Culture Features Humor

14 Thanksgiving Dinner Stories That Are Horrifying, Hilarious, And Heartbreaking


As Thanksgiving dinner approaches, we can’t help but think about all the X factors that come with distant relatives and volatile family members all gathering in one place. To put it simply, it can sometimes be a recipe for disaster. Other times, however, it could be a huge blessing spending an evening and a great meal with the ones you love.

We took to Reddit to see what were some of the best, worst, and most hilarious Thanksgiving stories the Internet had to offer. As with everything else on Reddit, just make sure to take all the stories with a grain of salt.

Sit back with some mash potatoes and enjoy.

Try not to cry

I once put a turkey in the oven, frozen solid. I was so proud because I had cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever, I invited everyone I knew over. I pulled the turkey out four hours later, looked at it, they looked at it, then they all laughed at me.

I tried not to cry, then cried a lot.


It’s got a happy ending though

Mom has cancer. Thanksgiving is had in the tiny-ass apartment she had to rent because her oncologist decided to treat her in a different city. Cooking is out, because said tiny-ass apartment did not have a competent oven. We get the meal to go. It is total shit.

The turkey was advertised as a real fucking bird. We got sliced, pressed shit. And everything was ice cold because the cafeteria we ordered from set up their to go table right under the air vent. Mom couldn’t eat, sister was cranky because she was stressed as fuck trying to go through college and take care of her mother. Dad was cranky because he was worried sick and because reasons that are too icky for me to dwell on any further. I was the only one that was not in a bad state (partially because I believed her oncologist when he said she was going to be fine, and partially because I handle stress like a boss) and was trying my hardest to keep everyone happy. My dad and sister kept snapping at me for my efforts.

It really sucks to get yelled at for being cheerful. At least my Mom seemed to appreciate them. The day just all around sucked.

To make matters worse, the girl I was crushing on hard kept trying to call me all day because she got abandoned at Thanksgiving, but I forgot my phone at my apartment, and was too preoccupied with trying to do what I could to keep smiles on peoples faces to even notice the phone was gone. She didn’t talk to me for a year after that.

But this story had a happy ending, because my Mom made it, so I guess I can’t bitch too hard.

Monkey see, monkey do

This is a sad one: but a week before my dad threw a plate of food against the the wall because my mom burned dinner. Well in the middle of Thanksgiving in front of a ton of people, I throw my plate and it shatters with food everywhere.

I was a young child. Monkey see monkey do.

I went off script


My mom was VERY uptight, and she is a very no nonsense kind of woman. Her parents were over and she was at the top of her game to impress. When we were going around the table saying what we were thankful for, she had preprepared answers for us, I shit you not.

I went off script and said I was thankful for Goku and my N64. I think she is still pissed over that. Like with all Reddit stories, be sure to take them with a grain of salt.

Jail Bird and Moon Pie

It was the Thanksgiving that my aunt (henceforth referred to as Jail Bird) just got out of jail for serious criminal offenses involving gun trafficking. Her and my other aunt Moon Pie (her favorite snack, also fitting because she is round like one too), got into an argument over who bought my sister a gift which she had had since she was four years old.

Jail Bird was only 14 when the gift was given to my sister making it impossible that it was her, and so after my grandma said enough is enough they moped around for a few hours, but peace was made… Or so we all believed.

So, dinner arrives. It’s going well, until Moon Pie thought it’d be a good idea for her to carve the turkey- which my grandma seeing no issue with that idea let her. Jail Bird was stabbed in the leg with the carving fork, and that’s when all hell broke loose. My sister and I were told to go to our room (we were staying there for Thanksgiving weekend, so we occupied the guest bedroom). We left heard some screaming and some glass breaking, and when me and my sister came out to see what was happening… Well, it turned into an all out brawl.

My parents and the other aunts trying to keep JB and MP away from each other- and not having much success. Grandma was just sitting there drinking her boxed wine, and smoking like nothing was happening while everything was happening.

Any who, long story short, I called the cops and Jail Bird and Moon Pie now have both spent some time jail, and on Thanksgiving too!


Study hard, kids

This one time my friend was going to announce his engagement to his fiancee at the dinner table in front of his whole family and friends.

Meanwhile he was failing math and our other friend brought his then girlfriend who was the math teacher to dinner, and our other drunk friend ended up admitting that my friend was failing math and he never got the chance to say he was engaged. And his Dad grounded him. Hilarious!

F*ck cooking, do it yourselves

My mom used to cook the MASSIVE traditional Thanksgiving feast. My family was really well off, we had a huge house, and probably 20-30 friends and family would come and our house would be converted into a hotel.

Eventually, my parents got divorced, the economy tanked, we kept downsizing houses and pretty soon it was just my mom, brother and I in a pretty small house. She still made dinner, but maybe just a friend or even just us would be there.

One year, she was sick of it. Sick of cooking all day for one meal for just us, tired of working and things not getting better, and just all of life’s hardships. So on Thanksgiving, four or so years ago, she plopped a plate of raw meat on the table and a fondue pot filled with oil and said “fuck cooking, do it yourselves.”

