned that day that frostnip can be quite painful. The most crushing thing however is that my grandmother was visiting for that holiday, and she sided with my parents and saw no wrong in this.
She even joined in their later berating. This kind of punishment wasn’t abnormal but having someone witness and not care was one of the worst experiences of my life. I don’t talk to any of them anymore.
46. Not The Right Gift
My parents would routinely give me “gifts” like chocolate, or some random thing I don’t need like a picture frame. Then they’d go, “Oh you’re too fat to eat it, you don’t want that chocolate, right?” Then they’d regift my “gift” to their friend’s kids. My sister who was in middle school at the time got an iPad and a year later, a MacBook.
Yea, I’d rather not go home to a place that constantly belittles me. I make sure I get my sister a good present but beyond that, I’m gone.
47. Christmas Alarm
Last time I went home for Christmas, my stepdad told my younger brother and sister to wake him up at seven so they could begin to open presents. So of course, on Christmas morning, they both got up super early, and they waited patiently until seven like he asked them to do before waking the parents up. Unfortunately, my stepdad once again was binge drinking all night.
He was not ready to be up at seven, so he got in a screaming match with my 13-year-old sister, called her names, and pretty much set the stage for one of the most miserable family gatherings I’ve ever experienced. By the end of the day, he had done something awful to everyone, and Christmas was completely and utterly ruined.
48. Taking Some Insurance
My dad rigged my car to explode the last time I saw him. He and my stepmom took out life insurance policies on my stepsister and me. That year, I went to their house for the holidays and while we were eating, he went out into my car and loosened up all of the fuel lines. It was a 300zx, so the engine would get really hot. He took off the engine cover so that it was bare metal under the hood.
I caught him outside with the hood up when I went out to smoke. He said he was just glancing around. One day, a few weeks later, the fuel lines popped off while I was driving. The car just sputtered out, thank God, so I jumped out and popped the hood to see fuel had sprayed all over everything. Called my dad to ask what to do.
He told me I had to get the car to his house which was 30 miles away. Instead, I got it towed to my shop and that’s where they told me that it looked like the hose clamps were intentionally loosened. I knew that no one else was ever even under the hood. So, I never went back.
49. Great Answer To A Difficult Wish
As a Santa at parties, the toughest one was having a little girl who wanted her father home from prison. That was awkward and I had to promise her that although some presents take several years to get, they are the most worth it when it happens. I added the usual assurance that her daddy missed her and loved her. It’s a lot easier when they want Barbies.
50. Some Wishes To Santa Come True
I have been a mall Santa for several seasons. I had a special needs young woman (approximate age of 40, emotional age of 12 perhaps) ask me to make her boyfriend quit hitting her. I told a lady who was helping me to get the deputy sheriff at the event to come see me. I whispered to him what she had said. He came back ten minutes later and asked if I would speak to her in a private area. There the deputy and Santa got a clearer but very disturbing picture of how she had been repeatedly harmed.
In May, the deputy let me know the offender had been sentenced to eight years and the girl had been relocated to a new care facility.
51. This Vixen Was No Cupid
Over the winter break, my ex-girlfriend and I were watching Django Unchained, and there’s a moment where the camera pans over a herd of reindeer. My ex said she thought it was weird that they would include reindeer in the movie because it breaks the immersion. Confused, I asked what she meant. What she said next blew my mind. She explained to me how reindeer weren’t real. She seriously thought reindeer were make-believe animals—because of Rudolph and Santa’s reindeer.
52. Taking Care Of Business
My mom was always very healthy and took care of herself, ate right, and exercised her entire life. But then she got cancer and was told she likely only had a couple weeks to live. This was over Christmas, so every place was at least slightly understaffed, and anyone working was not fully focused on work, but we suddenly had to find an experienced, reputable lawyer to update her will.
They also had to get a trust set up for her recently disabled daughter, make sure a scheming relative was definitively excluded from inheriting or even interfering, have an accountant review everything, etc. We’re dealing with the shock of everything and having doctors and medical staff constantly coming in and wanting to discuss things and have decisions made, and we were just incredibly overwhelmed.
We had all this stuff that needed to be done, yet all we wanted was more time together. In desperation, I called my friend Ellen. I’ve always admired Ellen’s ability to efficiently handle bureaucracy, and we really needed help. I asked if she could come over for a couple of days to help with some of the more stressful stuff we were dealing with. She dropped her entire life and was up the next day, stayed in a nearby hotel for a couple of weeks, just doing whatever we needed. I never saw anything like it.
