February 16, 2023 | Eul Basa

Holiday Nightmares

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time filled with joy. However, while jingle bells are ringing and carolers are singing, some people are experiencing anything but Christmas cheer. Here are some stories from Redditors who describe some of their worst Christmases ever. These horror stories will make anyone reading rethink the hype of the holidays.

1. Suffering From Exhaust-ion

My grandparents were out doing some last-minute Christmas shopping and got hit by a transport in an intersection. My grandparents survived, surprisingly, but were in ICU. So, on Christmas morning, my family opened their presents and then rushed two hours to the city hospital my grandparents were at. We stayed in a hotel for the next three days until another family member came to relieve us—but that was just the start of our nightmare.

While at the hotel, we had a ground-level room that was absurdly hot, so the AC unit was on. Someone in a diesel truck backed up next to the AC and left his truck idling. His exhaust was sucked into the room while we were sleeping. My dad happened to wake up just as I had stopped breathing and saved me.

Holiday NightmaresPicryl

2. Mom Was The Real Life Saver

When I was very young, for Christmas, I got a package of LifeSavers in my stocking along with lots of other candy. I had a thing for mint back then, so I was munching on those in my room as I put away my new stuff. I got overzealous with a LifeSaver and swallowed it whole. It lodged completely in my throat, and I was breathing through the tiny hole in it, but barely.

I kept trying to swallow, but it was incredibly painful, and I couldn't yell. I remember not being able to get the door open for some reason, and it felt like the LifeSaver was twisting in my throat, cutting off my air supply. I couldn't cough or anything. My vision started dimming when suddenly my mother came into the room to see why I wasn't coming back downstairs.

Thinking like a ninja, she brought a fist down on my back without asking any questions, and the candy popped out of my throat and into my mouth. I lay on the ground gasping for air—but she wasn’t done yet. She snapped a picture, said she was glad I didn't lose my life, then went downstairs to tell the family that I almost bit it on a mint. Every year my mom gives me a pack of LifeSavers and tells me, “Try not to die this time”.

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3. Kelly’s Christmas Was Crushed

My older sister Kelly was an utter snob in high school. The year she was 16, and I was 13, she was giving my broke mom a hard time about never ever EVER getting a decent Xmas gift, how our mom's taste was terrible, etc. Kelly was the oldest of six kids in a poor family, but she just didn’t get it. Somehow my mom convinced herself that Kelly was right and she was going to make that year perfect for her.

So they went to a department store, and Kelly pointed out seven or so things that she wanted for Xmas; she said any of those seven things would make her happy. My mom went back and bought all seven to really surprise her and then let it slip that Kelly was going to be so happy because she was getting everything she wanted.

On Christmas Eve, Mom was wrapping all of the presents and realized that she only bought me one thing. She figured that six perfect gifts were still good and put my name on one of Kelly’s. On Christmas morning, Kelly unwrapped her presents, and I was on my second one. I unwrapped some board game, and Kelly just flipped out.

Since she had been expecting all of the presents, not getting one, and especially to be subjected to the horror of seeing someone else unwrap it, was just too much tragedy, and she threw a truly epic fit. I tried to give her her stupid board game; I didn't want it. But apparently, the damage was done.

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4. Creepy Crawly Christmas

When I was young, I lived in Iowa. Every year we would go out and cut down a tree to use as our Christmas tree. One year, we put our tree up, and a few days after, all these brown specks kept appearing on the ground. My mom continuously swept them away, but they would always reappear. That’s when we made a disturbing discovery. One of my mom's friends came over to our house and told her that the brown specks were baby spiders.

The tree we had cut down had a spider nest in it, but luckily the spiders wouldn’t survive after they hatched out of the eggs. We quickly got rid of the spider-infested tree and had our house cleaned. Ever since then, we have been using a fake Christmas tree.

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5. Not A Moment To Breathe

I spent the night with my boyfriend at his parents' house. I woke up around 2 AM and felt really, really sick. I was sick enough that I woke up my boyfriend and told him I wanted to go home, which was 30 minutes away. He got up to take me and immediately felt ill, too. His parents woke up at that point, and they, too, felt sick. It turned out that the wood stove vent had slipped and was filling the house with carbon monoxide. What a tragic Christmas morning that could have been.

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6. Home For The Holidays

When my parents were dating back in the early 1980s, my mom was driving to my dad’s house to spend Christmas with his family. That’s when catastrophe struck. An inebriated driver hit my mom about a mile away from my dad’s house. The driver T-boned her on the driver’s side door. She lived, but as a result of this crash, my mom has a large chunk of her left bicep missing, as if a shark took a big bite out of her.

She also ended up losing almost half of her blood from all the combined injuries of the crash, so she had many, many blood transfusions. This had disturbing consequences. 

Blood was not tested nearly as rigorously back then as it is today, and my mom was given a transfusion infected with Hepatitis C. My older brother nor I was born with it, and she made sure that they tested us for it like crazy. As a final result of this, my mom no longer travels on Christmas Eve. You either come to our house, or you don't see us.

