Dysfunctional family Thanksgiving


This story is over 5 years old.


People Told Us About Their Most Unhinged Thanksgiving Dinner in Six Words

“Pissed dad left to Mexico mid-meal.”
illustrated by Seth Laupus

For many of us, spending time with our families can be challenging enough to endure on a regular day, much less during the holidays when the pressure to execute a “perfect” holiday can be overwhelming. The reality: Not everyone handles this pressure with grace. Sometimes the screw ups are our fault. Who hasn’t burned a turkey or had a little too much to drink, and said something they shouldn't have? Other times we’re innocent bystanders to the dysfunction: contentious relatives, unruly pets, all-out food fights. What’s most important is that we can laugh about the insanity now (or at least walk away in one piece with a great story to tell).


We asked friends and co-workers about their most unhinged Thanksgiving dinners. Here’s what they said.

“Clogged in-law’s garbage disposal with carrots.” - Tom, 41

“Family decided 'axe-throwing' was new tradition.” - Jamie, 23

Plate spelling adios

“Pissed dad left to Mexico mid-meal.” - Gracie, 19

“Grandmother threatened grandfather with turkey knife.” - Hunter, 25

“Turkey was still frozen at 5pm.” - Amy, 45

“Uncle shot while turkey hunting, survived.” - Ali, 25

“Brother mad sister married a dope.” - Tommy, 32

“Grandpa brought up abortion during dessert.” - Vinny, 20

“Blind uncle plunged hands into stuffing. - Natasha, 26

“Cooked turkey without knowing oven temperature.” - Lauren, 35

“Trump discussion turned family food fight.” - Elizabeth, 33

“Brother stuck fork in dad’s arm.” - Val, 34

“Sister spiked food with essential oils.” - Sarah, 28

“Brother sawed off half his pinky.” - Matt, 37

Weed brownies

“I got my brownie batches mixed up.” - Zach, 35

“Fried turkey equals very burnt boyfriend.” - Kinsey, 35

“Grandmother shit her pants. I gagged.” - Keisha, 29

“Got drunk, peed on cop car.” - Eric, 42

“Methhead roommate washed turkey with soap.” - Eddie, 33

“Cousin brandished gun at my dad.” - Tara, 36

“Religious aunt put hex on me.” - Maria, 29

“Was appointed to cook. Burnt everything.” - Lynnie, 23

“Cat puked which made me puke.” - Kevin, 30

“Dog snatched turkey off the table.” - Mike, 18

“My in-laws microwaved the entire meal.” - Pete, 23


“Punched my brother over the wishbone.” - Dennis, 34

“Family screaming match over Harry Potter.” - Brianna, 28

“Ex got drunk, kissed my sister.” - Katie, 30

“Four words: crazy conspiracy theorist uncle.” - Jenelle, 32

“Got food poisoning from the turkey.” - Johnny, 33

“My parents took us to Arby’s.” - Louis, 40

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Anna Goldfarb on Twitter.