We’d meet up, tell her briefly what we needed done, and she just handled it. We’d spend 15 minutes explaining what we’d like to accomplish, then she’d spend hours wrangling with the lawyers or accountants to make it happen the way we wanted it to. Then the lawyers would come in and talk with my mom alone for half an hour to verify her wishes and go over provisions. Instead of exhausting ourselves wrestling for hours with lots of different bureaucracies and intricacies, we were able to hand that off, secure in the knowledge that it was being handled correctly and efficiently by Ellen.
It allowed us to focus more on my mom’s medical treatment, and to just have time together in each other’s company, doing other, smaller things that were really nice to be able to do. I still desperately miss my mom, but that time would’ve been so much harsher without all the support that Ellen and our other friends gave us. My mom was able to leave peacefully, on her own terms, without stress or distress, and was able to spend time with all of her friends, talking over the good times they had.
And by focusing on the good things, good times, good people, it helped keep my mom’s spirits up, and it made the entire atmosphere much less maudlin than it could’ve been otherwise. Because we had the time and space that Ellen gave us, the separation was a lot less painful than it would have been otherwise, for everyone involved. Thank you, Ellen.
53. The Façade Reveals Itself
One day, when I was working as a Santa at the local mall, I had a long line of kids all upset and crying. It was a disaster. You see, a company was having their Christmas party in another part of the mall and had their own Santa who was handing out presents to the children of the employees. Problem was that this was in full view of the public, so it was clear that there were TWO SANTAS at the mall. And that’s how dozens of children learned that Santa wasn’t real thanks to a scheduling error.
54. Favoritism Runs Deep
My mother was not subtle (although never verbally admitted) of her favoritism towards my little sister. We were both in taekwondo. But I was also in baseball. I wanted to quit taekwondo because I had no life between the two and I was much better at baseball (and frankly was a better prospect). She told me I can quit baseball but not taekwondo. Well I didn’t care and quit anyways. So, she refused to pay for baseball. So, I never played again. My dad was unemployed at the time so he couldn’t pay either. The only reason was because my sister was in it and my mom had a thing for the instructors (even before they separated, she was like that).
Got my license, wouldn’t help with car. Paid $150 for a beater. My sister? My mom gave her her car that was four years old. Remember taekwondo? Took my sister to Korea for a tournament (she had no business going, she was not good at all). Told me and my bro to eat at our friends’ houses if we wanted food. She didn’t go shopping before she left. She was gone for three weeks.
But the worst moment happened on Christmas. I wanted an N64. That’s it. Didn’t care to get anything else. After years of her telling us she spends the same on each of us. Got clothes and some toys. Clothes came from goodwill. My sister? New name brand clothes, jewelry, toys, CD player (I’m 36 so this was back in the 90s and early 2000s). The works. She probably spent $100 each on me and my brother. I looked up just some of the things she got my sister and it came out to over $1,000. That was just some. My sister’s pile was always halfway up the Christmas tree. Massive. Mine and my brother’s fit neatly under the tree. She would tell us “her stuff was just big and cheap” lol.
That’s just a few things off the top of my head.
55. The Chocolate Wasn’t For You
One year for Christmas, I got three little boxes that assembled together to look like a snowman. I was excited, saw on the back a chocolate list. When I opened the boxes, though, my stomach dropped. They were empty. I was like, what? Then my aunt looked at me and said “Oh, there was chocolate but my son and I ate them. I thought you’d like the box.” It smelled like chocolate too. I hate my aunt.
56. Bad Gifts, Worse Dude
A few years back when I was in college, a group of my friends and I decided to throw a Christmas party. We decided that instead of everyone buying gifts for everyone we’d just draw names and buy a $15-20 gift for that person. I got the name of a friend’s boyfriend. He was a jerk, but we put up with him because we liked her. I bought him a smallish sized bottle of Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Skull because it was new that year and the rest of my friends were also buying exotic booze as their gifts to liven the Holiday Spirit.
As it turns out he got my name too and bought me a $5 Walmart bargain bin movie with a bunch of low budget sci-fi original type movies on it. It was embarrassing to see everyone else opening up sizeable bottles of liquor and I was the person there with the worst gift. What baffled me was that when I returned it to Walmart, I exchanged it for The Addams Family and Hellraiser, so for the exact same price he could have bought me good movies, he just didn’t care.
But I jump ahead of myself, everyone at the party shared their liquor with everyone else that night. He guarded his bottle like the one ring and let no one try a sip but drank copious amounts of everyone else’s booze. A few months later he cheats on the friend dating him and attacks another girl in our group of friends. I swear up and down that his bad Christmas gift was the tip of his douche iceberg.
