"Happened Christmas 2015. My parent's car, with all our gifts in the boot, was robbed. We only found out when they went out to bring in the gifts and put them under the tree Christmas morning. They got me an Xbox One and three brand new games, plus art supplies because I was running low. I had to drop out of art college because I had no art supplies then. My 3-year-old brother said 'Where are all the presents?' Luckily, our parents had bought him this big Lego city set that they had hidden in the garage for a few weeks, so he played with that while we all just distracted him with Christmas films and chocolate for breakfast.
Money was very tight that year, and my parents had been saving up months to get us those things, not allowing themselves any luxuries. I remember my mom coming to me and telling me what happened, and her choking up and repeating 'I'm sorry sweetie, you deserved all those things.' Filed a police report but nothing came of it. Told our other family members that the car broke down and we didn't want to chance driving over for dinner (we live in a rural area about two hours away)."
"I sat through a terrible Christmas moment two years ago. My granddad had a serious case of the flu and had to be hospitalized late at night, so I'm sitting by his bedside with my grandmother. At first, we thought it might have been a stroke because his speech was slurred, so it could have been worse. Either way, the big family Christmas get together had been delayed at least two weeks, and things were so bad that my mom had told me to order my own Christmas presents. All that is not even the worst part. The worst part is seeing my grandfather go from a fairly independent man who could still work five to six days a week at his pharmacy to a barely coherent shell of his former self who can't even sit up without assistance."
"Every year, my mom's grandma stays at our house for Christmas. Her husband passed almost 30 years ago, and most of her and our family are estranged after fighting pretty nastily over details of his will. She was 85 that year and was proud of her excellent health. She would always brag that she'd never had to take medication other than a multivitamin in her life. Like usual, Great Grandma comes to our house, and we make fudge, listen to Christmas music. She loves games. For decades, she's started out each morning with a pastry and a round of Solitaire. We were all gathered around the table playing one of her favorite card games. I was sitting to her left, my mom sitting left of me, around the dining room table. We're playing the game, and I look over at her, and she's weirdly frozen, a faint smile on her face.
I was confused and frozen, just staring at her. My mom looked at her and screamed, jumping over me and grabbing her. She's yelling 'Gram! Gram!' and starts sobbing. My brain connects that something awful is happening, and I call 911. I was so calm, I don't know how I did it. My mom was screaming next to me. I tell the dispatcher we need an ambulance, my grandma has had a stroke or something. I'm giving them information, and as I'm on the phone, I kneel down next to my Gram, who hasn't moved. She still has this frozen half-smile on her face and her eyes are glazed over. I looked into her eyes, put my hand on her hand, and mouthed 'I love you.' I watched her eyes unglaze. For a second, they looked like someone was behind them, and she mouthed it back. 'I love you.' And then she became unresponsive again. I kept talking to the dispatcher, but it was so surreal. I thought those were her last words to me or to anyone. Her blood sugar went out of whack and she had an unresponsive episode.
After Christmas, she started having more and her health has started failing. She's not allowed to eat her morning pastries, and she doesn't have the energy to play Solitaire anymore. It's hard to watch, and we think this might be her last Christmas. But we were really lucky to have gotten her back that day. We all really thought she was dying. And I will never forget how it felt to watch her come out of the episode for a few seconds to tell me she loved me."
"When I was 14, my single mom was struggling to raise my 2-year-old sister and me. Being the good guy I thought I was, I asked my father if I could move in with him to give my mom a break for a while. Dad accepted, and I moved. Fast forward to Christmas of '91. I'm 15 living with my dad, his wife, and her two kids. We are going to travel from our house outside of San Francisco to his mother-in-law's house in Los Angeles for Christmas. The date is 12/21. The next day, my dad and I are going to fly to Texas just for the day to check out his new job. He worked in construction for a national company, so this was not abnormal.
So we leave, I'm thinking, great, here's some father and son time. Things haven't gone that great. I'm 15, I'm used to pretty much taking care of myself, I've gotten in some trouble and of course, my dad isn't accustomed to raising a teenager either. So, we've had our struggles. I'm thinking we'll do some talking, maybe think about how to live better with one another.
