If you're dreading the holidays this year, it might make you feel better to read about people who've definitely, 100%, without a shadow of a doubt, had it worse than you during their big family meals.
From trying edibles for the first time to literally dying at the dinner table, 11 people shared truly unforgettable incidents that made their holidays traumatic, to say the least.
The next month is going to be stressful, but these stories will make you thankful that no matter how dysfunctional your family appears, at least you're not these people.
1. We Might Need to Stop Asking the Table What They're Grateful For
Anyone who's ever had a traumatic Thanksgiving experience knows this tradition is the first to go. My family learned this the hard way when I was a teenager.
This guy's step-grandfather brings up "his father's death" every single "Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner." Think that's not bad enough? He always goes into great detail "about how he walked into the kitchen to see his father's body on the floor with his head blown off."
Not the best way to make the rest of the family hungry for a huge meal, that much is for sure.
2. Gives the Solemn Prayer Ritual a New Meaning
One person shared the year their "great grandmother died at the table" right as the whole family was bowing their heads to "pray on Thanksgiving."
Her health had been going downhill, so everyone assumed this would be her last Thanksgiving, but they didn't know how right they'd be.
"Her kids, their kids and their kids' kids, family she hadn't seen in years, about 20 people, all gathered around, with her pushed up in her recliner." Since she was devoutly religious, they thought to say a prayer before digging in.
"As we raise our heads and open our eyes, we find great-grandma slumped over, tongue lolling out dead." Someone started compressions and another called an ambulance but the "youngest cousin dug into her meal completely unaffected by the dead body."
Probably wanted to enjoy the meal while it was still warm...unlike great-grandma.
3. Grandma Got Run Over by a Martini
A woman, her mother and her grandmother decide to try out a new restaurant where they don't have a reservation for their Thanksgiving meal. The woman is "convinced it'll be fine and they might just have to wait a few minutes for a table."
So, they end up "sitting at the bar while waiting for a table, having a few drinks and appetizers." Because it's a holiday, everyone is enjoying martinis.
"After the second round, my mother looks over and my grandmother is leaning back in her chair, completely limp and unresponsive," causing everyone in the restaurant to freak out. Paramedics are called and "grandma is rushed to the ER."
When mom calls from the ER, she tells the woman "Don't worry, everything's OK, your grandmother just got drunk." Her blood tests came back completely normal, except her BAC was three times that of the legal limit.
The 90-year-old, "about 4'8" and 100 lbs" hadn't eaten anything all day "because she knew they were having a big dinner." It also turned out she'd ordered another martini when no one else was looking, so her second martini was in fact her third.
This turned into the "perfect storm of really drunk grandma," who called her family apologizing, "I'm so sorry, I've ruined Thanksgiving."
In truth, everyone was just happy she was OK.
4. RIP Oven
One kid thought it would be a "funny prank" to put a rubber chicken in the oven on Thanksgiving Day. He assumed his mom would "laugh and laugh," hahaha a rubber chicken in the oven, "what a gag."
What he didn't realize was that "normal adults usually preheat the oven before putting the turkey in."
There went the rubber chicken and, quite possibly, the oven.
5. Legendary Floor Bird
This wasn't going to be like any other Thanksgiving. No, "this Thanksgiving would be special." The family invited "somewhere around 25 people" and to feed them, the mother bought a "seriously large turkey," which she had been slow cooking all day.
Naturally, everyone was looking forward to this highlight. "Fast forward, the turkey is out of the oven and is being carved." It looks and smells delicious, I feel like I can catch a faint whiff from where I'm sitting in front of my computer screen.
While everyone is seated, passing around mashed potatoes and talking about god knows what, the "mom is bringing the turkey from the kitchen into the dining room."
Except, "she drops the turkey platter," causing it to shatter, "turkey and porcelain shards litter the floor."
Thankfully, the 25 people abided by the five-second rule, and "most of the turkey was salvaged." Some guests had "shards of turkey platter on our plates, but it wasn't a big deal."
This turkey, now referred to in memory as "the legendary floor bird" was in fact as "good as it promised to be," according to guests.
If you're going to invite that many people to your house, you'll want to make sure they're really good sports.
6. Thanksgiving Prayer
Here's another tradition my family did away with when they realized how reliably unpredictable their kids were.