57. The Party Stops Here
A large group of our friends had come together for an amazing Christmas party on the 23rd. After we woke up the next morning, my friend Mason and I were the first to find out one friend had not woken up at all, and never would again. We activated a haphazard phone tree and had to tell everyone who was at the party that Elisabet had passed in her sleep on Christmas Eve.
It was shocking, tragic, and WAY too soon. We were 18/19 at the time. I still have a hard time on the 23rd of December. Before anyone asks, the cause was likely a seizure. It was not related to the party. The only consolation is that she had a really good time with good friends on her last night with us.
58. Hopefully The Parents Picked Up the Dry Cleaning Bill
Mall Santa here. The most memorable thing a kid asked me for Christmas? Oh, definitely the kid who wanted to pee. Same old introduction as always, asking what she wants for Christmas. She says, “I wanna pee!” Trying to change the topic to help the kid choose, get the picture taken, and move on. She says once again, “I wanna pee!” The parents insist that the kid choose something and I sit there awkwardly with this little girl wriggling all over me.
She’s crying and they’re insisting and then my lap gets warm. Just why?
59. For All The Mining You Do
I was spending Christmas with my wife’s family for the first time and wife’s uncle/aunt/cousin’s gift for me was a baseball cap for use in the mining industry. It had a built-in plastic shell in the cloth lining which made it really uncomfortable and non-adjustable. It was also about four or five years old and very clearly used. The edges were fraying, and the plastic was cracked in one spot.
Same family got my wife a marble clock that weighed a ton and didn’t work. We were flying back the next day with carry-on only luggage.
60. Bad Gifts, Good Memories
My husband got two rolls of pennies from my Grandma for Christmas. That same year she gave my mom, a nonsmoker, a tin of tobacco. When my mom complained, she gave her a calendar that was three years old. My son got a hairbrush wrapped in a Pringles can. He was two and cried because he really wanted the chips…Haha. I hit the jackpot though; I got a bottle of Smirnoff.
She always gave us weird gifts. It was her thing. Now that she’s gone, I miss seeing what Christmas gifts she would be bringing. It was a good laugh.
61. The Traditional Family
A bit late, but this is the story I got over Christmas. This all happened recently. My stepdad’s cousin divorced his wife 10+ years ago. He has one daughter with his ex. He dated around a bit and finally found someone he liked enough to buy a house with. During the house hunting period, his daughter announces she’s pregnant and she’s realized she wants a traditional family, so she asks her parents to get back together. Meaning her dad would need to bail on his girlfriend, who he was about to purchase a home with.
They freaking agreed to it! Her parents said okay, dad dumped his girlfriend (who is apparently very nice) right before the holidays, and grandma and grandpa-to-be are now readily available for babysitting duties. It’s crazy.
62. Bounceless Ball
The only present I got for Christmas that year was a little light-up ball. You put your finger on the two metal tabs (or you and someone else, while holding other hands) and the ball lights up. It wasn’t awful, but it was underwhelming. After I had figured out what it was and how it worked and trying it with a few people, dad asks me if he can have a try and so I say sure. I pass him the ball and he immediately throws it on the ground, hard enough to break it.
“I thought it was a bouncy ball!” Some people…
63. A Little Underwhelming
When I was really little, my family was super poor. Most gift-giving occasions, my mom would make me and my older sister toys or clothes, and birthdays we always got our cake as a gift. I remember one year my family was particularly down and out, and we didn’t get Christmas presents from our parents, but this one gleaning service we volunteered at in exchange for food, they gave me and my older sister each a toy and a new coat. I got a plastic bubblegum machine and thought it was super cool.
Just a little back story to show my “high” expectations. A few years later, my dad finished school and through a series of amazingly lucky promotions through his new job, we actually had some money. My mom’s extended family had a gift exchange as they always did, but until then we hadn’t the money to participate, so I was really excited to do some odd jobs around the house to earn the money to buy my exchange a gift.
$20-$30 was the price range. I picked up pop tabs around the yard for a penny each, washed my dad’s car inside and out to $5. I cleaned the garage, washed windows, all in addition to my normal chores. Also, I was seven. I finally saved up $35. I wanted to go above and beyond because I was a kid and I really wanted to surprise my cousin (25 at the time) with my thoughtfulness.
So, I bought her a fancy box of candies, a nice scented candle in a smell that her boyfriend said she liked, and I got her a nice makeup set. My aunt worked for Shiseido, so she let me use her discount and helped me pick things out. It was good fancy makeup. Lol. Anyways, I wrapped it all up. I was so proud. Christmas came, and I was the last to get to open my gift.