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7. Ashes To Ashes

My father, who had a severe drinking problem for a long time, had finally lost his life to the stuff at the end of November, right before Thanksgiving. For an entire month, all of our Christmas money was put into a fund to pay for the cremation of his remains. If we did not come up with the $2,000, then his body would have been turned over to the county, and he would have been turned to ash with a dozen other unclaimed bodies.

We made the cut and got his cremation paid for. Our entire Christmas was spent paying for his ashes. At least he looked nice under the tree.

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8. Back On The Chain Gang

I was a sophomore in college and had the opportunity to get a ride most of the way home with my friend and her boyfriend. She was taking him home to meet her parents, so they were all lovey-dovey, and I was definitely the third wheel. The trip was from Utah to Washington, and my parents were going to meet us in Pendleton, OR, so I could go home and the other two could get up to Seattle.

The more treacherous parts of Idaho were scary. Those flat straight stretches had strong winds and patches of ice. But when we hit La Grande, the pass was closed. We were stuck parked at a gas station when I realized I had an aunt and uncle who lived in La Grande. I used a cell phone to call my dad to get their number.

They were already taking care of a bunch of college students stuck in town, but my uncle was the manager of the Walmart and held on to the last set of chains that would fit our car. Despite repeated efforts on the part of my aunt and myself, my friend and her boyfriend decided it was "best" to forge onward. We figured we had chains, so we would be fine.

When the pass opened, we drove up the mountain in our little sedan, and Mr. Boyfriend only stopped to put on chains after being passed by semi-trucks going 50 mph on packed snow. We realized later we had just driven through "Deadman's Pass". Meanwhile, none of us knew how to put the chains on. We all knew in theory, but it hadn't occurred to any of us to say it out loud until the moment arrived; we had no clue.

After about 45 minutes of trial and error and almost getting stuck in the snow, we had our chains on too loosely. Then, the genius boyfriend tried going 30 mph, which ended up digging holes into the wheel wells. We made it into Pendleton around 4 AM, and my parents had gotten a hotel room which they checked out of and drove me back home immediately.

It was a horrible trip, but I wish that had been the end of our problems. On the way back, we had no weather issues at all. It was smooth sailing until we hit the Utah state line. We were nearing the end of the 40-mile-no-stops-or-gas-stations stretch of road, and my friend was at the wheel. As we came around a bend in the highway, she let out a little yelp, and there was this huge BANG, followed by the sound of metal scraping on asphalt.

A chunk of concrete about as big as a printer was just lying in the middle of the lane. Due to the dark conditions—no moon, no highway lights—and the fact it was around a bend, it seemed to just appear. As we pulled off to the side of the road, we saw eight other vehicles lined up with hazards flashing away. Mr. Boyfriend went to talk to them and found that they all had popped a tire trying to avoid the concrete.

We, however, had ripped some of the undercarriage loose, and it was dragging on the ground.

We tried calling the state patrol, who said, "We know there's a problem, and we're sending someone out there". After waiting about 40 minutes, we decided to try driving on the shoulder, dragging our car through the gravel. It worked and got us three miles into bustling Snowville.

My friend's sister-in-law drove 30 minutes to pick us up from the gas station and we spent the night at her house. Mr. Boyfriend made plans with the tow company and freaked out because he couldn't call his dad, who was in China. He was sure he'd be in trouble because of the car. When I finally got into my apartment the next day and called my mom, she said, "You are never driving home during the winter ever again. We will fly you here, or you can stay at school".

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9. Go For Broke

My brother was doing some tricks on his rollerblade, which was his Christmas present, and he figured out how to grind. He told me to watch him do it, but I got distracted by something. That caused me to miss the stunt.

My brother tried to show me again and broke his arm. We spent the rest of the day plus one more in the hospital. My family blamed it on me.

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10. Merry Mono Christmas

In early December, I had a pretty bad case of mono. I got it from my ex-girlfriend, who thought it was okay to kiss me when she had just had it, and I didn't even know. I had to take all kinds of meds to get better. Apparently, my body didn't take so kindly to at least one of them and developed some kind of rash. It was on my arms first, then on my legs—and then it got worse.

Then it spread to my chest, my behind, my schlong, and just everywhere. It was on the palms of my hands, the soles of my feet, my eyelids, and my lips. It was red, and it got denser every day to the point there were only little white spots left in a sea of red. I was at least 95% covered in a red rash by the time it was Christmas—and it hurt bad.

When I stood straight, my feet hurt. When I sat down, my rear hurt. When I lay down, everything hurt. No one wanted to visit me because they thought I had a weird contagious disease. Mono is only contagious via saliva, and the rash was from the meds. It was the loneliest of holidays ever. It also messed up my exam period pretty badly.

When the rash was gone, my friends came over, and they all brought booze, but I couldn't drink for another couple of weeks due to the whole mono and rash thing. Not only that, but the mono was contagious for another six months, so I couldn't kiss anyone without the risk of making 'em sick.

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11. Holiday Heartache

My grandmother died at about 2 AM on Christmas morning. She had been In the hospital for about three months with a broken hip and was in and out of surgery; it was her time. My mother was there when she passed, and she went as peacefully as we could have hoped. My mom got home at about 3 AM, and I heard her come in. I gave her a big hug as she was bawling.

