For most people, Christmas is lauded as the time of year for spreading joy and spending time with family and friends, but unfortunately not everyone feels an overwhelming sense of joy when December 25th comes around. Let’s face it, families have issues, and those issues don’t stop just cause Ol’ Saint Nick is on his way. In fact, the holidays tend to bring out the crazy in us from time to time.
So with that in mind, we scoured the internet to find and bring to you first hand accounts of people who have had some of the worst christmas experiences ever. Enjoy!
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1. 4,000 Text Messages
On Christmas Eve, my wife told me that she felt like we were losing the passion in our relationship. I just so happened to be paying our bills Christmas morning when I saw on our phone bill that she texted some dude she works with over 4,000 times in the month of November (around the time she started to become distant).
I had proposed to her exactly one year before on Christmas morning….she is my second wife. The first one cheated on me while I was in Iraq. I don’t know whether I should just give up on marriage in general or maybe next year will bring me a Christmas miracle.
2. Pets are the Best! (at ruining things)
The year the cat ran up the tree and couldn’t get down. The dog thought it was play time and ran full speed across my living room and launched into the tree to “play with the cat.” I have an English Mastiff that weighs about 150 lbs right now. The tree stood no chance.
Ornaments…ornaments everywhere. The cat bolted as soon as the tree hit the ground and the dog followed. There were crushed presents, shattered ornaments, and pine needles everywhere. That was the last year we had a real tree. Bought a fake, fold out one next year so the cat no longer sniffed around and climbed into it. It didn’t really ruin Christmas but it definitely wasn’t a good way to spend Christmas morning. Makes for a good story though.
3. Mom chooses cigarettes over Santa
The worst I can remember is when I was ten. I wrote a letter to Santa asking him to help my mom quit smoking (I believe it was around the time D.A.R.E. program started at my school). I gave it to my mom to mail to Santa. I even wrote on it “For Santa Only!”
My mom, of course, read the letter, and she took me aside and told me never to bring that up with her again. Aside from my mom continuing to smoke, that’s how I found out there was no Santa. I never said anything to my younger siblings but it was hard for me to enjoy Christmas the same way I used to.
4. Kids say the darndest things!
My wife and I were separated but hadn’t told our families yet (we were waiting until after the holidays). So that Christmas we were staying with my in-laws and trying very hard to keep up appearances, but we were both angry with each other all the time. But here’s where it got really awkward…
Our anniversary was just a few weeks away, so my (pushy) mother-in-law took it upon herself to plan a romantic weekend getaway for us. So I’m sitting next to her at the computer, in a state of utter shock, as she’s showing me pictures of the hotel she booked. Little did we know, my 6-year-old daughter had been standing there the whole time and she chimes in “No grandma. You need to get them a different room. This one only has one bed. Mommy and daddy don’t sleep in the same bed anymore.”
So yeah, that’s how my in-laws found out I would soon become their ex-son-in-law.
5. Tooth Fairy just ruined my childhood
The day before Christmas I lost a tooth and decided not to tell my parents, just to see if the tooth fairy was actually real. When she didn’t come the next morning I was pretty upset. So that night I told my parents what I’d done, and made them tell me everything they’d lied to me about, including… (gulp)… Santa.
Five minutes into the conversation, my mom was hysterically crying and my dad was hysterically laughing. Looking back after all these years, I’m not sure which reaction was more depressing for me.
In my mom’s words, I lost my childhood that night.
6. My mom isn’t exactly the nicest person in the world
So when I was nine, I went to Michael’s and got a birdhouse to paint. I was very crafty and loved it when my older brother would help me with arts and crafts. I decided that I would give Santa the bird house. Why? I don’t know. It didn’t really cross my mind that there would be no purpose for a bird house at the north pole, but whatever. I was 9, leave me alone.
Christmas Eve comes. Mom always told me that Santa wouldn’t come if you tried to wait up for him, so I, being a good girl, went to bed extra early that night. Next to the milk and cookies, I left the birdhouse I had painted, with a note saying that it was for him, and thanking him for bringing all of the good children presents every year.
About a week passes, and I was going to throw something away outside. In the trash can (not even buried or obscured at all) I see the birdhouse, with my crumpled up note. The feeling in my stomach is one I couldn’t describe, but I was too embarrassed to even confront my mother about it. Later that year she told me Santa wasn’t real, and I told her that I knew, but lied and said my friends had told me. To this day it is still too hard to bring it up.
