The holidays are a tough time for some people, and for some of them, the thought of dealing family is just too much to handle. Check out these stories of disastrous Christmases past.
"I had a bad case of Scarlet Fever that lasted from Thanksgiving to just after Christmas. I was in the second grade at the time, and one of the few things I remember was my mom holding me over the toilet trying not to cry while I begged and pleaded with her to tell Santa that all I wanted for Christmas was for this sickness to go away or to just die. I had lost a lot of weight, and the rash that Scarlet Fever presents with was itchy huge burning welts from my face to my groin and all over my behind and feet. I was severely dehydrated, I threw up almost every day, and my mom had to force-feed me the penicillin. My fever was so high from time to time that I would hallucinate and I think I also sleepwalked. When you have Scarlet Fever and it starts to go away, your skin starts peeling like a sunburn. My skin pretty much fell off or slid off like a horror movie. I think I stopped believing in Santa and God after that, because I prayed to both that I had been so good all year, and I promised I would clean my room every day, and get straight As for the rest of my life, and I would be the best kid ever if I could just get better. On Christmas day I still wasn't better, and I just wanted to go outside and lay in the snow until I went to sleep.
When I first got the diagnosis, my doctor told me the fever would last about a week or two, and when it didn't stop they almost hospitalized me. They ended up letting me go home, where I stayed until I got better."
"Christmas 2015. My parent's car, with all our gifts in the trunk, was robbed. We found out Christmas morning when they went out to bring in the gifts and put them under the tree. The criminals got my Xbox One and three brand new games, plus like a €100 of art supplies. I had to drop out of art school because I had no art supplies. My little brother was 3 years old and I remember him saying, 'Where are all the presents?' Luckily, our parents had bought him this big Lego city set that they had hidden in the garage for a few weeks, so he played with that while we all just distracted him with Christmas films and chocolate for breakfast. Money was very tight that year and my parents had been saving up months to get us those things. I remember my mom coming to me and telling me what happened and her choking up and repeating, 'I'm sorry sweetie, you deserved all those things.' We filed a police report but nothing came of it. We also told our other family members that the car broke down and we didn't want to chance driving over for dinner."
"December 12, 1999, 8-year-old me, drowsy from having the family's favorite dinner, I pass out excited for the next day of school. Another day closer to Christmas! I doze peacefully, dreaming of all the Pokemon cards and memorabilia I will get in less than two weeks. I sleep for maybe two hours when I'm woken up violently.
It's a firefighter. My room illuminated by red and white flashing lights, I panic and think our apartment is on fire. He picks me up out of bed, throws me over his shoulder as I cling to my precious bear-bear, and keeps telling me everything is going to be ok. Outside of our apartment is crawling with uniformed officers, firefighters, and what I now know as military investigators, being that my dad was in the military.
I am led to my neighbor's apartment, who happens to be my best friend. He greets me with enthusiasm, and we go off to play some super smash bros on his Nintendo 64. Staying up late playing video games on a school night? Yes! We play for an hour or so, then his mom pops in and grabs my friend and says my mom has to talk to me. He is led out and a light is turned off. I sit on the bottom bunk of a room only illuminated by moonlight through the window. I remember it being a cold, clear Arizona night. My mom comes in, quietly, somberly. She sits next to me. I can see her face well now. Her eyes puffy, her nose red.
I say nothing. I don't understand. Where did he go? I saw him just a few hours earlier. I knew he had a stressful job, he seemed down when he got back, ate dinner and watched tv with us. His usual custom after dinner was a smoke and a glass of something on the back porch. I hugged him goodnight and he told me we'd go rollerblading the next day. He's gone, though.
'Daddy was very sad, and he hurt himself. He died an hour ago.' She reached out to hold my hand and I saw blood on her sleeve. My dad's blood.
My dad died that night, a self-inflicted shot behind his right ear. We had just decorated the Christmas tree that night. I have not celebrated since then, until this year."
"Being in jail. A few years back I was arrested in November. All the other inmates reassured me that my parents would bail me out before Christmas, and I was completely convinced that they would. However, once Christmas rolled around, I was still there. I was stuck listening to Christmas pop on VH1 and being around other people who hated themselves for being locked up on Christmas day. At least they gave us better food for Christmas, but that's not saying much as the normal food we got was terrible."
"I would have been around 11 years old. I got yelled at all morning to get back to bed. I was excited to open my presents.
I was eventually allowed down. I opened my presents and had to put everything straight away so my grandparents couldn't see what I got because I would be accused of being a brat.
My grandparents arrived, and I just played the Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue game on my GameBoy Color. My grandparents went to the bathroom at some point while I was in my room. On the way down, they put a nail facing up on the stairs. When I was called down to lunch, I jumped down the first few stairs and landed on a nail.
