January 29, 2023 | Eul Basa

People Share Their Weirdest Holiday Traditions


Ah, the holidays. This time of year can bring out the very best, the very worst, and mostly the absolute weirdest out of people no matter how they choose to celebrate. Those who let the holiday spirit grab them often let their freak flag fly higher than it has all year, and their traditions are usually a little more elaborate and out there than just placing a star atop a tree or wearing a terrible knitted sweater to dinner.

Not everyone is down with all the festive nonsense that the holiday season brings with it. But then there are those who really, really are, and they often go all out with their annual traditions in the most weird, wonderful, and heartwarming ways. These jolly Redditors can attest to that.


48. Hail Santa

While I was growing up, my dad and I would hide a potato wedge somewhere on the Christmas tree every year to see how long it would take for my mother to notice. Our record was like nine days.

Also, this isn't really a tradition, but my mother has these wooden letters that spell out "SANTA" that she puts out on display during the Christmas season, and I have been rearranging them to say "SATAN" for as long as I can remember. She gets pissed off and changes them back whenever she notices, but I just keep doing it.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsShutterstock

47. Fruity Fun

My family has an orange smashing contest at Christmas Eve dinner. Not the chocolate oranges like normal people, but real oranges. Everyone at the table gets one, and gets one hit to do as much damage as they can. My grandma is the judge, and the winner gets to open their present first the next morning.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsShutterstock

46. Rappin’ Around The Christmas Tree

We have a present wrapping competition most years, where we select one gift and try to wrap it extra fancy. Last year it was themed "any time or place." Some submissions were themed Jurassic Era, Seattle, the garbage bin, and the bathroom.

The best submission ever was my brother and his girlfriend on the very first wrapping comp where they conveniently misheard and submitted a Christmas rap. They wrote and recorded a Christmas rap about the family and it even had backing music.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsWikipedia

45. Nutty For Narnia

My mum and dad turn their bedroom into Narnia. You open their door to be met with fur coats and a load of fake snow chucked at you by one of my cousins. An overworked smoke machine has filled the room with its magical mist, so the only thing you can see is a half-sized street lamp glowing in the corner. As the smoke clears you see Mr. Tumnus (my dad) who greets you with some (recorded) flute music. After this, the white witch (my mum) invites you onto her sleigh (her bed), and offers you some Turkish Delight. That's when things get really weird. When all of the siblings are on the bed, the sleigh-ride begins (they've set up a projector which shows a first-person view of a mountain ride), while they and my cousins (who are dressed as animals) run up and down the sides of the bed throwing fake snow at you and holding bits of tree to make it look, in my mother's words, "more realistic." Then we all get drunk and open our presents.

I should point out that this tradition is only three years old, and it's gotten more elaborate every year. I should also point out that the youngest of the children in my family is 25. Also, we have Christmas on the 27th so everyone can go to their partners’ families on the 25th.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsShutterstock

44. Santa’s Nightcap

Leaving rum for Santa, since "it's a rough night for him."

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsPxhere

43. Armed and Dangerous

On Christmas Eve, after all the wrapping paper was off, my whole extended family would have a wrapping paper-ball fight. It usually would last until one of my aunts would get hit in the face and become grumpy. Then sometimes my Grandma would laugh and throw another ball at that aunt.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsShutterstock

42. Do It For Mom

Even though my siblings and I are all moved out of the house, when we get to my mother's house on Christmas Day she makes us wait at the top of the stairs so she can get a picture of us running downstairs to our pile of presents under the tree. We are all in our twenties.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsMarines

41. Where Does It End?

We try to disguise our presents in different sized boxes, and try to make it as ridiculous and hilarious to open as is possible.

My favorite example was two years ago, what my brothers present to me was (at first) a box that was roughly the size of a printer. Then it was several boxes within a box (all boxes were wrapped of course), and then in the very last box was a deodorant stick. Then I had to unscrew the deodorant all the way until it popped out, and underneath that was a plastic bag that contained a gift card.