And that is how I found out Santa isn’t real.
7. A not so Merry Christmas
Right in time for the holiday festivities, my long-term significant other (who I had been very serious about) did something so obscenely incendiary, it effectively forced my hand into breaking up with him. I would have been a total fool if I hadn’t. Fun times. I was in no mood for shiny trees and eggnog and presents. I wanted to spend Christmas alone and cry over sappy Hallmark channel movies—er, I mean get my bearings. Seriously, just a-lone, with zero people. I knew I wouldn’t be good company. I would be terrible company.
I made this opt-out known to my mom so she could make plans with the family. I thought she’d be okay with it, as we hadn’t done Christmas since the year my father died. My mother is a great gal, but she doesn’t always put my needs first: “Oh, no, we have to have Christmas together!” And starts to cry. Add a pile-on of guilt to a landslide of heartache.
So everybody comes over to my place (thank heaven for small favors) and cooks and open presents and tries to cheer me up. I was appreciative of their efforts, but I would have had a much better go of it not celebrating Christmas until the year after. Something about the holidays really coaxes out drama.
That was the worst Christmas I’ve ever had. New Year’s Eve was almost as bad, needless to say.
8. The Act of Giving
The one which stands out for me was when I was 14. You could say my family was poor. We lived in a rental and got clothes once a year just before school. My dad worked overseas and sent us money, but it must not have been much. So the Christmas when I was 14 I remember my brothers and sisters got a good selection of gifts. In fact, I was up late wrapping them. I only got one thing, which I wrapped, but it was what I really loved. It was Neil Sedaka’s gold record called The Hungry Years.
The next day, we opened our presents then we got ready to go to our relatives for Christmas. We have a large family so we always have a gift exchange. Well, as we’re walking out the door, my mom realizes she completely forgot to buy a gift and of course no stores were open for her to buy one. My heart sunk into the floor when she asked me if she could use my album as the gift. I desperately wanted to keep this record, but I knew we had no money for her to buy a gift, so I gave it to her.
A few weeks later, I visit my Aunt and Uncle (they got the album in the gift exchange) and asked them to play it for me… They both had no idea what I was talking about and told me they didn’t really like music so they just gave it to one of their neighbors. When I got back home later that night I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much in my life. As a poor little girl who didn’t have much, I can’t tell you how much that hurt.
9. Silent Night, but not Holy Night!
Every kid tries not to remember their parents fighting. You picture Christmas as the happiest time of year for your family. Well, not so much for me. I remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up Christmas morning with my sister and we ran downstairs to open presents. All went as usual until we sat down for lunch.
My parents had a massive screaming match during Christmas lunch that resulted in my mom throwing the Christmas ham at my dad and storming out of the room. She was crying in the kitchen for the rest of the day. My dad was in a foul mood for the rest of the day and my sister and I ate the rest of our food in silence. The dog made out nice though, he ate the entire ham on the dining room floor!
Safe to say, Christmas has been a lot better since they got divorced.
10. Toblerone saved the night
My husband and I had just moved into our new home. I couldn’t wait to celebrate Christmas with everyone at our new place. I decorated the entire house and planned the menu. I wanted everything to be perfect. I even had assigned seating! Of course the first time I hosted Christmas, I completely ruined the Christmas pudding.
I put it on to simmer as we all sat down to eat lunch. Unfortunately, I got a bit drunk and totally forgot about it. The plastic container melted onto the bottom of the pan. It’s my dad’s favorite part of Christmas lunch, and I knew he was so upset, even though he pretended he didn’t care.
We shared a Toblerone for dessert. Hey, you can never go wrong with Toblerone!
11. When there is a Will, there is no way
This actually happened to a friend of mine – I’ll call him “Will.” So Will went to the pub with some of our other friends on Christmas Eve. He got really drunk and missed the last train home, which would have been fine except the pub was in the middle of nowhere.
Will ended up having to go home with our other friend, “Mike”, and spend Christmas morning with Mike’s family. There were no trains – obviously, on Christmas Day – so Mike’s dad had to drive Will home again, which was a two-hour round trip. Christmas ruined for two families – impressive.
12. I Deserve Christmas Too!
We always had our family Christmas gathering on Christmas Eve, and I’m always excited about it every year. Unfortunately, I got Norovirus two days before Christmas. I thought I was fine to sit at the table for dinner. Unfortunately, my stomach wasn’t fine and I ended up throwing up at dinner in my plate. I mean real throw up, the projectile vomit type.