My cousin freaked out about hers, ran up to her room to try on the makeup. I got my gift. It was in a bill-envelope. I opened it. It was one of those $1 packs of Goody plastic barrettes. Still had the price tag on it. My heart was broken. I tried to hold back tears, but I was seven. Everyone made fun of me for having too high of expectations and they made a rule that you had to be 16 or older to participate from then on.
I stopped attending family Christmas. I’d rather have no gifts than be treated like trash. 34 years old now, that cousin the worst. But everyone in the family still hates me.
64. Talk About A Sucky Gift
When I was a wee seven years old, my grandmother placed a long skinny box with my name on it under the Christmas tree about a week before the holiday. For the next seven days, my small self drooled over the idea of a play baby stroller folded up in that box, just waiting to be filled with various stuffed animals. On that magical morning, I ripped the box open…and my heart sank. It was a VACUUM CLEANER.
Not a toy one, either. A real-life, serious, small vacuum cleaner. She claimed that she thought it was a great idea because “I loved cleaning when I visited her house.” That’s because you’re basically a hoarder and your house is disgusting, Granny.
65. Cat Got My Tongue
I had been dating this girl for a few months and we were serious enough that I was buying her Christmas presents. I found something that had a connection to a funny event involving her cat and my cat. I made the present to be from my cat. I thought I was being cute but instead, she got angry that my cat got her a present and I didn’t. I thought she was joking. She wasn’t.
To make matters worse, her parents backed her up later at a family dinner. It was incredibly awkward.
66. Can’t Keep Up
During an insanely busy weekend before Christmas, a Karen was complaining to every associate about how messy our store was. The manager had relieved the girl at the fitting room and was helping to hang up the clothes. Karen pulled her stunt and was trying to make a point that we were messy and a horrible place to shop. The manager’s response was legendary.
She told her, “Ma’am, we’re messy at the moment because we’re a popular store. And the biggest reason is because of women like you who can’t be bothered to pick up after themselves. It’s not the associates making the mess. Your type has us outnumbered.” That’s when I witnessed someone deflate.
67. Just Plain Spoiled
This is my craziest Christmas story, bar none. I hung out with a bunch of poor misfits in high school. We all wore hand-me-down clothes and qualified for free lunch at school and stuff. Lots of single-parent families and government assistance. This one girl in my group complained more than anyone else about how her family was poor. She often didn’t have a lunch, and so the other kids would all chip in and either give her money or share our own lunches.
Two of the kids we hung out with were twin brothers. Their mom was raising them, plus their older brother, all on her own because their dad was incarcerated. He finally got out when we were teens, and pretty much immediately ran off and refused to pay support too. Because of the circumstances, the boys started working to support their family really young—first doing odd jobs for folks and then getting real jobs as soon as they could.
The two of them felt so sorry for this girl, they decided to surprise her for Christmas one year. They saved up for months and bought her a brand-new game system she’d wanted. Meanwhile, she gave a few of us used games and books—obviously previously played/read by her—wrapped in tinfoil instead of gift wrap, and we all shrugged that off because of course, she was poor.
A couple weeks after that Christmas, the awful truth came out. The girl’s parents decided to let her throw her first small party for her friends at their house. Her dad picked us all up in their brand-new minivan, and then drove us to their brand-new house. After we arrived, we got introduced to her new puppy, and then given the home tour which included five bedrooms and a pool. Also notable was the girl’s bedroom, where her new game system sat alongside two other recent systems.
I found out later that her dad was an attorney, and her mom was a medical assistant. Her parents’ combined income was 3-4x what my family made in a year, much less our friends who had worked their tails off to buy her that game system.
Her idea of being “poor” was based on her parents not buying her everything she wanted immediately. The reason she never had lunch money? She saved what her folks gave her to buy herself things instead, while mooching off kids who were on free lunch. The reason she always gave us used stuff as gifts? Because she would have her parents buy a bunch of stuff “for her friends” at holidays, then keep it for herself while giving us stuff she no longer wanted instead.
I’ll never forget the look on my friends’ faces as they slowly realized that the person, they’d worked to support out of sympathy was actually just a spoiled brat.
68. Passive Aggressive Gifts
My mom swiped all my mail for the month of December and gave that to me as a passive-aggressive “You never get the mail anymore” kind of thing. Shortly after that she gave me deodorant because “You stink a lot.” I don’t talk to her much anymore.
69. Revealing The Sad Truth
When I was a freshman in college, I got a gig as a mall Santa at a smaller local mall. A little girl came up to me and sat on my lap. I asked her in the most jovial way what she wanted for Christmas. She pulls out a picture of her dog, who had passed, and says, “Can you bring my dog back?” The look on her face when I said no was heart-wrenching.