Yeah, we waste a lot of wrapping paper, but it's hilarious seeing all of us get frustrated trying to figure out what the present is.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

40. God Bless The '90s

When I was born my mom had been on this show called Supermarket Sweep (bad Canadian game show), however, no one knew about this until one year my older brother spends six months taping reruns of the show trying to find it. He found it and then showed me. Since this was the early 90s you can bet my mom was in a matching purple sweat pantsuit with permed hair. Anyway, he found the tape and decided it would be perfect to surprise my mom with at our big family dinner on Christmas. It was hilarious and we now bring it out every Christmas because we can and it never gets old watching my mom answer questions about groceries.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsAir Force Medical Service

39. Band of Brothers Binge

Me and my brother used to watch Band of Brothers, all ten hours, on Christmas Eve. It's weird when the Battle of Bastogne reminds you of Holly Jolly Christmas cheers.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

38. Obligatory Dad Joke

We all have to hear the lamest joke my dad has heard in the past year before we can open presents.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsShutterstock

37. Meet Me in the Middle

We call each other by our middle names on Christmas Eve. I have no idea how it started.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions Fats

36. Family Feuds

Person A brings up something Person C did back when they where ___. Person B defends Person C with the line "It's all in the past! It's Xmas!" Person A and C start to fight.

Person A has won the last four fights at Xmas. They lost at Thanksgiving this year however. Person C has given up and refuses to attend anymore Holiday events now.

Me? I took up my sister's tradition of putting rum in my coffee and refusing to leave the front sitting room.

Dumbledore factsGetty Images

35. Breakfast of Champions

Chocolate for breakfast on Christmas day, because who needs a balanced breakfast?

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsPixabay

34. Christmas Critters

My winter Christmas tree! I live near a wildlife reserve and there are all sorts of animals wandering into our neighborhood so we always put up a tree in the front yard and string it with popcorn, cranberries, dried fruit and little birdseed ornaments and jerky. Then we put hay all around the bottom. It's a big relief for animals surviving the winter, plus you get to watch them all!

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsPxhere

33. Good Dumb Fun

When we are opening our presents, we turn the ceiling fan on high and throw crumpled up wrapping paper into it.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsMax Pixel

32. A Bit of a Pickle

Every year my mom hangs this pickle ornament on the Christmas tree and whichever kid finds it first gets an extra present. I, apparently, got the ornament for her for her birthday when I was younger and it has been a tradition ever since. The extra present is normally a candy bar of some sort that me, my sister, and my brother have to share. But hey, we still found the pickle, so at least we have bragging rights!

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

31. A Well-Deserved Break

On Christmas Eve and all day that day I stay home. I cook a big meal and whoever wants to come can come, but we go exactly nowhere. This is a huge thing for me because my parents are divorced, my husband has several family obligations so for years we spent Christmas Eve and day just driving from house to house, barely getting to sit down before we had to be up to the next place, and once we had the only grandkid on both sides it got even worse. It is so nice to just have one day of staying still, eating my cooking, and spending time together.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsPxhere

30. Collect ‘Em All

I have a family of five and when we visit my parents for Christmas they scatter all of the gifts across their ten acres of wooded property. Last year I had to cut a rope to lower a gift down because it was suspended 30ft in the air.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsShutterstock

29. But... Why?

On Christmas Eve we all pack up into the car and drive around looking at the Christmas lights around town.

Oh yeah, and we drink Chocolate Milk from Baby Bottles while we do it.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

28. The Reluctant Elves

On Christmas Eve, we have a tradition of the Christmas Elf. All the kids take turns putting on the pointy green Elf hat and putting a present under the tree.

They are all in their 20s now, and my wife still makes them do it.