The rest of my family was asleep and had no idea. We both went to bed. I woke up early the next morning, and my little brother, who was 9–10, was downstairs, giddy as ever because it was Christmas morning, and he had no idea what had happened. When my mother eventually got up, he was even more excited because that meant it was present-opening time.

My mother had to sit my little brother down and tell him that grandma had passed last night. To see his face go from an ecstatic, happy, giddy, not-a-care-in-the-world-Christmas-morning-joy of a little kid to just an utterly devastated and sad person was the saddest thing I have ever witnessed. It still makes me tear up.

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12. In A Jam

When I was 15, my family and I were traveling several hundred miles to visit relatives over the holidays. About halfway there, I managed to somehow get my elbow jammed into this cubby-type compartment where the passenger-side airbag would be in today's cars. I had lodged it in there so well that we had to go to the nearest emergency room, where the terrified nurse had to lube up my arm in order to get it out.

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13. The Dog Did It

We went out to eat dinner a few days before Christmas and returned home after our meal. I opened the outer door and saw a small pool of water in the entryway. I thought that was a bit odd, but it could have been some melted snow, so I didn't think too much of it. I started to open the inner door, and that's when I heard an odd noise. 

I stepped in and saw water running down the walls, and the floor was covered in about a half inch of water. I ran/waded through the house, trying to find the source. We eventually found that it was the upstairs bathroom and shut the pipe off. Our dachshund decided to try to get into the trash and tipped the trash can. It fell perfectly, severing the input hose to the toilet.

We figured it was spraying water for around a half hour before we got home. Surprisingly there wasn't too much damage as the water mainly went through to the linoleum parts of the house, but it wasn't very fun having to clean half the house days before Christmas.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, Chris Kelly

14. Relax, It’s All Under Control

I had horrible cramps one Christmas Eve and was unable to move or get out of bed. So, to avoid my having to miss our Christmas, my mother gave me a couple of her muscle relaxers— her really strong muscle relaxers. I tried to help carry in presents but ended up falling in the snow, where I proceeded to roll around like an idiot and smash the presents I was carrying.

Then I got inside and enjoyed a few glasses of vino and made sure I talked to every single relative I could about everything and anything inappropriate. Finally, my uncle was able to figure out what was wrong with me and made sure my crazy talk was contained. I was babysat for the remainder of the night.

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15. Go With The Flow

When I was about 8 or so, my mom brought home the Christmas tree, left me with my sister, and said, "Honey, I'm going to get the decorations, be nice to your sister". So I went to the bathroom. That’s when I came up with what I thought was a fantastic plan. 

I found a box of these white things on the toilet. Not knowing what they were, I assumed the strings on the end were for decorating a tree. I took every tampon from the box and decorated the tree. Needless to say, Mom came home and was shocked.

Holiday NightmaresFreepik, cookie_studio

16. Holiday Heist

Our house was broken into and looted while we were out. Everything, including presents, furniture, TVs, jewelry, and family memories, were taken. We went without any place to sit, any presents, or a tree. I was only 10 at the time, so it was pretty distressing. I hated Christmas for a while after that.

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17. Left Gutted For Christmas

One Christmas Eve when I was really young, my dad went out of town for business, so it was just my mom, my brother and sister, and me at home. I was playing with a half-dollar my uncle got for me that year, and my mom went to change my diaper. She lifted my legs up, and the coin slipped out of my hands and made a beeline for my mouth. I tried to swallow it, and it got stuck.

My brother who was about 7 or 8 at the time, was on the phone with emergency services while my mom did the Heimlich on me. Luckily, out came the coin, along with most of my dinner. With that crisis over, my mom put us to bed. But the nightmare wasn’t over yet. 

Shortly after, she went to bed herself. She then woke up hearing what sounded like thunder. She saw nothing out her window, so she went back to sleep. About an hour later, she woke up only to see and hear fire ripping through the window above her bed. At that point, no smoke alarms had gone off. She rushed and woke us kids up, gathered me up in an afghan, and ran for the door. We lived in the back half of a duplex, so she made sure to get the other residents out as well.

We ran down the street to a friend's house. We got to the friend's house and called for help. While we huddled there my mom waited for the firefighters to come. They asked for her keys so they could move her car away from the house, which was now fully on fire. She told them that the dog was left in the kitchen, and fortunately, they were able to get him out.

The fire was put out, but the house was gutted. We were left with the clothes on our backs, the bears the firemen gave us on an early Saturday morning, and almost no cash since banks were not open on the weekends back then. My dad got back, and my siblings went to school that Monday. I went to my babysitter's. When my mom came to pick me up, my sitter handed her an envelope that said, "Merry Christmas". Inside were ten brand new $100 bills. That gave us enough to get a hotel and everything we needed until we could get to the bank and sort everything out.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, Los Angeles Fire Department

18. I Took A Bite Out Of Christmas

When I was 9 years old, I ran into my mom and dad's room excited to open presents on Christmas. Unfortunately, as I was running in, I tripped over a rug and smashed my teeth against my parents’ bedpost. There was blood everywhere. I lost one tooth and fractured my adult incisor. I had to wait six hours in the hospital for a specialist to arrive. I didn't get to open any of my presents, and had to drink my Christmas dinner through a straw! We still have the bedpost, with three clear distinct teeth marks in it.