70. All Shared Everything
For one Christmas, (one of the few spent with my dad, sister, and her mom for reasons you’ll see) I had asked for a Walkman, a fancy coloring book, jewelry box, and a Barbie because I collected them. So, we decided to let my sister open her presents first (she was six and I was 12). She got fancy new markers with the coloring book I wanted, an expensive collectible Barbie, a cherry oak jewelry box, and the fanciest Walkman.
So, it’s my turn because seeing hers I figured it was a glimpse of things to come and was super excited. I got a pad of lined paper, wax crayons like the kinds they give you at Denny’s, a cardboard jewelry box which was basically just a box, no compartments, a “barbie” (the cheap gas station), and no Walkman. I was forced to share all of my stuff with my sister, but I was not allowed to use her Walkman even though she didn’t even own a tape for it…
It was always like this though. I even had to share punishments. If I got into trouble that was it, I got punished, but if she got into trouble, so did I, because “it wouldn’t be fair for her to have to be stuck at home and you weren’t.” Ummm, that’s the whole FREAKIN point dummies!
71. A History Of Bad Gifts
I’ve got a few stories of terrible gifts, but this one takes the cake every time. Last year my grandfather got me a blanket for Christmas…except that he realized he’d forgotten to get my older sister a present so he gave the blanket to her instead. How do I know this? Because he told us while he was giving out his presents. When I was a little kid (going back about 25 years) I cut the legs off a pair of sweatpants and gave them to my dad for Christmas as “leg warmers.”
No clue where I came up with the idea. Found out a few years ago he still has them and it still cracks him up whenever he sees them. About 10 years ago, my uncle was giving out Christmas gifts to everyone in the family. He’s mentally handicapped but he makes sure to go to the dollar store to buy everyone something, typically mugs. Now, my uncle doesn’t really put much thought into who gets what mug.
He just wraps the mug and puts someone’s name on it. Sometimes people get multiple mugs and other times you get none because he doesn’t keep track of who has already been assigned a mug. Well, my cousin was married to a Muslim (it’s relevant, I promise) and her gift was a mug that said, “Jesus loves you.” It was the only religious-themed mug out of probably 50 and she got it. The entire family was laughing, including her. She thought it was great.
72. Let’s See Other Patients
My wife cheated on me with five different women in 10 days. Whilst I was in the hospital. Having brain surgery. She dumped me two days after I came out of hospital, while at her parents’ house, on Christmas Day.
73. Employee Appreciation
4 of us employees stayed late for a week to finish a major project by the deadline (two male developers, two female testers). Afterwards, management wanted to show their appreciation, so they had an awards ceremony where they gave us each a gift. The other developer and I got lamps (mine had shattered inside of the box, so it was just a box of broken glass. No replacement was offered). The girls got last year’s out-of-date cat calendars.
74. Regifted & Reusable
My mother gave me a book for Christmas…that I gave to her for her birthday a year before. She acted as though she purchased it for me. I wrote a note in it to her, so I know it was the copy I gave to her. Also, my mother-in-law gave me a box of plastic forks for Christmas last year. I’m chalking that one up to dementia.
75. Make It A Holiday Tradition
I took it upon myself to inform our circle of friends fairly early in the morning that our good friend had decided to take his life the night before—just a few days before Christmas. I was his best friend, and his parents obviously didn’t have any ways of contacting most of the group. His mom actually ended up calling my wife to break the news. So, it was basically a few hours of calling, breaking the news, having a good cry, composing myself, making the next call, etc.
As terrible as that was, I still can’t even imagine what his parents had to go through. Take my sorrow and pain and multiply that by infinity, I suppose. Four years later, the crew still organizes a dinner with his parents every three months or so. They may have lost a son, but they inherited ten children and a few grandchildren.
They’re stuck with us now.
76. A Harsh Lesson
The Christmas after my mum passed I got an alarm clock as my present. Her husband said it was so I “might wake up in the morning now and actually contribute something.” Still salty eight years later. He’s passed now though, so who is the real winner?
77. Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Secret
I was dating a girl who was a model and used to fly to different parts of the country for photoshoots (typically LA and NYC). One trip, she said that the director of the shoot wouldn’t allow phones on his set, and then she ignored me for 4 days. When I asked her about it and confronted her, she somehow convinced me I was the crazy one. Fast forward a month: her and I are back to normal.