We have a bunch of pictures of bored, annoyed 20-year-olds posing with a present by the tree wearing a stupid green Elf hat.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsGoodFreePhotos

27. Pajama Time

My dad has this thing where every year he gives people pajamas. Like he'll give you a regular gift, but aside from that, he will also give you pajamas. He's done this to me and my mom for years and also does it to every girl I've dated. I don't know why he does it and I've honestly never asked, but I feel like if he stopped doing it, I would be sad because I actually look forward to seeing what kind of weird pajamas he got for me this year.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions Fats

26. Pet Festivities

Christmas Eve, after church service, the family loads up the dog and cat in the car and drives around looking at Christmas lights. We end it with a trip to Tastee Freeze to get a hamburger for the dog and a small vanilla ice cream for the cat. Humans don't get anything.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsPxhere

25. Who Needs Turkey When You Have Turkey?

We eat Turkish food. Here in Australia, it is usually hot on Christmas day. So neither my wife nor I could be bothered to do any cooking one year, but we discovered that the only take away place near us was the Turkish restaurant. It was perfect. We had a bunch of different dips, Turkish bread, olives, chicken. Because it is a nibbling food, Christmas lunch ends up lasting four hours. I think eventually everyone in Australia will have Turkish food for Christmas lunch.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

24. Spread The Love

Assuming it's reasonably cold, we make a large pot of soup, some cornbread, and a bunch of Christmas cookies, and then Christmas Eve or Christmas Day we go "homeless hunting" and pass out hot soup, cornbread, and cookies. Sometimes we get gloves and socks to pass out as well. The soup will heat up their hands as they hold it, even in an insulated coffee cup with a lid. Typically, it's something like chili or pinto beans and ham/bacon, so it's "soul food" that is hard to get without a kitchen (but it's cheap to prepare, which is nice).

Really makes it seem like Christmas.

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23. Festive Fiesta

We make a six-foot-long burrito by laying down a lot of tortillas. Once all the food is on it we all gather around it and roll the burrito together as a family.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsWikimedia Commons

22. Dinner Rolls Never Die

After Thanksgiving dinner, my sister and I (both adults now) will engage in a friendly fight with leftover dinner rolls (my mom always burns a few). We'll throw them at each other outside, and hide them in each other's cars. This year I got her pretty good by hiding one between the gas cap and the gas tank lid.

The rolls then re-surface as rock-hard Christmas gifts a month later. Rolls from past years have been re-gifted, so you open up a package that contains a mummified roll with "2011" written in sharpie on it.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsWikimedia Commons

21. On The Hour Every Hour

I love this tradition but most people find it really strange. On Christmas morning we aren't allowed all our presents but rather we get one present every hour. It's brilliant; the anticipation lasts all day and you get to really enjoy each present . It's also scary because as a kid you knew you were bound to whatever gift you picked for an hour so it was often a heartwrenching decision!

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsShutterstock

20. Everyone Has That One Aunt

Not a terribly weird thing, but I have an aunt that spikes everyone's coffee. She shows up with Starbucks, doses it up in the car, and then hands it out to everyone inside. The kids' drinks are obviously not "topped off," so I got a pleasant surprise after I turned 16.

Oh, and everyone keeps bottles of liquor in the bathroom cabinet. We should really just drink in the open like normal people.

It's always sunny in Philadelphia factsPixabay

19. Kings and Queens For a Night

I come from a very, very poor family. I didn't see my mom a whole lot growing up, but she would normally turn up for birthdays, and I usually spent Christmas Eve with her. Although she and a lot of her hippie friends struggled financially, they all pitched in to make Christmas Eve tons of fun.

They always got a lot of high-class foods, and we would all sit around on the 24th, sipping on Drambuie from a big snifter and eating caviar on fancy crackers. Everyone brought the fanciest dishware they had, and we'd sit in the formal living room of one of my mom's friends' who had inherited a house from her once wealthy grandparents. All the settings were mismatched silver trays and China serving bowls, but damned did we ever feel like royalty on that one night every year.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsPxhere

18. Picture Perfect

For a couple years my dad had gotten my mother those little ornaments that you put a family picture in, but she would never put one in. Now it has become a tradition to get her one every year knowing that she won't put a picture in it. So our Christmas tree is now filled with those generic stock photo families. We have Asians, Hispanics, African Americans, Caucasians, you name it. We always tell people they are our extended family if they don't know about it yet. We have about ten of them now.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsDepartment of Defense

17. Pigging Out

Our family always makes one hundred "pigs in blankets," little cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon. There's only five of us, but making any less is considered sacrilege.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsPixabay

16. Cinnamon Celebration

Every Thanksgiving my family eats Cinnabons and grapefruit while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV.

