To get in the spirit of the holidays, the staff of The Northerner, the independent student newspaper of Northern Kentucky University, came together to share their best “holiday horror stories.” You know, when things during the holidays just turn into big family disasters. Please enjoy the carnage.
“The Christmas Poncho”
Christmas Eve of 2000 began like every other one; my family had dinner, went to church, opened our new PJs, and I climbed into my sister’s bed to await the next morning’s wonderful festivities. Then, around 3:00 in the morning or so, I woke up, and did not feel good. I didn’t want to wake up my sister but I wasn’t quick enough to jump over her and off the bed and into the bathroom. I ended up throwing up right on her, so much for not waking her up…but! Her being the best sister ever didn’t even get mad! She just patted me on the back and said, “Go get Mom.” So I got Mom and she cleaned everything, gave us new sheets and we went back to our dreams of Santa and presents. I didn’t get sick again after that, thankfully, but when I came downstairs the next morning, my dad had fashioned a poncho out of a trash bag (to protect himself) and didn’t take it off all day.
“Naked Handstands for the Neighbors”
My favorite place has to be at my Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving Day. On a typical day it would be different, but on Thanksgiving the atmosphere is unbelievable. The obvious reason is great food and reminiscing with family about the stupid things someone within the family regrettably did, and the ongoing battle between uncles and cousins over which one of them thinks they know more about sports than everybody else.
First the smells one smells after entering Grandma’s house on the day of Thanksgiving are fantastic. The heavenly scents of turkey roasting, pies baking, and potatoes boiling make my mouth water with anticipation of feasting on great food every time. While the food is cooking and final preparations are being made the family bonding really takes place. New stories and events are talked about, but mostly everyone just enjoys retelling a few stories that have become instant classics in our family. For instance on Christmas Eve a few years back my uncle, who for a crazy guy to begin with probably had a little too much to drink that night, decided to walk outside on the porch for a smoke in the blistering, freezing, snowy weather and for no apparent reason he decides to bare the elements without his shirt. He just stands there casually smoking a cigarette, while elderly people are walking past on their way to church for Midnight Mass looking at him like he is a complete idiot. After a short time he gets really creative and decides to do a headstand on a very unstable table that stood on three legs, while smoking his cigarette and blowing donut shaped smoke out of his mouth. Everyone secretly probably wanted to see him eat it and do a face plant onto the concrete, but he successfully held the headstand for nearly five minutes before getting down on his own will and getting another drink. When asked what he was thinking that night, he always claims to have no recollection of what happened. That is just one of the many interesting stories told involving this one particular uncle.
Just as expected the food tastes better than the aroma and everyone eats more than they probably should’ve, but there always seems to be room for pie. Pie is always in abundance on Thanksgiving Day. Apple pie, cherry pie, and coconut cream pie are a few options, however the pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top really hits the spot.
After a delicious meal the settling of stomachs begins. The usually sit around the living room watching football, while the women break off to the kitchen to “clean plates”, but really discuss all the latest gossip they’ve heard. Things can get a little tense in the kitchen at times, but things really heat up in the living room every time. It starts out as everyone just enjoying the football game and then it gradually accumulates into an all out brawl with words. The funny thing is I don’t believe anyone really knows what they’re talking about. They just make it sound good. My uncle, who is like the biggest Bengals fan in Franklin County history, rambles off random stats about Carson Palmer that I don’t think Carson Palmer even knows exist. Somehow these small disagreements about football always lead to one debate: Who is better the Bengals or the Browns? Because there are a lot of Bengals fans in the family, but also a few who have a sense of pride for the Browns. I’m waiting for the one time when someone says the wrong thing in a very heated debate and the pinching and eye poking begin. I normally don’t promote violence, but I am big wrestling fan.
The delicious turkey, unbelievable assortment of pie, good times reminiscing, and the unpredictable outcomes of discussing football games with family are just a few reasons why I have such a great time on Thanksgiving Day at Grandma’s house.
“The Christmas Heist”
One holiday eve, my grandfather told us a story. T’was about a man who came to our humble homestead and asked us cordially, “May I dine with you?” And so we said, “Yes, you may.” Long story short, he stole our Christmas tree and our presents. We found him, a vendor, and “bought” — words of my grandfather — them back, but I only found a box of poo. Now, children, when your parents threaten you with this horrible tale, ask yourselves this: would you ever accept such a man’s innocent proposal? What a sad, sad Christmas day.
“Thanksgiving’s a Snap (of my arm)”
The worst Thanksgiving I ever had was when I was in the sixth grade. We always ate dinner at my grandparents house, but they did not have anything much to entertain us kids. So while the parents were finishing up dinner, all of us cousins decided to go to my aunt and uncles’ house. They had a trampoline and even though it was cold, we were prepared to bounce until dinner was ready.