The nail hurt. I started crying because it was so painful. I got yelled at for making a fuss and told to go eat dinner quietly. I finish dinner and go back upstairs out of the way. My foot now has a huge blood blister on the bottom and is all bruised. Eventually, I'm sick of being alone in my room and venture back downstairs where my mom and my grandparents start making snide remarks before my mom starts teasing me about my Power Ranger game. My grandparents then go and tell my cousins about the game and they have a go at me the next time I see them."
"Every year my mom's grandma stays at our house for Christmas. Her husband passed almost 30 years ago, and most of her family is estranged after fighting pretty nastily over details of his will. She was 85 that year and was super proud of her excellent health. She would always brag that she'd never had to take medication other than a multivitamin. Like usual, Great Grandma comes to our house, we make fudge and listen to Christmas music.
She loves games. For decades she's started out each morning with a pastry and a round of Solitaire and we were all gathered around the table playing one of her favorite card games. I was sitting to her left, my mom sitting left of me, around the dining room table. We're playing the game and I look over at her and she's weirdly frozen with a faint smile on her face. I was confused. My mom looked at her and screamed, jumping over me and grabbing her. She's yelling 'Gram! Gram!' and starts sobbing. My brain connects that something awful is happening and I call 911.
I was so calm, I don't know how I did it. My mom was literally screaming next to me. I tell the dispatcher we need an ambulance, my grandma has had a stroke or something. I'm giving them information, and as I'm on the phone, I kneel down next to my Gram, who hasn't moved. She still has this frozen half-smile on her face and her eyes are glazed over. I looked into her eyes, put my hand on her hand, and mouthed 'I love you.' I watched her eyes unglaze, and, like for a second, they looked like someone was behind them, and she mouthed it back. 'I love you.' Then she went completely unresponsive again. I kept talking to the dispatcher, but it was so surreal. I thought those were her last words to me or to anyone. Her blood sugar went out of whack and she had an unresponsive episode. After Christmas, her health has started failing. She's not allowed to eat her morning pastries, and she doesn't have the energy to play Solitaire anymore. It's really hard to watch, and we think this might be her last Christmas. But we were really lucky to have gotten her back that day."
"Last year. After a few all-nighters and a week of finals, I came home to work at my retail job. Worked a few more all-nighters, then came down with a BAD flu on Christmas Eve. Spent the next 24 hours throwing up in the shower and lying on the floor, while my witch of an older sister complained about how I didn't deserve a nice dinner, good presents, etc. She picked fights with me all day, while I couldn't even swallow food or walk."
"I had found a big lump on my neck on December 4th, and diagnosed with cancer around the 15th. I was just a teenager so I had no idea what it all meant. They had the diagnosis wrong before the biopsy, so I didn't trust them when they told me I was going to be okay. I started chemo on the 24th and puked my way out of the hospital. The next day I was too sick to go downstairs and see my family that had visited. It was an awful time, but December 26th was the best day after Christmas ever thanks to a football player from Kansas State football player (he had the same type of cancer) who called and explained everything that was happening."
"In 2010, we celebrated Christmas lunch with my Mom's family, including my grandfather who I was really close to. Unfortunately, he hadn't been doing very well health-wise, and as everyone was eating and having a good time, he began to have this paranoid delusion that his wife was trying to kill him. He was such a gentleman, but that afternoon he was cursing and screaming and not letting anyone touch him. We all had to hurry the younger kids out of the house and leave, as my mom and uncle frantically tried to calm him down. Seeing him like that was so hard. He died a month later.
Afterward, to add insult to injury, I had to drive through a snowstorm to and from my other grandmother's house. Why? Because my spoiled youngest cousin was throwing a fit and refusing to eat the Christmas turkey. My dad made me drive all the way to our house and back, in the snow, to pick up a baggie of some leftover ham we had saved from lunch. All because that bratty little jerk didn't want to eat the Christmas dinner."
"Christmas morning my (now ex) wife mule kicked me in the shins in her sleep (she flailed around in her sleep a lot).
Like any normal human being that's asleep and kicked in the shins, I woke up crying out in pain and surprise. When I realized she had done it by accident in her sleep, I rolled over and went back to sleep until the alarm went off.
After my hour-long morning workout, I came upstairs to find her completely dressed, putting on her shoes, heading out the door. We were supposed to go to her sister's house for Christmas that morning. Confused, I asked if she had to go early to help or something, and that I still had to shower.
She proceeds to tell me how I totally ruined her Christmas morning by the way I reacted, and that she was going to her sister's alone.
'So let me get this straight, you kicked me in the shins, and I ruined your morning? How was I supposed to react while asleep?'
Apparently, I was really out of line crying out and cussing in pain, as if I could control my reaction while unconscious.
She left me alone on Christmas morning, then had the gall to send me a text saying that she'd 'really like it if I came to celebrate Christmas with her family.' I'm sure she told them a pack of lies to explain why I wasn't there.