Holiday NightmaresPicryl

19. He Got His Rocks Off

When I was younger, my family had a tradition of putting all of our Christmas gifts under the tree at the beginning of December. One Christmas, my brother placed a rather small gift box under the tree with my name on it. I waited all of December to open this thing thinking that it had to be something amazing. I even shook it a few times and heard something knocking around in there, and assumed it was something small and valuable.

When Christmas Day rolled around, I ran to that gift first. I ripped open the gift wrap, pulled off the lid, and it was full of rocks. I've never seen my brother laugh as hard as he did at that particular moment. My parents were so mad at him that he ended up going out and buying me a huge bag of candy to make up for it.

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20. A Nightmare For Christmas

When I was 7, my dad got me the board game The Nightmare Before Christmas as my big finale gift. My dad, who typically only gifted things he would want, was extremely excited for this present to be opened so that we could play it. I had never seen or heard of this game before, and the look of the game scared me. I told him I did not want to play.

He became extremely upset at this, mostly because he spent a lot on the game and demanded I play. That’s when things got so much worse. He popped the VCR in to show us how awesome it was, and the first lightning bolt sent me running to the bathroom, terrified. I spent the whole Christmas in the bathroom room crying because I did not want to play this stupid game, and my dad taunted me and made fun of me, yelling through the door.

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21. Soup’s On!

Years ago, my family was sitting down to Christmas dinner. My 85-year-old grandma was in the early stages of senility and insisted that she needed to sit in the seat that I normally sit in. Not wanting to cause a scene at Christmas dinner, I moved down to a chair next to my sister. While we were eating some soup, my sister, who saw the entire exchange with my grandmother, leaned over to me and jokingly said, "I never get to sit next to you, this is so nice".

The way she said it struck me as hilarious. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a bite of soup. I had two choices—try and swallow or give the family a shower. I opted for choice number one. I didn’t know that you can get intense pain in your chest from swallowing wrong. The pain was so bad things started to go dark. The next thing I knew, I heard panicked voices around me and came to with my face in a bowl of soup.

My mom was trying to give me the Heimlich, my wife was crying, my sister was yelling if she should call an ambulance, and everyone else sat in a daze and watched. Everyone, that is, except for my grandma, who kept eating her soup, oblivious to the proceedings.

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22. Sister Scrooge

After a few all nighters and a week of finals, I came home to work at my retail job. I worked a few more all nighters, then came down with a BAD flu on Christmas Eve. I spent the next 24 hours throwing up in the shower and lying in bed and on the floor—but that wasn’t the worst part. 

At the same time, my mean older sister complained about how I didn't deserve a nice dinner, presents, etc. She picked arguments with me all day, while I couldn't even swallow food or walk.

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23. No More Night Driving

I had flown home from California on leave and had spent the two days before Christmas baking like crazy for my family. On Christmas Eve, I headed out to pick up an online buddy who was a Japanese student studying music recording here in Alabama. I picked him up as planned, and we were headed back on this four-lane road out in the middle of nowhere with no median.

The next thing I knew, I was in an ambulance. I was hit head-on by an inebriated driver going 85 mph who died at the scene. I was lucky in that I was alive, but I had broken my hip and elbow in a really terrible way, broke eight ribs, had a punctured and collapsed lung, destroyed the top of my knee, and had a severe tongue injury, so I couldn’t eat for a month.

I spent two weeks in the hospital and a week in rehabilitation. It took me five months to be well enough to go back to California. I really don't remember much from that Christmas, and I still hate driving after dark during that time of year.

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24. Cut Loose On Christmas

We were housing my aunt and her boyfriend since she had come out of prison. She was pretty unstable. My aunt and her boyfriend had an argument, and he left. Something else happened, and she erupted at my mom, saying she was going to hurt her while we slept. My dad had to grab every piece of cutlery and hide it in their room, even the spoons. The authorities were called. My aunt begged not to leave, but my mom had it.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, Timothy Krause

25. Yuletide Tragedy

A couple of years ago, my mom's fiance was coming over for Christmas Eve by car. It was snowy, and we had heard about an accident on TV but didn't think about it. They never showed up. Later, we learned the chilling truth. We got a phone call two hours afterward with the news.

His son and daughter, who were 26 and 18, were in the car as well, and his son was driving. They got hit by an old couple who were on the wrong side of the road. The daughter and father didn’t make it, but the son survived. That was a pretty tough Christmas.

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26. Midnight Miracles

When I was 4, after we had all gone to bed on Christmas Eve, my one-month-old sister began having issues breathing and had to go to the hospital. My parents rushed there, but they had not wrapped any of the presents yet. So, my aunt and uncle came over and wrapped all of the gifts in the middle of the night. By morning, my sister was stable enough that my dad came over to help us unwrap presents while my mom stayed at the hospital.

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27. A Near Miss

It was Christmas Eve, and I was going 50 mph on a curvy road. A sloshed driver came around the bend going 50 mph but in my lane. I somehow managed to swerve onto the shoulder, which was just barely wide enough for my car. I barely missed that jerk, fitting exactly between the guard rail and his SUV. I came home and told my mother that I just barely avoided biting it. We hugged it out and cried a little, as I was extremely shaken by it. Thankfully, that's the worst thing that's ever happened on Christmas.