Christmas rolls around, and I get her a really expensive diamond necklace. Fast forward about three months after that, and she gives me my birthday gift…A picture album of her (professional pictures) and says, “Remember that photoshoot I couldn’t answer the phone? These are the pictures from that photoshoot! Don’t you feel like a jerk?” For a split second, I kind of did feel like a jerk…
Until I looked at a couple of the photos closer. That’s when I realized that the necklace that I had bought her was dangling around her neck. I pointed it out to her, and she couldn’t come up with anything, so I left her place. She called me the next day and admitted she was sleeping around in New York that one week, and that was all I needed to never speak to her again.
78. Weird Wish, But Okay
My uncle was a mall Santa who said a creepy little girl wanted “everyone to bow down to her.”
79. Garbage Bags For A Garbage Holiday
Christmas when I was ten. I woke up the day before sick as a dog with flu symptoms which persisted until four days later. When I woke up on Christmas it was the worst of it, and I felt like I was dying. I skipped present opening and slept as best I could until my extended family got to our house. My mother made me come down to open presents with my grandparents.
My grandparents had always been known as the best gift-givers. They always got us insane gifts so I was excited to do it and even forgot about my sickness for a few seconds as I sat in front of my presents from them. The first few were the usual, candy and some socks, a must from older folks. But then I pick up the main present. I was so excited, and I just wanted one thing to make this whole sickness seem worth it. I rip off the packaging…and my stomach drops. I’m staring down at a box of garbage bags. My whole family starts laughing hysterically.
Apparently, my mom told my grandmother I had been slacking in the past few weeks on my main chore which was taking out the trash. So my grandmother, not knowing what else to get, just chalked it up to a joke gift. I instantly started crying and my mother told me I was ungrateful and sent me to bed. I cried the rest of the afternoon from the incident and my illness.
Ever since then I have hated Christmas and any other occasion where giving gifts is involved.
80. A Shiny New Bathroom
My parents renovated my bathroom at their house just before my fiancé and I visited for Christmas. It was a “surprise.” Thing is, the bathroom is connected to my room and every day for the five days we were visiting we were woken up at 8 AM and had to leave so the construction guys could work. When I sort of complained about being woken up my mom called me ungrateful and screamed at me. We didn’t speak for four months.
81. Keep Santa G-Rated!
I was in my 20s and the perverted things the mothers whispered into my ear while sitting on Santa’s lap were definitely something for the naughty list. It became so frequent for the younger Santas to get groped that the elves were told to stay close when adults got their pictures taken with old Saint Nick.
82. Giving A Gift for Yourself
My worst gift ever? Easy. A pair of binoculars last Christmas from my uncle. After I unwrapped them, he said, “If you don’t like them, I’ll take them.” Of course he ended up with them…I’m glad he picked himself out a good Christmas present.
83. Payback For The Long Haul
Ugh, I’m a bit embarrassed to share this, because it still bugs me a lot more than it should 20 years later: I don’t come from a close family, which is a nice way of saying we sincerely hate each other. One year, when I was about 11 or 12, I decided I didn’t want to participate in my mom’s weird compulsion to gather everyone she hates into a room every Christmas. I stayed in my room, didn’t appear at the strained dinner, didn’t sit around for the strained conversation, etc.
I haven’t received a gift, Christmas, birthday, graduation, or otherwise from anyone in my family since. Worse yet, I didn’t catch on right away, so for about 2 years after I’d go to Christmas and have to watch my brother and cousins open up their gifts.
84. Brotherly Love
When I was about five, and my brother ten, he wrapped a large box at Christmas for me and put it under the tree. He was always such a jerk, and when I was suspicious, he said that he was sorry for how cruel he’d been to me that year. When I opened the present, there were two small pieces of candy and a marble taped to the inside of the box. He laughed until my parents sent him to his room.
85. Asking A Lot But Giving Little
I know this one woman who is a single mom and plays the victim constantly. She complains about not having enough money, time, or resources to help her girls all the time, but refuses to acknowledge that she causes a lot of her own problems. At Christmas, she always takes her nonsense to another level. One year around Christmas time, she put on Facebook that her family is coming into town but, “I don’t have a car big enough so does anyone have a van I can borrow?”
“Oh, and also, can someone maybe come put some lights on my house? But you have to bring the lights because I can’t afford them. Also, does anyone have any gift cards to anywhere fun? Because I would hate for them to have to sit at home the whole time without anything to do.” She makes me feel like the Grinch, but I hate her!
86. A Discrepancy In Price
My husband’s stepmother gave me, a 36-year-old at the time, a kindergarten size backpack. And the sick joke only got worse. When I opened it, she said, “I actually bought that for a kid a few years ago and she hated it, so I threw it in a closet. I saw it and thought you’d like it. None of us did, we all think it’s ugly.” That same year, they gave my three kids gifts totaling all together $15 with clearance stickers on them.