One child was asked to say the Thanksgiving prayer one year, a "big honor" in a family notorious "for fighting."
"So I said my little prayer, all nice and cute," then interjected a little personal wish: "God, please let my family act normal today and not fight." Their German grandmother slapped them "across the face really hard" before they could blink an eye, which pissed the mother off.
"Lots of yelling and we left" — so much for that innocent holiday wish.
7. Don't Interrupt the Adults
Oh, the good old kids' table days.
When this child was "six or seven," their mom's "candles caught the kitchen curtains and some decorative greenery on fire." Since the kids were at the "kids' table" in the kitchen, none of the adults "noticed anything, except me."
And because the mother had "threatened us with pain of death if we annoyed the adults during dinner," this kid decided mum's the word.
"I quietly walked to the dining room and stood silently for a minute or two, until someone noticed me," and only then did they reveal, with utmost politeness: "Sorry, but the kitchen's on fire."
Parents need to teach their kids when it's appropriate to let politeness take a back burner. Like, when the entire kitchen's in flames.
8. The "Fun" Uncle
What is it about prim and proper families that fill the rest of us with an undying urge to act as goofy and ridiculous as possible?
One guy was taking his newborn son to his first Thanksgiving, with, you guessed it, his very formal family. During dinner, his "adopted brother takes my 2-week-old son to check his diaper during dinner."
When he comes back, diaper in hand, he says something "doesn't look right" and "proceeds to smell it." According to him, something is very wrong.
"So he tasted it." Everyone is understandably freaking out until he reveals he'd "filled a clean diaper with pumpkin pie filling."
I wonder if the prim and proper family found this gag as funny as I do.
9. IRL Microwave #TurkeyChallenge
The whole family set out for mom's house one Thanksgiving, and she was very excited to try her new stove.
"About half an hour before the turkey was supposed to be done, Mom checked on it" and it was still totally raw. It seemed she'd hit the wrong button and accidentally "shut it off."
This family learned they could "in, fact, microwave" the turkey to appease everyone's hunger. Unsurprisingly, "the turkey was a bit dry but otherwise not bad."
For more microwaved turkeys, read this.
10. Just a Casual Game of Dress-Up
The kids were playing hide-and-seek while Thanksgiving was being prepared. One kid "hid way in the back of grandma's closet" and found a "beautiful deep red robe," which they assumed belonged to "my grandfather, who died just after I was born."
The kid tried on the robe, which was predictably huge, "but the silk felt really smooth and cool, so I decided to go ask my grandma if I could have it to grow into."
What they didn't realize was the significance of the robe. "Turns out," grandpa was in the KKK and this was his "ceremonial robe." The family members who didn't know this about their grandpa "were highly upset," and the ones who did "were embarrassed as hell."
A small riot proceeded when the kid "walked into the kitchen wearing it," because, what else do you expect?
What an awkward Thanksgiving.
11. The Holidays Aren't a Great Time to Test Out Your First Batch of Edibles
Every seasoned stoner knows weed makes Thanksgiving much more enjoyable, but only if it's not your first time and only if you remember the cardinal rule of edibles: You can always eat more, but you can never eat less.
One person got a "weed brownie" at 16, to try "before Thanksgiving so I would have a nice high and all this good food to eat." The dealer said it was a strong batch and urged them only to eat half.
It's a classic setup: they "ate the half," and after fifteen minutes of not "feeling anything," decided to eat the other half, too. Famous last words.
"By the time dinner came by, I was very stoned," like, uncomfortably stoned. Too stoned to make eye contact with anyone at the table, stoned. "I just awkwardly stared at my food and gave one-word answers when my family tried to talk to me."
It made Thanksgiving dinner uncomfortable for just about everyone. After a few more painful moments, the brownie-eater decides they "could not take it anymore, so I just picked up my plate and went downstairs to my room."
This devolved into having to give mom the honest explanation, asking if "she could just leave me alone because I was too high to deal with things."
In typical mom fashion, she played it off as cool for a while. Until the kid came down for dessert and got publicly yelled at for "ruining Thanksgiving dinner."
I'd be lying if I said I haven't lived through the exact same Thanksgiving dinner at 16. Here's hoping this year isn't as traumatic as these people's stories.