We are picked up by three guys at the Dallas airport, transferred to an office location, where my dad and I sat in an office with another gentleman. The gentleman explains that this is an in-patient rehabilitation center for kids, that I'll be there a minimum of six months, and that my dad will be leaving. Well, needless to say, I wasn't having it.
As I lay on the floor, being held in a four-point restraint, I watched my dad walk out the door without saying goodbye or answering my pleas asking why he was doing this to me.
The place was a living nightmare. My dad left me there three days before Christmas. It took my mom four months to get it out of him where I was, and then to get my uncle to come there, and get me out. In that time I had no contact with anyone I knew. I was abused, mentally and physically, and pretty much gave up on trying to live.
So there, Merry Christmas to me."
"Christmas Eve 2016. My boyfriend picks me up to go to his family's get together. They're close and a lovely family. I'm excited and decked out in a new sweater and have a bottle to give to his mom. On the drive, he goes, 'So today might be sad. My uncle was hit by a car about an hour ago and has a lot of brain damage, and was flown to a hospital.' I was immediately sad, as was he. It was terrible and tragic, but I had hope that he would pull through and survive and we could still have a decent day. Then, as we were about a minute from his house, he gets a call that his uncle didn't make it. Boyfriend stays strong, says 'Okay' and doesn't break down or anything and says he'll be home soon. He tells me he wants me to stay with him and support him and his family during this awful day. It was really, really hard and the whole family was upset. The man was a great guy. Turned out he was intentionally killed by a man taking illegal substances who swerved to hit him from the other lane while he was out walking.
As if that isn't bad enough, the next day is Christmas and I'm at home with my parents. My elderly grandmother (my mom's mom) is the only other family member we have, and she lives alone in her house about 10 minutes away from us and is fiercely independent. Sweetest and most selfless woman I've ever met. Mom makes a phone call to her to wish her a Merry Christmas. She doesn't answer, but my mom thinks, oh, maybe she slept in today. She tries to call again an hour later, and still no answer. As my parents are finishing up the cooking for our holiday meal, my dad calls grandma and says that if she doesn't answer, he'll drive down and go inside to see what's up. A third phone call, still no answer. I stay home with our dog while my parents go to check on my grandma. I call my boyfriend, and he comes over to my house, and I prepare for the worst and put away the uneaten food. About half an hour later, mom calls me and says they're in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. They found my grandma face down on the kitchen floor but still breathing. She had a broken hip from her fall and had suffered two heart attacks before passing away while in hospice a few days later.
Overall, a terrible Christmas. It made my boyfriend and I super close, given our shared tragedies and days of endlessly comforting each other. Christmas is a tough subject for both our families now. We're really not looking forward to the holidays this year."
"My dad was like Father Christmas to me. He struggled a lot with depression and Christmas was one of the few times in which my family was really happy. Dad loved Christmas. In September he would start preparing ideas for foods and making preserves. He would even put together a menu for our dinner.
When I woke up on Christmas morning when I was 16 years old, I don't know why but everything felt off. Nothing was really unusual, dad was being his silly self, calling my brother and me down to see if Santa had been here, even though we were both way too old for it. I was walking out of our living room as he walked in and collapsed into my arms. He died of a massive heart attack.
A few days before his death, he told me that whatever happens, I should always keep Christmas special. It has been 10 years, and I feel guilty that I can't keep that promise. When shops start selling Christmas products and people start posting countdowns, I just see him there again trying to hold himself up before collapsing into me."
"Every single one of them, and I'll tell you why: My father is the kind of person that doesn't believe in any kind of crap, any religion, any feelings, any sort of fantasy characters. So basically, every December around the first week he would go like: LET'S GO GET YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT! (in a voice that would make Hitler pee his pants) and he would give me a small budget for what I was allowed to spend (choose). Every year after making the best of my 'Christmas bonus' (the year I got it best I got a medium sized Lego), he would take me home and almost forced me to open it and play with it, almost as though waiting until Christmas was stupid. We did this from the time I was 5 years old until I was 12 years old. After I turned 13, I was considered a teenager and started getting nothing but clothing and shoes for Christmas. The last time I got a present was when I was 16. You could say that, as a kid, I really never got to open a single Christmas present, and I never got what I really wanted. I just grabbed what I could."