Her biological granddaughter opened a $300 unicorn. Which they made sure we knew cost $300, and then they pointed out to everyone our clearance stickers and what great deals they were. THEN they made my kids leave the room so the granddaughter could take pictures alone with her unicorn. It was the last Christmas we visited them.
87. Tablet That Idea
I worked customer service for a big tech company. A pair of nightmares called Christmas week, demanding we fly a pair of tablets to their home by private helicopter for Christmas morning. Their tone was abrasive, dismissive, and entitled. After much work on my end to calm them down, they demanded to speak to management. I patched them over to the company’s senior advisors.
The head advisor idiot-slapped them with logic and policy, “We see you placed your order after our Christmas cut-off date. No special deliveries can be made as all our couriers are working overtime to deliver to customers who had the foresight to order early.” Thus, they were banished.
88. Dearest Ex Wife
I used to work at a call center for a popular gift company. This one couple calls up and says “we need to cancel our order!” I look it up, and tell them UPS already has the order to deliver it. They tell me, “You don’t understand. We are sending this to our son and his wife. We accidentally put his ex wife’s name on the card. It will ruin Christmas if they receive this gift!!!”
I was finally able to call UPS and get them to not deliver the package.
89. Special Delivery
A girl who was enamored with my neighbor showed up at his house on Christmas Eve. So he, not wanting to see her, sent his mother to the door to make her go away. My neighbor’s mom didn’t have the heart to be rude, so she politely accepted the gift. When he later unwrapped it, in front of his mother, it turned out to be a pair of her panties. We were 16 years old at the time, and the girl in question was 13.
90. Taking The Fall
So, I work in a workshop, and we often engrave stuff for customers. This particular guy wanted a nice wooden jewelry box for Christmas engraved with a custom message he emailed me. For some reason, he chose to give the box to his wife at the workshop. Not the most romantic place I can think of, but whatever. The guy’s wife starts to look confused and tear up: “You don’t remember that day?”
Guy turns pale, looks at me with a deep stare, says: “No, I’m sure it’s a mistake.” Me: “No, I’ve copied it straight, can’t be wrooon…waaait a minute, oh my god, it’s my fault, I’m so sorry, I will redo it right away, no need to pay, please accept it as a gift…” Wife gets angry a bit at me, but they leave with a different box and the correct engraving. But that wasn’t even the best part. Guy comes back next day and pays triple the original price without a word.
91. Bringing Down the House
What ruined my Christmas this year was when my cousins got a mini bouncy castle, only for disaster to strike. The entire thing popped—while there were, like, ten screaming children inside of it, all under eight years old. When it happened, the amount of crying and shrieking almost broke my eardrums in half. Traumatized children do not make for a happy holiday.
92. Why Don’t I Get That?
When I was 12, I bought myself a kindle. Me and my sister spent an entire summer working for our grandpa and stepdad to save up for them, each of us spending about $200. My mom got all three of my brothers a kindle for Christmas and I got some clothes from Old Navy. I was livid, and when I talked to my mom about it, she told me that my sister and I had been excluding our brothers from hanging out while we played video games and it was unfair.
She never apologized or saw anything wrong with what she did, and I honestly still haven’t forgiven her almost a decade later.
93. The Odd One Out
We went to my dad’s side of the family for Christmas like we had done every year for 17 previous years, but because I had turned 18 a few months prior, everyone decided I didn’t get a gift from anyone. I still don’t understand why. Every other one of my cousins older or younger than 18 got something from someone, and I just sat there awkwardly.
My parents had brought presents for all of my cousins, and those weren’t the only gifts they got…but my cousins just simply got nothing for me. It’s not like nobody knew we were coming or anything either. I never will understand it. Everyone acted like nothing was wrong.
94. Nobody Wants This
It was the last Christmas before I joined the Navy. I had about $300 to my name until January, when I would head off to boot camp. Mom told me to go to the mall with my sister and spend $200 on presents for everyone, despite my protests. I said I don’t want presents and I don’t want to get others presents because it’s a stupid tradition for a house full of working adults.
I got yelled at, spent the money on a bunch of stuff that no one wanted, and got a bunch of stuff that I didn’t want. I haven’t been home for holidays since. After that, I told my family I’m never buying anyone forced presents ever, and never want anything for Christmas or birthdays ever again.
95. “So Kids? When?”
I dread family events simply because I’m in my 30s and still unmarried with no children. Thing is, I’m in a committed relationship, we own a house and we both have amazing credit. The two of us have two degrees and an amazing career, and we do all kinds of fun travel and events and enjoy our time together. Kids are on the docket eventually, but we aren’t in a hurry.