At the time, not anymore, I could do a back tuck on a trampoline. For some reason that day, I got brave and decided to show off. I attempted a double back tuck. It didn’t go well. I almost landed it, sort of, but freaked out half way through the second tuck and landed with all of my weight on my right arm. It snapped. To this day, the absolute worst pain of my life. I spent the rest of the night in the emergency room with my parents and brother. I had compound fractures in both bones in my right arm. Needless to say, I missed out on Thanksgiving Dinner and trampolines were never the same after that.
“Merry Mother&*(%*#^ Christmas, Jackass!”
One year, my parents and I decided to try to get into the “Christmas spirit.” So, we invited my friend Drew and we all loaded into the car and went to look at Christmas lights. While we were in line to enter Sharon Woods, the car next to us cut us off to get ahead. So, my dad honked the horn and flipped them off. Once we were inside of the park, the line split and we ended up sitting right next to the offending car. The whole time we were sitting there, the man driving glared at us. So, my dad and I rolled down the window and flipped him off.
The whole time was happening, my friend Drew had his head in his hands, and was laughing at the absurdity of it. “I guess the Wood family makes friends everywhere they go,” he said.
When we finally reached the entrance, we realized that the car we’d “fought” with ended up behind us. They left their “brights” on throughout the whole Christmas display. So, we drove very slow, just to annoy them more.
Once we left, the car sped ahead of us and threw a cup at us, hitting our car. We all started yelling and cussing. However, the way we needed to go to get home was different from the way they were headed. So, we let them escape.
Moral of the story: People don’t stop being idiots just because it’s Christmas. Oh, and Happy Holidays!
“Freezing Cold Black Friday Gets Warmer”
The holidays are always an interesting time for me. Thanksgiving is a hodge-podge of customs, running from house to house to see all the family. Then there is Black Friday! Sitting outside to do my parents bidding at the department stores at O’dark-thirty with a thermos of coffee. So basically that is how I survive the holiday’s, Coffee, Coffee and EggNog!
“La La La! I can’t hear you.”
I don’t have any crazy family stories, but in order to survive the holidays I close my eyes and pray for them to pass quickly. Pretending I’m not there, and playing my Nintendo DS helps too.
“Hey there, Uncle Cousin Friend!”
Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. There’s always the overwhelming amount of food to be eaten, the awkward moments of family members you only see once a year, and the endless football. Things that I do to get through Thanksgiving include: pace yourself at the family pig out session (you can always go back for leftovers), avoid football at all costs (unless I am in the mood for a nap), and remember that these are your family members (They don’t bite). My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the day after when I put up the tree for Christmas.
“Turkey Coma Should Last Longer”
Let’s see, I’ve never had a crazy holiday season really. There have never been any Griswold antics at my house or holiday horror stories. Every year once Halloween is over people start thinking about Christmas, completely forgetting about Thanksgiving. But since I don’t have anything special to tell, except the turkey coma I am put in every November, I guess I can say how I survive. I try to block everything out. The songs, commercials, lights, decorations, it is just one giant blur of red and green. I stay away from the stores after Thanksgiving, unless I absolutely have to go out. I try to get some shopping done for Dec. 25 but being a student means there isn’t that much money in my wallet. To end this, have a good holiday season and “God bless us, everyone”–don’t you just love Tiny Tim?
“Eh…maybe next year.”
My mom just isn’t into it anymore. There have been quite a few Thanksgiving’s that my family has simply forgone the traditions and pretended like it was any other day. That went for Christmas, too. I’ve remembered Thanksgiving’s where we just are a regular dinner and didn’t really do anything special. We didn’t watch the parade, or football, or anything. We just sat at home. Then for Christmas, we didn’t do the decorations. My presents were just handed to me unwrapped. When you compare those to the historical Christmases and Thanksgivings with the huge holiday spreads of food, the sled full of presents that Santa brought you one year, it just kind of depresses you.
But, forcing it has never really worked out for my family either. One year one of the many sides of my multi-generational dysfunctional family invited us down for Christmas in North Carolina. It was particularly awkward. I didn’t really know anybody and spent most of the time hanging out with some disadvantaged kids that my aunt worked with. Then we find out some more exciting holiday news. My mom has been sick for a long time and for a while we were in a less than average financial status and her sister, a pastor’s wife who used to work for Ethan Allen, had apparently convinced the company to give us a brand new sleigh bed. Well, somehow that never really came to pass. We never got word again about getting the bed or anything. Well, while we were staying at this aunt’s house during this great holiday time, we see in her daughter’s room this brand new sleigh bed. At least someone got to enjoy it.