"When I was 9 years old, there was a present under the tree that made all kinds of noise when you picked it up. Every day after school, I'd pick it up, shake it, and ask my parents, 'What's in it?' - No answer. Christmas break was torture. Finally, Christmas came, and I went right after that present and opened it. To my horror, it was filled with a bunch of worthless rusty nuts, bolts, washer, old spring, bent nails. I was devastated. I had been with my adopted family for only about three months, and it was the first Christmas where I had my very own present."
"My saddest Christmas was my junior year of college when I was living with my ex-boyfriend.
I lived too far away from my family to travel home for Christmas, so I had plans to spend Christmas with my boyfriend and his family.
Christmas Eve, at about 4 p.m., he takes the car we share to go buy smokes before the shops closed. He didn't come back that night.
By 10 p.m., I had called the police, hospitals, his family, everyone I could think of; no one knew where he was, and the police said that it would have to be 24 hours before they filed a missing person's report because he's an adult.
The next day, I called everyone I could think of again, as soon as I woke up (I cried myself to sleep on the couch waiting for a call), but few answered the phone. At about noon, a police officer came over to take a statement, then left.
At 8 p.m., I called the police to ask what was going on, and they said that he had been 'located and was safe,' and they couldn't give me any more details since I wasn't his wife or family.
I called his family, and they didn't answer the phone.
On the 26th, I waited for him until I absolutely had to leave for work, so I left him a note that I was at work and worried sick about him, so please wait for me at home when he gets back.
I worked my shift, trying to call our apartment, his family and our friends a few times during my breaks/lunch (still no answer). At the end, I grabbed my bag and went outside to walk home, and to my surprise, I saw my car in the parking lot.
I walked toward it, hoping he'd come to pick me up from work, to find him getting some affection from one of my coworkers.
The next few days were a mess. Apparently, he'd been cheating on me for months with one of my coworkers. He didn't work, and she worked a different shift than I did, so they'd go out while I was at work. He'd told his family he was bringing his girlfriend for Christmas and brought her, not me. He'd been telling her my car was his, and we were just 'roommates.'
I was unbelievably angry, as I'd been working a fulltime job, a work-study job, and taking a full course load of college classes to pay bills while he sat at home complaining that his 'injury' from his time in the military meant he couldn't work. Admittedly, I was young and stupid.
I ended up taking a semester off of college to deal with the psychological fallout of that, and I still can't be alone on Christmas without having a breakdown."
"My dad works in emergency services. On Christmas Eve, our family was planning on traveling two hours to visit our cousins for Christmas. The roads were pretty bad, and a blizzard was on its way, so we were still deliberating whether or not we should risk it or leave early Christmas morning when the roads would be better. It was around that time that my dad got called out to an accident just outside of town.
He wasn't supposed to work that day, but it was a pretty bad accident and they needed more ambulance and fire department staff. It turns out a family of five was on their way out to visit some family close to where I lived, but they didn't have winter tires and lost control going around a corner where a truck following them couldn't stop in time and t-boned them at full highway speed. The impact killed both parents and one of the kids. The two surviving siblings were in rough shape and were rushed to city hospitals via helicopter. My dad said one wasn't likely to survive, and if she did, she wouldn't be able to function the same due to head trauma, and the other one would likely never walk again. The momentum of the impact of the crash to the side of the vehicle swung all of the passengers' legs so hard that they broke it several places and it was almost impossible to stabilize the legs. The couple in the other car had good winter tires and were able to stop fairly quickly after impact and left unharmed save for a couple cuts and bruises. My dad spent all day out at the crash scene providing emergency first aid, redirecting traffic, cleaning and investigating, so we ended up driving to our cousins' on Christmas, which was the safer choice anyway. Safe to say that winter tires can save lives in slippery road conditions."
"My mom got me an envelope with a cut out of a camcorder in the Sears holiday ad.
All I wanted when I was 12 years old was a camcorder to film my friends and I skateboarding. I told her I didn't need any presents at all, but a camcorder was the only one I wanted.