After, I was forced to stay in bed listening to my family laughing and playing games downstairs. I don’t know if I should be happy knowing that they are happy, or I should be sad because I’m not part of it. Definitely a Christmas my family won’t forget but I will try to.
13. Replacing Ornaments is Not Cheap!
My mom took Christmas really seriously. The decorating was next level. She would plan a new theme every year and host every Christmas Eve just so family could see what she had done.
I had just come in from walking the dog when my mom asked me to come and help sort out the lights on the tree. I sort of crouched down under the tree where the plug socket was and plugged them in. What I didn’t realize was that my beanie hat got caught on the lower branches.
When I went to stand up, the whole tree came crashing down on top of me, decorations and all. Replacing all of those ornaments was NOT cheap! Let’s just say my mom was not happy.
14. The Bridezilla who stole Christmas
One year, my cousin scheduled her wedding for the week before Christmas then turned into a massive Bridezilla. Basically, no one was allowed to talk about Christmas because she didn’t want a “Christmas theme” (she made the staff at the reception venue take down all the lights and decorated trees etc).
It was super stressful, and by the time Christmas came around, my whole family was exhausted. Meanwhile my cousin was sunning herself on her honeymoon!
15. All I Want for Christmas is…not you.
My girlfriend and I were spending Christmas with our own families. She wouldn’t reply to my texts, so I rang her – you can guess what happened next.
She dumped me, and tried to make it better by saying she had been planning to wait until after Christmas. You would think she had the decency to do this before Christmas and not string me along. I was too embarrassed to tell my family so I tried to carry on as normal.
Still haven’t told them; they think we broke up in January.
16. Christmas won’t be the same without our loved ones
My grandma, my mom’s mom, died on Christmas Eve. She had been getting steadily worse so my parents and I were taking turns sitting with her at the hospital. I think she was trying to hang on to have another Christmas with us but by Christmas Eve, she was going downhill and my mom stroked her hair and said, ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to be strong, we’re all here and we love you,’ and she died soon after.
I am an only child and my dad lost his parents too, so we were all really, really close to my grandma. We didn’t really celebrate Christmas that year but now we make Christmas a celebration of her life.
17. Where’s Dad?
The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn’t home. So mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search.
Another day went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to light up the fire. That’s when the phone rang. It was the hospital. My heart sank. I immediately thought the worst. Turns out my dad decided to dress up as Santa. He climbed down the chimney… his arms loaded with presents. He slipped and broke his leg and ended up in the hospital for Christmas. And that’s how I found out there was no Santa Claus.
18. Christmas Mail
For the first three Christmases after my mother passed away I refused to open any of the Christmas cards people sent me. It just didn’t feel right. And then, after my dad passed away three years later, I went and opened the cards from the previous Christmas.
I found a gift check from my dad to me in one of them, but it was over ninety days old. It’s been almost five years since my dad passed away. I’ve been opening Christmas cards now for the last few Christmases, so I guess I’m back to normal. Still, Christmas is just not the same anymore.
19. Yum, a gift you can eat!
One Christmas, a couple of years ago, I bought my grandmother a little gift set containing some homemade smellies; bath bombs, bath confetti, body moisturizer, that kind of thing. I also purchased her a pretty cupcake shaped soap, complete with soap textured icing and a little gingerbread man topper.
Christmas Day arrived and I handed my Gran her gifts. I noticed the soapy icing had started to melt a bit so told my grandmother to be careful. She then proceeded to scoop up the melted “icing” with her finger and proceeded to lick it off! My family were all in hoots of laughter as I shouted “You can’t eat it, it’s soap!” I understand the soap looked realistic but she’s never lived it down!
20. My Best Wasn’t Good Enough!
One Christmas Eve, I thought I’d be a little ambitious and bake my very first Yule Log, based on a recipe from a Nigella Lawson book. It was the first Christmas at my in laws so I wanted to make a good impression. I spent a small fortune on posh ingredients and got to work.
I went to assemble the super soft sponge and heavy icing concoction…and it all fell apart! Disheartened, I put it in the bin and spent another two hours mixing and baking. When the moment of truth arrived, the same thing happened again! I had to run out and grab store bought dessert because we had none. My poor fiancé found me crying in the kitchen at midnight in a huge sulk. I haven’t attempted a Nigella recipe since and still feel sour when I see her on TV!
21. Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, I got my teeth rocked!