That's the strangest tradition we have I guess.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions Fats

15. 'Twas The Night Before Christmas

My entire dad's side of the family (parents, four brothers, one sister and their families) lives within 30 minutes of each other so every year we gather at my uncle's house, eat lots of hors d'oeuvres, and at around 7pm or so, me, my brother, and all of our cousins sit on the couch (or stand behind it) around my uncle as he reads "The Night Before Christmas."

We've done this every year for as long as I can remember. We currently range in age from 3-30, with most of us in the upper age range. Trying to fit 13 full-size adults on one couch is always fun!

It's so important to me that I'm actually Skyping in this year since I'm currently a Peace Corps Volunteer on the other side of the world. I miss my family but I'm excited to hold up the tradition. Yay internet!

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

14. Holy Carp

Every year on Christmas my grandparents make carp for dinner. They buy a whole one with scales and stuff. Some time before Christmas, all the scales are scraped off and dried on the heater for two or three weeks I think. They are then completely dry and do not smell. Then on Christmas, my grandparents put some money and some of those scales under everybody's plate. They are meant to be put in your wallet. This means that you will get as much money as a fish has scales! So when somebody in my family pays for something, sometimes some scales fall out and other people get really weirded out.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsMax Pixel

13. Dogs Are People Too

My sister-in-law's dog is a little person, I swear. She loves to feel included. Every Christmas, they buy her a new toy and wrap it. It's always the same one, just a different color. The wrap it and set it under the tree. The kids open theirs first, then the adults, then Bitsy. When she realizes there's a present for her she acts all surprised and shy, and as we encourage her, she opens it. Like a people.

First, she opens one end with her front teeth and then goes down the tape line and unfolds the paper with her little paw hands. She always loses her mind over the toy, it's her favorite kind. They don't buy her another one like it when it wears out until Christmas, so she freaks out. It's so cute that it hurts my insides.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsMax Pixel

12. PJ Day

We wear our pajamas all day. That may seem normal on the surface, but it’s a bit funnier when you consider that my siblings and I are all grown and married with our own kids, and all 25 of us still congregate at my parents' house for Christmas.

It started out when my older brother and his wife would come over in pajamas because the rest of us still lived at home and didn't have to change to go out. Now it’s a tradition where we'll do the normal shower routine, then change into our finest Christmas pajamas before heading over.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

11. Sneaky Santa

Growing up I remember every Christmas Eve driving around town looking at Christmas lights then when we got home we would discover that Santa had already come. "He must have thought we were already sleeping" one of my parents would say and we would open the gifts and stay up all night playing with them essentially allowing my parents the greatest gift of all, sleeping in on Christmas Day. My sister has carried on the tradition with her children and I will do so with my son when he is a bit older.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsGetty Images

10. Pear-ly Strange

We have these weird pear ornaments from the fake tree my mom had growing up. On Christmas morning, whoever is at the base of the tree handing out the gifts (which devolved to always being the youngest, which is me) takes one of the pears and hangs it from one of their ears for the entire gift giving duration. I really don't know why we do this... my mom's family never did it or anything, but every year I hang that pear from my ear and I never really realized how weird that was until my cousin and his wife spent Christmas with us last year and she kept laughing at how bizarre it was.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

9. Meet The Hunters

I guess this is weird now that I think about it. You're only allowed to kill male pheasants, so when you clean one you have to leave the head, a wing, or a foot attached (the roosters have a spur). My sister and I went pheasant hunting and brought some birds home when we were in high school. When my mom cooked the pheasant, she cut off the foot and stuck it on the Christmas wreath. Now whenever my sister or I kill a new animal, we give my mom something for the wreath. We've got a variety of duck species, a few goose feet, a quail, a deer tail, a turkey foot, lots of feathers, a squirrel foot and tail. That reminds me, I've got some rabbit feet I dried in salt I need to mail her. The wreath actually looks great.