I stayed home alone, caught up on The Walking Dead by binging on Netflix. She would later ruin New Years Eve (accused me of cheating on her and was crying out in public, while we were on vacation in Arizona), Easter (nearly passed out from drinking while sitting at the dinner table with her family talking gibberish), then Memorial Day (blatantly picked a fight over two separate fictional reasons two days in a row). I then filed for divorce on our third wedding anniversary. I've never looked back."
"I came down with swine flu and had to wear a surgical mask. My deadbeat dad went to jail. And on Christmas morning I found my beloved pet parakeet dead on the bottom of his cage. My neighbors looked out their back window that day to see a sobbing 17-year-old in a pink bathrobe and SARS mask, saying a funeral for a dead bird in the middle of a blizzard."
"My mom really doesn't like the holidays. Most of the family members she's lost have passed in December.
Christmas 2010 was bad. When I say bad, I mean, the worst. I live across the country and had scored a good job right after Thanksgiving so I had to cut my trip home short. I was only back home for two days and was set to leave Christmas midday so I could work on the next day.
We woke up Christmas morning and my mom had clearly taken a bunch of prescription pills to deal with her life that day. I'd had it. She gave me trouble for drinking and smoking but here she is taking a myriad of painkillers. I called her out on it and the crap hit the fan.
We didn't speak for the rest of the day until my layover in O'Hare. I got into it on Facebook with my brother who made some snide remark about the drama, then my dad called from his business trip to yell at me for starting trouble, then my mom called and screamed at me. I was yelling and crying in the middle of the international concourse at O'Hare.
French people were staring at me, I was bawling, and I just wanted to get out of there. I'm already a white-knuckle flyer, and I noticed some lake effect snow moving in. We were the last plane out before they shut down. Our wheels spun on the icy runway as we barely got enough speed going to take off.
I was hyperventilating and the flight attendants proceeded to give too many drinks. The best part of that whole day was getting picked up by my roommate and proceeding to drink for the remainder of the night. Forget that Christmas."
"This happened about six years ago. I have one brother who has always been a jerk, even when we were kids.
I have five siblings, and we were all home for Christmas. We went to church late on Christmas Eve, then those of us from out of town went back to my parents' house to sleep. But oh no, not my awful brother - he went out with his awful buddies and got wasted that night.
The next morning, when everyone came back to our parents' house for breakfast, he was extremely hungover and being even more of a jerk than usual. Our family is very sarcastic, so I didn't think anything of it when I made a comment to him asking how he felt. The next thing I know he's yelling at me and trying to beat the snot out of me in front of everyone. Our dad had to jump between us so he wouldn't hurt me.
Obviously, I realized I made a huge mistake the moment the words came out of my mouth, but it was a little late. I ran back into the bedroom where my family was staying, still crying while my brother was yelling numerous profanities at me. Our dad told him to stop it, or he was going to throw him out into a snowbank. My family spent the rest of the day being angry at my brother for being a complete idiot and consoling me. I felt miserable of course.
After that incident, my brother and I didn't talk at all for close to a year. We still don't have that great of a relationship, but it is civil."
"Christmas Eve 2016, my boyfriend picks me up to go to his family's get together. I'm excited and decked out in a new sweater, and have a bottle of some nice French stuff to give to his mom. On the drive, he goes, 'Today might be a little sad. My uncle was hit by a car about an hour ago and has a lot of brain damage. He was flown to a hospital.' It was terrible and tragic, but I had hope that he would pull through and survive and we could still have a decent day. Then as we were about a minute from his house, he gets a call that his uncle didn't make it. Boyfriend stays strong, says 'okay,' and doesn't break down or anything and says he'll be home soon. He tells me he wants me to stay with him and support him and his family during this awful day. It was really, really hard and the whole family was upset. The man was a great guy. Turned out he was intentionally killed by a wasted guy who swerved to hit him.
As if that isn't bad enough, the next day is Christmas and I'm at home with my parents. My elderly grandmother (my mom's mom) is the only other family member we have, and she lives alone in her house about 10 minutes away from us and is fiercely independent. Sweetest and most selfless woman I've ever met. Mom makes a phone call to her to wish her a Merry Christmas. She doesn't answer, but my mom thinks, oh, maybe she slept in today. She tries to call again an hour later, and still no answer. As my parents are finishing up the cooking for our holiday meal, my dad calls grandma and says that if she doesn't answer, he'll drive down to see what's up. A third phone call, still no answer. I stay home with our dog while my parents go to check on my grandma. I call my boyfriend and he comes over to my house and I prepare for the worst and put away the uneaten food. About half an hour later, mom calls me and says they're in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. They found my grandma face down on the kitchen floor but still breathing. She had a broken hip from her fall and had suffered two heart attacks before passing away while in hospice a few days later.
Overall, a terrible Christmas. It made my boyfriend and I super close, given our shared tragedies and days of endlessly comforting each other. Christmas is a tough subject for both our families now. We're really not looking forward to the holidays this year."