When I was 9 years old I ran into my mom & dad’s room excited to open presents. Unfortunately, as I was running in, I tripped over a rug and smashed my teeth against my parents bed post. Blood was everywhere! I lost one tooth (luckily a baby tooth) and fractured my adult incisor.
I had to wait 6 hours in hospital for a specialist to arrive. Didn’t get to open any of my presents, and had to drink my Christmas dinner through a straw! Let’s just say that was probably the worst Christmas experience of my life! We still have the bed post, with 3 clear distinct teeth marks.
22. A Case of the Holiday Runs
Several years ago, I came down with a stomach flu. My family went to my Grandma’s house and left me behind while I spent the entire day spewing various liquids from each end of my body. I became so exhausted from the constant vomiting and diarrhea that I fell onto the floor of my bathroom in a giant slurry of vomit and diarrhea.
Finally, I ran out of liquids and preceded to dry heave for the next 8 hours. After my family got back, at around 8 PM, I was yelled at for making a mess of the bathroom. It was like they didn’t even care I had be home sick in the first place while they were out celebrating Christmas! Sorry guys, my bad. A really happy holiday.
23. A not so Merry Christmas.
After getting kicked out of my home I got into a rut of drinking excessively and made my flat mates quite angry. It got to the point that they said they didn’t want me around for Christmas. When my grandmother found out what had happened, she convinced my stepfather and my mother to let me back for Christmas day.
Not only was it the most awkward Christmas I had but it was the worst because I was left out of every photo, ignored by nearly everyone apart from my siblings and whenever my family did look at me it was with a look of disgust.
24. Butt it’s Christmas!
Last year around December I had to have a rather uncomfortable surgery on my butt. It took three months to heal and required daily dressing changes, so I spent Christmas morning desperately trying NOT to sit in a waiting room at the local walk-in center.
I didn’t want to be there and chances are the nurse who would have to change my dressing didn’t want to be there either. So I decided to inject some levity into the situation by writing “Merry Christmas” across my butt cheeks with a sharpie. Turns out my butt is not that big so I had to make it “Merry Xmas” and since I was doing it with a mirror before leaving it ended up looking more like random squiggles than Christmas cheer.
In the end I got a trainee nurse who it turns out had no sense of humor, nor any idea how to change the dressing. I had to lie face down with my Christmas cheeks on display for twenty minutes while she worked out how to (roughly) pull a ribbon out of my buttock and then another ten minutes while she found someone else to put a new one in.
25. Who needs Cable when you have Cheap Vodka?
A couple of months after splitting up with my wife I had no intention of celebrating Christmas. I was away from my kids for the first time for Christmas and living hours away from my parents and the rest of my family. I was completely alone with no presents in my miserable little apartment.
I had bronchitis and a pulled rib muscle so every time I coughed I was in extreme pain. I drank a bottle of cheap vodka and watched It’s a Wonderful Life on VHS crying my eyes out. I was so broke I didn’t even have internet or cable.
The rest of the day was me laying on the couch completely defeated feeling pretty hopeless. Definitely not the definition of jolly Christmas.
26. Best/Worst Gift to receive on Christmas
My first horrible Christmas was in the early 90’s. I was a middle schooler. My mother got so drunk she fell into my aunt’s stereo system thus breaking it and ruining the night. Worst part was I kept trying to insist that she was “just tired” while shaking her to get up. The night ended with her passed out on the toilet and me wake her up so she could sober up to open presents.
The second was a few years later, after my parents got divorced. My mother was barely working and we were so poor that her boss bought us cleaning supplies and food, wrapped them up, and we opened them Christmas morning thinking they were toys. We didn’t even realize we probably needed the food more than the toys, but what kid wants to open up food on Christmas? So much disappointment and tears that day.
27. Christmas will never be the same again
My worst Christmas ever. My father went home to Jesus that Christmas Eve. He had been sick for over a year. He spent 6 months in the hospital and was home 6 months before he was rushed back to the hospital several days before Christmas. He died 3 times on Christmas Eve, 2 times they were able to bring him back. I was at the hospital when they called the code blue in the ICU. Doctors and nurses came running down the hall. I watched as they tried to revive him the 1st time. As I watched I kept telling my mother it was the man next to my dad and in my mind it was. I don’t know if I was in denial or what happened that night but in my mind it was NOT my dad they were working on.