X-men factsGetty Images

8. Traditional Tree Eel

One year there was a TV program on before Christmas, something like "10 Worst Christmas Disasters."

One feature on the program was about a family who bought a Christmas tree that had been imported from Norway, and it had a snake wrapped around the trunk which went unnoticed until Christmas morning, scaring the family to death, with the mother on the TV screaming about a "Christmas tree eel."

Now, this terrified my sister (six or seven at the time), so we decided to wrap a toy snake around the bottom of our tree. When she went to get her presents right from the back, she saw this snake and ran out in tears. Hilarious.

Now every year we wrap our own Christmas tree eel around our tree and have done so for about 14 years!

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsPixabay

7. Remembering Their Roots

My in-laws fled China during the Cultural Revolution (they were supporters of Chiang Kai-Shek) and they brought nothing with them to America. It was the mom, dad, and two little girls. During their first Christmas in the USA, they were so poor they couldn't afford presents, so the parents wrapped bricks in festive wrapping paper as "presents" and the mom painted them to resemble toy trains.

Fast forward decades and things are much better and the parents are successful and fairly wealthy. The girls are grown up and have kids of their own now.

They still place those same bricks under the tree every Christmas.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

6. No Peeking

My sister and I live on the opposite side of the house from my parents and we have to go through the living room where the presents are to wake them up to get the thing started. For some reason when we were kids we would purposely not look at the presents under the tree until the entire family was awake and ready to start. Really cute thing when we were kids blundering through the living room with our eyes closed. Now that I'm 20 years old and and my sister is 17 it's mostly us walking blind through the living room stubbing our toes on furniture and cursing when we do. Past few years my parents have woken up Christmas morning with me yelling obscenities. Ahh Christmas.

Be quietFlickr

5. Up In Flames

My family and several other families in my Church would sometime after Christmas, gather all the Christmas trees and have a Christmas Tree Bonfire on the beach. It was perhaps the best thing ever.

Until my Church was busted for throwing three trees onto the fire at once causing a huge magnificent 20ft flame to erupt. The Fire Department was called. Our tradition pretty much ended after that.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

4. Beam Me Up, Jesus

Instead of putting Mother Mary in our nativity set, we put a Seven of Nine action figure from Star Trek in her place.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsWikipedia

3. Burn Baby Burn

I know this is the wrong holiday, but every Thanksgiving we do the "Burning of the Napkin" where my uncle lights a napkin on fire using a lit candle from the dinner table and slowly lowers it into a glass of water while the whole family sings the Super Bowl theme song. It dates back about 25 years.

Apparently, this started when my aunts and uncles and my mother were children and sat at the "kid's table" during Thanksgiving. They would run their fingers through the flame of the candle at the table cus they were bored children, and this slowly escalated into running various items through the flame. My uncle did it with a napkin from the table and it caught fire and he quickly dunked it in a glass of water. I guess they did this every Thanksgiving since and the Super Bowl theme song got adopted at some point along the way.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsShutterstock

2. Uncle Dennis the Menace

Every year on Thanksgiving, around an hour after everyone's done dinner, Uncle Dennis farts in somebody's face. We never know who he will pick.

Never Speak of Again factsShutterstock

1. Delightfully Dutch

We usually have a neighbor involved in this one... we celebrate Sinterklaas Day as well as Christmas, and this is one of our Sinterklaas traditions. On the eve of December 5, the neighbor, dressed all in black, would come to our house (unbeknownst to us... even though it happened every year) and they would viciously pound on our door, then throw it open, run into our house and throw pepernoten (small hard cookies) everywhere, and then run away. After the initial shock wore off, we would laugh about it, then collect all the cookies into a big bowl, and snack on them for the next few weeks.

Weirdest Holiday Traditions FatsFlickr

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