Holiday NightmaresFreepik, valuavitaly

28. Big Brother To The Rescue

When I was around 10, my mom decided to do her monthly binge later than usual, which left her MIA four days before Christmas. At that point, I had already known what was up with Santa and tried to calm my younger brothers down. I told them I was sure that she wasn’t going to miss Christmas. Two days before Christmas, she was still gone—and I had one big problem to face. I couldn't find where she hid the Christmas presents.

I figured she didn't get any, and I scraped all the money I had so that I could get my brothers a few things at the dollar store. The night before Christmas, my mom DID show up, got the presents out, and immediately passed out on the couch. When my brothers woke up the next night, they saw mom "sleeping" and their presents under the tree.

They soon noticed that I wasn't opening anything. My second youngest brother asked, "Where are your presents”? I told them, "Well, I guess I was too bad this year to get any". He replied, "Maybe you'll get double presents this year for your birthday", which was the same day. It didn't happen.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, VFW National Home

29. That M&Ms Feeling

When I was around 10, my grandmother came over to our house for a couple of months to help out my parents. My brother, who was seven at the time, and I had to share the couch in the living room. It was around Christmas Eve, and since we were young, we didn't get to stay up. My grandma had bought us some Christmas M&M's, so he and I started telling each other stupid jokes and laughing.

We were both lying down, eating the M&M’s, and laughing. One lodged up my throat, and I couldn't breathe. My brother, thinking it was a joke, just laughed some more. When I started turning purple he yelled, "DAD, MOM”!!! My dad came and did the Heimlich on me and out popped the M&M. I then got a 15-minute lecture on my stupid actions.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, Victor

30. To The Land Of Ice And Snow

I had come back to the States from Iraq. I was in Georgia for a couple of weeks before going home to Iowa for Christmas. I landed at the Moline airport in the afternoon. The temperature was in the 20s or so. It was quite a contrast from Iraq, obviously. There was a thick layer of snow in Iowa as my mom drove us home. Then, a funny thing happened.

The air started to heat up—by a lot. It went up to above 40℉ by 8 PM. Then to 50℉ by 10 PM. By midnight, it hit 60℉. Obviously, the snow melted almost completely. Then things took a turn. The temperature dropped back down to where it was when I landed. The entire eastern half of the state decided it wanted a coat of ice instead of snow.

Then, it started to sleet which added to the ice from the melted snow, and then it snowed. I swore I'd never fly to Iowa ever again anywhere near Christmas time.

Holiday NightmaresPexels

31. Christmas Was In The Bag

When I was young, my nuclear family moved to Georgia while my extended family still lived in Nebraska. So, we would load up the family vehicle and drive 17 miserable hours filled with “holiday cheer”. One year, we were driving in a Jeep with three kids and two adults shoved into it and the luggage strapped on top. My siblings and my non-driving parent had all fallen asleep, but I managed to stay awake and watch the scenery.

I soon noticed it started raining luggage. I thought it was odd but must have justified it as Santa dropping presents or something like that. The family kept driving until we needed gas and my parents caught on that the luggage was gone. For some reason, they decided to drive back, asking at all the rest stops if anyone had seen the missing luggage.

Eventually, early Christmas Eve morning, a trucker took us to the luggage on the side of the road. It was situated on a frozen ice puddle in an embankment. We strapped it on, and when we finally arrived in Nebraska at eight or so in the morning. My parents spent the next few hours drying it off.

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32. The Gift That Kept On Giving

One Christmas, we had what we now refer to as the "pooping flu". It was 36 hours of vomiting and diarrhea. Our 1-year-old was the first to get it, which was the night after our company holiday party, so we were exhausted when it all started. After the little one recovered, my wife got it. She had such a gray complexion we were thinking of bringing her to the hospital, so we called my parents so they could watch the baby while I tended to my wife.

I was actually throwing up in the bathroom when they showed up an hour later, which was pretty good timing. At that point, my wife was able to keep food down. But the ordeal wasn’t over yet. After that, both my parents got it, and so did my wife's friend, who ended up infecting the entire pew at church. My mother-in-law spent all of Christmas either on our couch or in the bathroom.

My sister-in-law and her boyfriend, who just moved in together, got it too. She was in the only bathroom in their new apartment when he puked in the garbage can while simultaneously pooping his pants.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, Shane Adams

33. A Holiday Horror Movie Classic

One time, my brother, dad, and I went to the grocery store on Christmas Eve to get a turkey for the next day. We rode in my dad's Lexus that he had bought just weeks before. As we were driving home, a deer leaped from the ditch and landed smack in the middle of the windshield. Since the windshield took all of the force from hitting the deer, parts of it, like the antler and a leg, broke through and were now stuck in the windshield.

