Christmas is usually a recipe for disaster: your racist uncle, plus copious amounts of Baileys, plus an insane amount of pressure to have the most perfect day ever – and that was even before we had to deal with things like “mutant” variants or arguments over the sprouts about whether mask-wearing is “oppression”.
Whether it’s a small slip-up like burning the parsnips or a blazing row that results in tears during the Queen’s Speech and your mum not speaking to her brother for five months, it can be hard to avoid drama on Christ’s big day. But as the old saying goes: Comedy is tragedy plus time. In a few years time, you will be able to laugh all about it. Ha ha!
While it may feel soul-destroying to have “ruined Christmas”, it (usually) makes a good story. With that in mind, we asked a bunch of people to share their own Christmas horror stories.
Olivia, 22: ‘He was crying outside my front door’
So, me and my ex broke up a couple of Christmases ago. I said to him, we're going to have to have separate celebrations, so he agreed to spend Christmas with his parents and I would spend Christmas with mine.
On Christmas Day, my family had sat down to open presents when my mum’s phone started ringing: It was my ex calling my mum. He was crying outside my front door. He’d turned up with absolutely no forewarning whatsoever. He was drunk as fuck and his mum had brought him to come and talk to me.
My mum invited him and his mum in because she felt bad and they ended up sat in my house for about an hour. I was crying because I was drunk and I just didn't want him there. My auntie, my dad, my granddad were all crying too, because it was the first Christmas without my grandma. His mum was crying to my nan. It was such a fucking disaster.
George, 23: ‘I go into the corner of the room and start peeing’
I went to the pub on Christmas Eve 2019 and got absolutely steaming. Then I wake up on Christmas Day, go downstairs, and there's like… an atmosphere. I go into the kitchen and my mum’s like, “Do you know what you did last night?” I was like, “What? No.”
Apparently during the night, I'd got up while sleepwalking, and gone to go to the toilet. But I'd gone into my brother's room instead, where he's asleep with his girlfriend. So I just go into the corner of the room and start peeing.
My brother's girlfriend wakes up, she thinks I’m my brother, so she's like, “Will, what the hell are you doing?”, then she realises that I'm peeing in the room so she screams. My brother wakes up, and he’s like “What the hell are you doing, fuck off, get out my room!” I go back to bed, blissfully unaware of what happened.
I bought my brother's girlfriend some flowers – she came back round in the afternoon.
Fleur, 23: ‘She fell onto the sofa and flashed everyone’
This was Christmas 2012. My parents split up and at the time my sister was living in a house that was behind my dad and stepmum's house. And so we were doing half of Christmas there, half at my dad's. My stepmum had all her family around, including her 103-year-old grandma, and they're all quite quiet, reserved people.
“Then we hear the clip-clopping of drunkenly staggering heels, and it was my mum. My mum had basically gotten absolutely hammered and then put on one of my sister’s going out dresses, like this proper tight little black dress. She rang the doorbell and came in and introduced herself, slurring all over the place, then just fell onto the sofa and flashed everyone. I blocked it out mentally for years because it was just the most embarrassing moment of my life.
Niall, 27: ‘I spent the first hours of Christmas Day in hospital’
This was probably about 15 years ago now. It was Christmas Eve and I went up to my step-brother’s room at about 11 at night and started banging on his door and singing Christmas carols really loudly, being very annoying. My step-brother opened his bedroom door, told me to shut up and fuck off, then slammed the door in my face.
The bottom of his wooden door met perfectly with my big toenail on my right foot and ripped it clean off. It was hanging off by a tiny thread of my nail matrix. I spent the first hours of Christmas Day getting about hospital in a wheelchair with my dad waiting to get it dressed and bandaged.
Eve, 21: ‘I saw my dad balls deep in my mum’
This was when I was 15 or 16 – which is more than old enough to know better. It was about 9AM on Christmas morning. My brother told me to go ask my parents what they wanted for breakfast, because one of our Christmas traditions is to make breakfast in bed for our parents. So he was like, go ask them what they want for breakfast in bed, whether it's pancakes or eggy bread or whatever.
I didn’t knock and I just walked straight into their room, and I saw my dad balls deep in my mum and it was not great. That vision was just etched into my brain for the rest of Christmas.
Victoria, 28: ‘How do you get cheated on in a video game?’
I was helping prepare Christmas dinner with my mother-in-law, then I came downstairs to check on what my husband was doing. He's on the computer. So I walk over, and he's literally on video chat with some bird. He immediately closes the screen, and I’m like, “What are you doing? It's literally Christmas! Who's that?” He goes, “Oh, that's just Jenna, we're really good friends and I really like her but it's not like that.” I ask, “Are you cheating?” And he's like, “No.”
Literally the day after Christmas I'm on the iPad and I see there's a new YouTube playlist called “Sam and Jenna game time” or something. And I was like, are you taking the piss? How long have you been in relationship with this bird? He just kept gaslighting me, saying “I can't have friends? Like why are you doing this?” I was like, you're in a whole relationship with this bird. I said, I'm not gonna do this a day after Christmas but in two days, I'm filing for divorce.
The divorce went through in March 2020. So yeah, I'm happily divorced. I can't believe that happened. So embarrassing. Like, how do you get cheated on on a video game?
Dais, 27: ‘I had to spend the day on steroids’
I've always known I've had a mild allergy to certain fruits, but nothing has ever happened to this extent. So I was helping out with Christmas lunch a few Christmases ago, chopping up the parsnips. I had rubbed my eye at some point in that process, then thought “My eye feels really itchy, it feels like something is in my eye.”
It was slowly getting worse and worse, starting to blister, which was pretty gruesome. It got to a point where my entire eye was starting to close up and my mum was like, “You’re having an allergic reaction, you need to go to A&E now.” So Christmas Day, me and my dad got into the car and drove to A&E. I had to spend the rest of the day on steroids which made me pretty high – so I had a lovely Christmas.
Emma, 21: ‘It was a box of live locusts’
Me and my housemates did our secret Santa within two hours by running around town to get stuff for each other. So we all unwrap our presents and everyone's got each other dumb games and things.
And then I opened mine and it was a box of live locusts from the exotic pet store around the corner from our house. I don't think I've ever been so horrified by a present in my life. I took them back to the pet shop and they were like, “Oh, I'm really sorry, we can't give you the money back.” I said “Please… just take them away from me.” These were also ones which had a warning label saying you couldn’t release them in the UK because they'd cause crop damage.