My family doesn’t approve. No babies? That means I’m wasting my life, letting the womb cobwebs take over. When am I going to grow up and stop wasting money on cosplay and comic con and start popping out mini versions of me? Honestly, am I the only girl above the age of 19 without kids? Then about a year ago, my aunt pulled me aside. She said something that made me burst into tears. She said I’m an inspiration to her teen girls.
Apparently, she uses my life as an example of what they can have if they work hard and are responsible. My aunt even quietly admitted her oldest is sexually active and I’m an example of someone in an adult relationship who can be responsible about birth control. I cried and thanked her for appreciating how I spend my life instead of pointing out what I’m apparently doing wrong.
96. The Nutcracker
I’ve been with my girlfriend for like two to three years now. Her family considers me a part of their family, but my girlfriend’s mom and aunt are probably the most hypocritical and insane people you could ever meet. Aunt believes that if you use a GPS, you don’t deserve to live in that state. She proceeded to get everyone lost when she was driving us around on vacation.
She had lived in Florida for 27 years by that time. The mom is a manipulative narcissist who actually said to my girlfriend and a mutual friend of ours that she only keeps my girlfriend around as someone to “let her anger out on.” This year, I got the worst of it. For Christmas, I went over to my girlfriend’s home to celebrate with them before celebrating with my girlfriend at my house.
I got a present from the aunt who sent something over. I received a single rubber duck that had the bottom torn out of it. A note was stuffed in the opening, and on that note was the sentence, “If you are reading this, you killed the birdie!” There was also a painted rock that was almost completely black with the words “best buds” on it.
The mom was the worst one though. I got a nutcracker from her. I didn’t fully understand it at the time. But I finally got it when my girlfriend’s dad took me aside and said in a hushed tone, “I’m sorry for the gift, but she has given that to boyfriends as a threat.” That’s right, I got a broken rubber duck that blamed me for killing it, a painted rock, and a threat that if I did anything to upset my girlfriend, that her mother will use the nutcracker.
97. Caught Red-Handed
My then boyfriend had let me use his iPad to watch a movie on Netflix. He had his messenger account linked to both his tablet and his phone, and messages kept popping up on it while I was watching without him realizing I could see. I got to watch in real time as he got his best friend’s wife to agree to sleep with him over the coming holiday weekend; with the promise that he’d get rid of me for that weekend so they could get intimate in our bed.
98. Sometimes It’s Best To Keep Your Mouth Shut
Company consisted of something like 1,200 employees at the time, and rented out a big conference center for a Christmas party. At the opening of the party, the CFO was giving opening remarks, and asked—expecting cheers—if everyone liked their Christmas bonuses. He got booed. See, of that 1,200 people, a bit over a thousand were in customer service.
No one in customer service got bonuses, only people in the “corporate” departments got bonuses. And our awesome CFO decided to rub everyone’s noses in it, because clearly the Chief Financial Officer of a company would have no idea that 80%+ of his company didn’t get bonuses. At the same party, the CEO made an announcement that the company would be closed on Friday (Christmas that year was on a Thursday), and everyone got a day off.
Now, he had literally just finished making a speech about how everyone was important, and everyone was part of the company, no matter the department. The next day, we all got a memo that Customer Service still had to work on that Friday. We apparently didn’t count as “everyone” and the CEO just hadn’t realized that the announcement wouldn’t apply to anyone. January saw a 60% attrition rate.
99. 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.
100. Shots Fired
Last year at Christmas my older sister, who I’ve never really gotten along with, was being a total witch and talking down to me. “Seriously,” she said with a snarl, “When was the last time I even talked to you?” My comeback made her face go pale. My reply: “Huh, I’m not sure, maybe it was at your wedding a few months ago?”
See, she got married in May, divorced by July, and was now sitting next to her new boyfriend who she’s introducing to us for the first time. They left. My parents were so mad. I had a great time.
101. Fight Together For The Kids
My ex and I had decided our kids would spend Christmas Eve with me, and that he would pick them up on Christmas Day. Last night, he texted me saying that he would be at my house in 15 minutes to pick them up because technically this was his day to have them. Which is true, our stipulation says they are to go with him every other Thursday.
Unfortunately, we never put anything in about holidays—I thought we could be civil and work them out as needed, and now I’m kicking myself for being so naïve. I had to hand over my sobbing, confused, daughters to him in their Christmas pajamas. Prior to this, he hadn’t had them over to his house in over a month. This was purely to hurt me, and it worked.