No one was hurt, but we were faced with a thrashing wild animal that was freaking out and slicing itself open every time it moved. Since there was nothing we could really do, we sat and waited for it to stop moving. Eventually, it did, and my brother and dad dislodged it from the window. Inside the car, every single surface, nook, and cranny on the dash was painted with a dark layer of blood —it was everywhere. All of us were covered in it too. It looked like a horror scene from a movie, and my mom was not impressed.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, Images by John

34. The Dog Ate Our Dinner

My mom chased our happy dog around the garden for ten minutes after he nabbed the turkey from the kitchen bench. We watched from the window and saw her finally out-fox the dog and get most of it back from him. I’ll never forget what she did next. She came inside and put it under the tap. Dad and I just said no way. We had stuffing, veggies, and puddings, and our meat was chipolata sausages. The dog got the turkey in the end.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, geckoam

35. One Last Time Together

Christmas 2001 was the last time I saw my mom. I was 16 and had a 3-month-old baby. She was on edge the whole morning and looked awful. We opened gifts with my younger siblings, grandma, and her ex-husband. It was awkward since my mom was tired and not into it. She went to bed on the upstairs couch directly after. I left to go see my dad’s side of the family, and that was the last time I saw her in person.

She called me a few days later on New Year’s Eve and gave me this really out-of-character pep talk about how I needed to start standing my ground and be a strong person. I didn't think much of it and went on with my New Year’s Eve plans, which was sitting at home nursing a baby. The next day she, unfortunately, took her own life.

When I went to the house after I got the call, I walked in, and the Christmas tree and decorations were still up. The gift wrapping was still on the floor, and the turkey carcass was still left on the counter, as well as all of our dirty dishes. Her body was upstairs on the couch, which was the last place I saw her.

Holiday NightmaresPexels

36. Season Of Sadness

It was mid-December and I was 8 years old. I was drowsy from having the family's favorite dinner of homemade chicken chalupas. I passed out excited for the next day of school because it was another day closer to Christmas! I dozed off peacefully, dreaming of all the Pokémon cards and memorabilia I was going to get in less than two weeks.

I was asleep for about two hours when I was suddenly woken up. A firefighter was in my room and it was illuminated by red and white flashing lights. I panicked and thought our apartment was on fire. He picked me up out of bed, threw me over his shoulder as I clung to my precious bear-bear, and kept telling me everything was going to be OK.

Outside, our apartment was crawling with uniformed officers, firefighters, and what I now know as special investigators, being that my dad was in the service. I was led to my neighbors’ apartment, who happened to be my best friend. He greeted me with enthusiasm, and we went off to play some Super Smash Bros on his N64. Staying up late playing video games on a school night? I was down.

We played for an hour or so, then his mom popped in and grabbed my friend and told me that my mom had to talk to me. He was led out of the room and the light was turned off. I sat on the bottom bunk of a room that was only illuminated by moonlight through the window. I remember it being a cold, clear Arizona night. My mom came in, quietly and somberly.

That’s when I learned the devastating truth. She sat next to me; her eyes were puffy, and her nose red. She said, "Daddy's gone". I didn’t say a thing. I didn’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, but he ate dinner and watched TV with us. His usual custom after dinner was a stogie and a glass of vino on the back porch.

I had hugged him goodnight, and he told me we would go rollerblading the next day, but now he was gone? My mother said, "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—it was my dad’s blood. He died that night of a self-inflicted gunshot wound behind his right ear. We had just decorated the Christmas tree that night. I have not celebrated since then until this year.

Holiday NightmaresFreepik, Drazen Zigic

37. Christmas Was A Smash

My father's wife had left him in November. I hated her, so it was no skin off my back, but my dad and younger brother loved her beyond reason. They were devastated, but we set up a tree anyway the day after Thanksgiving. We got out the ornaments and tried to overcome the somber mood. My dad took out the first ornament and threw it at the wall.

It was one of those colored glass balls, and it shattered. My brother and I froze and watched as he threw the ornaments one by one—glass ones, homemade ones, all of them. He walked over to the couch, sat down, and threw the rest while crying. We left the room. Not a word was said. He would not let us clean it up, and it stayed that way until sometime in January when he quietly cleaned it up while we were at our grandparent's house. I've pretty much hated Xmas since then.

Holiday NightmaresPexels

38. A Half-Baked Idea

I really wanted a Nintendo as a kid, and so did all my friends. The whole time running up to Christmas, that’s all I could talk about and how I was going to beat select levels and so forth. I had no idea what kind of levels there were, but I was already planning my quest in my head. In the middle of the night, I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to scope out the Christmas tree.

Behind the couch, I found this big box covered with a trash bag. In my head, I was thinking, “This is it. I finally get to play Nintendo”. Five hours later, my family was all around the Christmas tree, and we had already opened all our gifts. My mom and dad always saved one big gift towards the end. My dad came around the corner and had this cool-looking bike for my brother.

During that time, all I could hear in my head was “Nintendo, come on Nintendo OMG”! My mom left and said, “Here you go. I hope you like it”. It was the big box I saw earlier. I quickly ripped open the packaging and trash bag that was covering the box, hoping to see that lovely Mario face, only to make a disturbing discovery. The box had the color pink everywhere. In my head I was like “What is this”?

I finally got rid of the packing to see an Easy Bake Oven. I just remember doing the “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” and the horror on my face. They still get a laugh of it, but at the time it was devastating. I guess my mom wanted to teach me how to cook and thought this would be a great gift. The worst part about the whole ordeal was for the next three months all I could do was hear all my friends talk about the levels and games they were playing on their Nintendos.