After they brought him back, they let us go in to be with him anytime we wanted (not the normal 10 minutes every 2 hours). I was holding his hand when he finally gave it up. I don’t think I’ve ever cried uncontrollably in my entire life until that night. The nurse that was attending him in ICU later told me that he had been talking to her about me and my daughter when she noticed his heart rate going down. He adored my daughter and she adored him. She was going on 4 yrs old when she lost her own dad.
I don’t remember much about that Christmas, the gift giving, Santa or the Christmas meal. We just seemed to go through the motions. We buried him the day after Christmas.
28. A Full House for the Holidays
Well my worst Christmas was when I was 14 years old. My aunt, uncle, and 2 cousins came down from BC Canada to spend Christmas with my mom, dad, my grandma, and the three of us girls. So we had 10 people and 4 dogs crammed into this tiny little 2 bedroom house we were living in. On day 2 of the visit, the one and only bathroom we had lost a toilet. Seems as though a tree root had grown through the sewer line and blocked it .. what timing LOL.
Lucky for us the next door neighbor had a mother in law apartment at the back of their house and offered us the use of that bathroom. So my uncle and my dad spent Christmas Eve jack hammering the driveway and digging up and replacing the old sewer line. Unfortunately, in their rush to get it all done, they had forgotten to move grandma’s car from the far end of the driveway and she was trapped there with the rest of us. It was a Christmas to remember.
29. Tis’ the season for giving
There was the Christmas when I was in the 2nd grade. Our school was doing a food and toy drive for the poor and needy. You know, families in the community who we knew were really poor and felt sorry for and knew they wouldn’t have any Christmas without our help.
I was determined to help make it a great Christmas for whichever family got my care package. My family didn’t have much but I packed it up with my warmest sweater, an old coat I didn’t really fit in anymore and put the best of our canned foods (generic brands) and some toys that I had. I was really proud.
Imagine my surprise (and heartbreak) when on Christmas Eve there’s a knock on our door and left there is not just a box for the poor… but the box had some of my own stuff in it.
I was mortified.
30. Fighting around the Christmas Tree
My parents were drunks and their very frequent arguments would often end up physical. So the year I got my first bike for Christmas was also the year I learned Santa wasn’t real. I guess something annoyed one of them while “Santa” was putting gifts under the tree and assembling my bike because they got into the fights of all fights.
I went downstairs to beg them to stop and to go to bed as I usually did when their fights started to scare me. I made it halfway down the staircase and saw a partially assembled bike on the floor and wrapped gifts all over the place and the two of them hitting and throwing stuff at each other.
I woke up the next morning with mom and dad trying to make a big deal about going downstairs to see what “Santa” brought me. He brought me a partially assembled bike amid gifts flung all over the place. My birthday is a few days after Christmas and my parents asked what I wanted… I asked for my father to move out.
31. Alone and Broke
I was a broke college student who had to stay in my apartment over the Christmas holidays to work and get some cash for the next semester. The apartment was a basement apartment in an old, somewhat decrepit, house. The furnace was almost as old as the house and that Christmas Eve, it decided to stop working.
My apartment was chilly at the best of times but that night, it froze up. A pipe that led to the outside faucet also froze up and burst. So I wake up on Christmas morning with no heat and with icy water covering the floor. And, of course, I have no choice but to shut off the water, which is still leaking through the burst pipe.
So I’m alone on Christmas, with no heat, no water, and a skating rink forming in my kitchen. All of my friends are back home with their families. My landlord is on vacation and I have no idea if he’ll check his answering machine. I’m a broke college student and I can’t afford to pay the plumber or furnace repairman myself. Even if I could get someone willing to come out on Christmas Day, and in the Midwest, where I was living then, nothing is open on Christmas.
Merry Christmas to me.
32. Karma is a B!
The third year we were together, my first partner was being secretive about Christmas — we had a tree, but no visible presents and we hadn’t really planned for Christmas Day itself. He’d been acting cheerful all month, and very secretive. I assumed there was going to be a big surprise.
There was. Less than a week before Christmas, he informed me he had already found an apartment with someone else (actually, a couple) and he was moving out during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. That was what he had been planning all month.
I was in shock. Unfortunately, I was also in my mid-20s and hadn’t realized we shouldn’t be sharing the same main bank account. When I finally checked, it had been cleared out, leaving me pretty much broke. The only way I got through that holiday was with the support of friends.
It all worked out; the relationship with the couple lasted just a few months (their house got broken into twice after weekend-long “parties”), my ex lost all our friends, and burned all his bridges in town. By next Christmas he had moved to Palm Springs, where he didn’t live happily ever after.