So we all sat around and dipped chicken and beef, and scallops for me (vegetarian) and had another pot with cheese and small diced bread. We were tired so we just turned on the TV and there was a South Park marathon and the first episode was starring GOOBBBBLLLEESSSS!!!! Anyways we watched that and a few other, and had a pretty good time.

Every year now we just do the same fondue thing, no big lavish meals, just some meat with a little sauce. And we always start the night with the Thanksgiving special with Gobbles and then watch a bunch of other episodes.

Best family holiday ever.

Meet the family

I have a large family with an immense amount of borderline personality disorders. The worst instance was my aunt A was going through a divorce and uncle B had been holding some of her belongings in storage while she got things settled.

Well uncle B got drunk and told aunt A that his new wife had sold a lot of her belongings because she wasn’t paying for storage at their house.

Well my mother got involved and tried yelling at the uncle B and that’s when aunt C & uncle D got involved and started a completely different argument and meanwhile aunt A was chasing around uncle B with a knife and my cousin called the police.

It was a full-out brawl by the time they got there and aunt A was taken away to a psych ward as she was sitting her car with the knife threatening to kill herself. This was the first Thanksgiving I had brought my boyfriend (now husband) home with me.

Three seconds

My grandmother ran out of counter space, shit was sorta burning like crazy on top of the stove. She took out the turkey on the tray, looked around, and put it on the ground for like three seconds. She intended for it to be there for three fucking seconds.

Her dog, Rosco, had been following her all day. Earlier she tossed him a turkey gibblet, and I guess that didn’t sit well with him.

He shit all over my grandma’s leg, floor, and freshly-cooked Turkey in one explosive two-second blast of fiery diarrhea.


SO drunk

Last year my dad got blind drunk. Like the drunkest I have ever seen him. He kicked me and my girlfriend out of the house very loudly, and when we where packing up he came asked why we where leaving and demanded we stay. After another five minutes he came back and kicked us out again. We went to my moms house who was so drunk, we couldn’t wake here up.

We ended up playing Borderlands all night.

Up in flames

My Dad and uncle tried frying a turkey, very drunkenly. They forgot about. The oil went went up in flames and so did the side of my uncle’s house.

I conceded defeat

My female cousin and I like to have burping contests. One year, after eating Thanksgiving dinner, we started our competition. Swallow air, force a burp, swallow air, force a burp. Belches kept escalating until the point where she ends up vomiting all over the table.

I conceded defeat as I didn’t feel like trying to top that. A decade or so later, she’s still the champion.


Not a bad way to go

I went with to a boyfriend’s house and spent the morning with his family, brothers and sisters and their SOs from far away. His grandmother was there, sitting quietly in a recliner and not saying much. After a couple hours dinner was ready so we all went into the dining room except his Grandma. Someone went back to help her, thinking she had trouble getting out of her chair, and discovered that she had died sometime while we were all sitting around talking and laughing. Someone called an ambulance and the boyfriend’s parents went with the body while the rest of us had a very odd and awkward dinner.

On the plus side, I like to think that she died happy. She was surrounded by family and although she didn’t say much she smiled at our jokes. It’s really not a bad way to go when you think of it, it was just really really strange for the rest of us.

The egg nog was bad

My wife’s brother is a pretty heavy drinker. He’s the type of dude who almost always has a beer in his hand after 5 o’clock. He’s not a bad guy, but he definitely drinks too much… though since this story he’s become a father and slowed way down on the drinking.

His mother, father and younger brother don’t cook, so brother-in-law (let’s call him Dan) offers to make Thanksgiving dinner. He’s going to have turkey, pie, potatoes, stuffing, the whole nine yards. So it’s the four of them and my wife and I.

We get there and Dan has mixed up some egg nog. It’s in a big plastic pitcher and roughly a quarter of it is rum. Wife doesn’t drink, younger brother in law (Jim) doesn’t drink and I’m lactose intolerant. The dad has one small cup and says it tastes awful because its’ so heavy on alcohol.

Slowly by surely, as Dan is working in the kitchen the egg nog begins to disappear. He starts out really nice, glad to have a good turnout for Thanksgiving. He seems to have a pleasant buzz on at this point. As the morning continues though, he gets more and more agitated. We’re watching football and he wants help peeling potatoes, so we oblige while watching the game. Then as dinner continues he wants the wife to make the stuffing (it’s stove top, not my choice). She says she will, but she’s in the middle of something. Dan starts yelling about how she doesn’t appreciate what he’s doing and how ungrateful she is. It’s pretty uncomfortable, but they shout back and forth. Situation settles down and dinner will be ready in about 45 minutes to an hour. Dan says his “stomach is upset” so he goes home (next door) to lay down.

Once the timer goes off we take out dinner and set the table. Dan’s nowhere to be found. As today’s chef it seems rude to eat without him, but we don’t want everything to get cold. We must have waited at least a half an hour for him to come back… but he didn’t. Dad goes to check on him and he’s pretty much passed out. We eat without him.

Hours later he comes back while we’re watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles and says “Urgh, I think that egg nog was bad.”

Sure Dan, the egg nog was bad.

Stories have been edited for spelling and flow.

By Peter Pham

Pete's favorite foods include pizza, tacos and pretty much any kind of breakfast. He'll usually snap a photo or two while his food cools down.

Leave a Reply