Holiday NightmaresPexels

39. Oy, Vey!

As a child, my grandfather’s mother and her family escaped Hungary during the pogroms and came to Philadelphia. Then my great-great-grandfather married my great-grandmother's BEST FRIEND, who was 15 at the time. Horrified at the thought of calling her best friend mom, their daughter (my grandfather’s mother) ran away to New York and changed her last name from Friedkin to Fredericks.

Being a 14-year-old girl alone, she felt being Jewish was too dangerous. She eventually married a man who was Anglican. But, she wanted to raise her kids as Americans, and to her, the most American religion she could think of was Baptist. So the kids were raised as Baptists. She made one huge error, however, she named her daughter Sadie.

When Sadie was around 14, she decided her name was "too Jewy", so she changed her name to Sarah and swore her brother, my grandfather, to secrecy. Years later, after Sadie/Sarah passed, my grandfather, who had a very dry sense of humor, decided to break the news to us at Christmas that we were actually Jewish.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, OakleyOriginals

40. I Was A Mega Blokhead

Christmas came, and I had asked for a City LEGO set, but instead, Santa delivered a space Mega Bloks set. I hated Mega Bloks, and I completely hated space stuff. I wish that my tale ended there, but unfortunately, there was more disappointment on the agenda. I tried to open the box, but the packaging was shoddy and every time I tried to peel the tape off, it splintered.

After becoming frustrated, I acquired a steak knife from the kitchen to cut the tape. Being an 8-year-old who at the time was lacking some coordination and common sense, I started to cut the tape with the blade facing up. As it started cutting, it was building up tension. The blade broke free and found a path straight into my left eye.

To add more pain to the situation, my parents didn't believe me because there was no blood.

Finally, my old man took a look and just said, "Something’s not right", and drove us all to the ER. There I was, an 8-year-old who jabbed himself in the eye while trying to open a Mega Bloks space set.

Holiday NightmaresPexels

41. Ice, Ice, Baby

Years ago, I decided to drive home for Christmas from Ohio to Kansas with my two dogs. Along the way, I stopped for a snack and, trying to get out of my car, cracked my nose on the car door after slipping on black ice. We ended up sitting on the highway for five hours due to black ice shutting the road down. I decided to get off on a county highway and take a detour down to another highway.

About 15 minutes into the detour, I was following a car going around a bend when they suddenly turned around. When I got up there, I saw why. We were at the top of a hill that was covered in black ice, and there were about ten different cars scattered on both sides of the hill and ditch. I couldn't stop. An hour later, I made it up to the other side. A younger guy and I decided to team up to go the other 20 miles through the country since we couldn't turn back.

There were tow trucks in ditches, and we were going to be stuck sleeping in our cars overnight in the country. My tank was also on empty. The dogs were so shocked they were silent. We took the front license plates off and used them along with our bare hands to shovel the gravel/ice mix and throw it on the road for traction. We used our phones for flashlights, in the freezing rain.

Four hours later, we made it to the highway and said goodbye. Once I got to a clean highway, I had to keep driving without any rest, or I would miss Christmas, which turned out to be my grandpa's last. Once I got to my parents, we had to immediately get in the car to drive another two hours to get to my grandparents, only to leave three hours later. In total, I spent 36 hours driving that weekend, and I had a cracked nose, but I made it!

Holiday NightmaresFreepik, wayhomestudio

42. A Time To Remember

My father died from a massive and unexpected heart attack three days after Christmas. I spent 15 minutes performing CPR before paramedics arrived and pronounced him gone. It was my worst Christmas—and it still affects me to this day. This year, I tried doing everything I could to make it perfect for my two small children, but trying to control my emotions while doing all the Christmas lights that my dad always helped with, and remembering that year was giving me nightmares. It sucks because I love Christmas, but this one was going to be rough for me.

Holiday NightmaresPexels

43. A Croupy Christmas

Five days before Christmas, I started feeling a sore throat coming on. I didn't think too much about it because I used to get strep very often before I had my tonsils removed. It continuously got worse, and I began losing my voice, yet I still thought nothing of it. On Christmas morning, I got up, barely able to breathe. I couldn't eat or drink anything because of the severe pain in my throat.

By that time, my parents told me, "You're going to the hospital", so we did. It turned out I had the croup virus, and my airway was closing in on me. They gave me a breathing treatment to no avail. It wasn't until steroids were added that it began to do the trick. So, there I sat in a hospital bed, breathing through a steamy tube on Christmas morning. The doctor said I wouldn't have woken up the next morning if I hadn't gotten the treatment. It’s scary to think my own ignorance almost did me in.

Holiday NightmaresWikimedia Commons, Flickr: Inauguración de nuevo edificio del Hospital Luis Calvo Mackenna

44. Off To Grandma’s House We Go

For Christmas, I received a Sega Genesis. I had only played it for about half of an hour before we had to start getting ready to go to Grandma’s house. There is not one 10-year-old kid who would rather go to Grandma’s, instead of playing a brand-new video game console. We went to her house all day. Time slowly ticked by, but eventually, it was time to go.

By the time we left, the snow was coming down pretty hard. We lived about 20 mins away, so I would be back to the Genesis in no time. We were about halfway home when my dad started having trouble driving. We had just moved to the area and did not have the skills or equipment to drive in the snow. We got stuck at the bottom of a hill.

We had to walk almost a mile to a person's house who we barely knew. They let us stay there that night, but I could not sleep. I could not get my mind off of my Sega Genesis which was just sitting there, not being played. It was awful.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, Dru Kelly

45. He Put The “X” In Xmas

My mother died in late August of 2006. That Christmas, I knew that everyone would have a hard time as Xmas was mom's favorite holiday. So, I bought everyone racy adult items and wrapped them in boxes of all shapes and sizes. Once Christmas morning came around, everyone found gifts filled with "Black Tail" and "Barely Legal".

It was weird at the time, but now everyone refers to it as "the time Ryan bought everyone naughty movies", which was what I was hoping for.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, Alan Cleaver

46. What In The Ham Happened?

It was Christmas morning, and I was around six years old, while my older sister and brother were 16 and 14. For the next three hours, while we were making cookies, we were in charge of watching the oven with the ham in it to make sure there wouldn't be a fire because our parents had to go pick up a few things. Being young and having my first session baking, I made a gigantic mess.

My older sister had to sit me on the bathroom counter and clean me up because I had cookie dough all over my face and in my hair. My older brother had to finish the baking on his own. After I got cleaned up, my sister and brother went to play Final Fantasy 7 on the PlayStation while I sat on the couch and watched. I smelled a strong scent of cinnamon and nutmeg and fell asleep. Big mistake. 

I don't know how long I was asleep, but I woke up to fire alarms, my siblings yelling at each other, and scrambling to figure out how to use the fire extinguisher. I jumped off the couch, grabbed my pail, and tried to fill it up with water from the bathroom, but I couldn't reach it. After a loud hissing noise, my sister grabbed me and ran outside of the house.

I asked her what was happening, and my brother just said that we were in trouble. I started crying. It wasn't long after that our parents got home, and the entire mess was discovered. I was happy that I didn't get punished and that the house didn't burn down.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, State Farm

47. Touched By An Angel

One Christmas, my brother, sister and I were enjoying opening presents on Christmas morning. Mom was watching on the couch while Dad was filming it. We had a wood-burning stove in the center of our living room to keep us warm. It was quite hot, and there was nothing resembling a fence or gate or any sort of protection from touching it.

Everything was so cozy—but that’s when disaster struck. My little sister had been walking for a bit, but still had to grab onto objects for support. As we were opening presents, there was suddenly a scream as my sister placed her hands on the stove for support. I still remember the large blisters on the palms of her hands as they were healing.

Holiday NightmaresPexels

48. He Got His Rocks Off

When I was younger, my family had a tradition of putting all of our Christmas gifts under the tree at the beginning of December. One Christmas, my brother placed a rather small gift box under the tree with my name on it. I waited all of December to open this thing thinking that it had to be something amazing. I even shook it a few times and heard something knocking around in there, and assumed it was something small and valuable.

When Christmas Day rolled around, I ran to that gift first. I ripped open the gift wrap, pulled off the lid, and it was full of rocks. I've never seen my brother laugh as hard as he did at that particular moment. My parents were so mad at him that he ended up going out and buying me a huge bag of candy to make up for it.

Holiday NightmaresPexels

49. Time Was Ticking

My grandma had gotten married on Thanksgiving a few years prior, so my entire family took a trip out to Arizona to celebrate. Part of the celebration was a family horse ride. My horse had a tick that burrowed into my jeans and eventually into my leg. On the evening of December 23, I had a "cardiac event" and smashed my head on a painting and the wall and spent the night in the ER full of needles.

It turned out the tick gave me Lyme disease, but no one even considered that since there were no ticks where I lived during the winter.

Holiday NightmaresFlickr, John Tann

50. A Holiday Escape Plan

On Christmas Eve, my husband got extremely sloshed and was crying and yelling in the basement. I was sitting on the couch upstairs watching Christmas movies with my kids, trying to distract them from the sad sounds coming from below. Our marriage was basically over because of his drinking. I was trying to leave him but had kids, no money, and my family was across the country.

Suddenly, we heard a large crash. He had fallen down the stairs and hit his head. I helped him up two flights of stairs to our room while the kids sat and watched their mom deal with their trashed dad again. The next morning, he woke up early, still tipsy, and started picking arguments with me. That was when I realized what a jerk he really was because he picked up the phone and called emergency services, saying I threw a shoe at him.

Meanwhile, he was banged up from falling down the stairs. I freaked out, afraid of what would happen because I hadn't thrown anything at him. The authorities came and realized he was still inebriated. They talked to the kids and could see I hadn't done anything. The reason he gave for calling them and lying was that I had called the authorities on him one night when he was scaring me, so it was payback.

They didn't make him get out, and I held it together for my kids so they could have a nice Christmas while planning how I was going to finally leave. I left within a few months back to my family and friends who loved me.

Holiday NightmaresPexels

Sources: Reddit,


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