Christmas morning comes, and we go downstairs and sure enough, I see no presents for me under the tree, but a ton for my sisters and brother. I'm kind of excited at this point thinking holy crap this is really happening. I'm going to be sponsored by Shorty's finally.
We're taking turns and it comes to me, and my mom gives me an envelope with my name on it that was sticking in the tree. I had no clue what was going on and opened it as fast as I could thinking it was a card to go with my camcorder or something. I had no clue. I open it up, and it's the camcorder I wanted from the Sears ad, circled, and a note around it that says 'Be here Saturday' as if my 12-year-old self was busy all the time and needed to pencil it in. I asked what it meant, and she told me she ordered the camcorder but didn't do in in time, so it would be here Saturday. I was confused at first, and to be honest a little bummed because everyone sat opening presents around me while I just watched, but the prospect of getting my camcorder got me through it.
Saturday comes, and I, of course, ask what's going on with it, and she says oh they didn't deliver Saturdays. Anyway, now I have to wait two more days until Monday, which was torture. Monday came, and I asked again, and she said she didn't know and she'd call the company. Days turn into weeks, wondering where it was and asking when I'd get it until finally she just one day told me to stop asking her about it, or I'd get in trouble. 'Leave me alone about the camcorder' was the result, and the last I got of it.
Fast forward to next Christmas, and she told me I'd finally be getting the camcorder, only to find out again, I didn't get it, and again was told to wait until it 'came in the mail.'
I'm 27 and have no camcorder.
My mom also sold a car that a friend gave me because his father died and he had an extra one, so he gave me a brand new Sentra with 1200 miles on it. I was 16 and hadn't just yet gotten my license, so instead of waiting for me to get it, she sold it behind my back and said it was stolen. My grandma told me the truth two years ago."
"When I was in the sixth grade, my dad had some issues and was making bad decisions. He ended up getting busted and locked up a week before Christmas. My mom told us when we were supposed to be getting a Christmas tree. I was too young to really understand anything about illegal substances; I just knew I didn't have my dad around and wouldn't for a while. Thinking about it now, it's really not that bad. But as a kid who spent every moment I could with him, I was hurting.
During the last few months of my senior year, my gram told us she had cancer. The next few months, we all spent as much time as we could. Right after Thanksgiving, she went into hospice. on December 10, 2014, my aunt, her youngest daughter, had her first kid. My gram didn't really have the chance to meet her because she was basically a shell by that point.
I went in on Christmas Eve to say my goodbyes and all. I had it in my head that the reason she had been clinging on for so long was that we were all there all the time, that she wanted to pass on alone. So I sat and talked for a while about everything in my head; that I felt guilty for this happening to her, that I was thankful for every memory I have of her and I would pass all of that along to everyone I could, that I promised to go to college like she wanted me to. And I told her that it was okay for her to go, that we would hurt but we would make it through.
For Christmas, we decided not to spend it in hospice with her. And I think we all regretted that decision. My dad and I discussed going up to see her again, but I couldn't say goodbye a second time, and he had the same idea.
December 28, I woke up around 4 a.m. I knew that it had happened the minute I woke up. At least, I had a good feeling. I got up, sat by the woodstove and waited. Sure enough, around 7 a.m., my dad called to tell me she had passed earlier that morning.
I was close to my grammy, spent every weekend with her since I was 13. During that summer when everyone was telling her that she could beat it, she was taking me aside to tell me that she knew she wouldn't. She needed some kind of confidant that she couldn't find in her husband, kids, or my sister and cousin, and I'm glad she found that in me, an 18-year-old kid with no direction. I still think of her every day, especially this time of year. It's pretty clear that she was the glue of the family and every holiday has that Grammy shaped hole in it."
"My family has a lot of issues between each other due to years of hate and loathing that were escalated by my brother dropping out of school after years of legal trouble, helicopter parenting, and divorce.
My younger brother was getting married December 27, right after turning 18 years old. The only people from our side of the family 'allowed' to go were my parents, sister, grandmother, and me. Everyone else at the wedding was family and friends and neighbors of my sister-in-law.
I was part of the wedding, so I was upstairs, and I heard there was a commotion downstairs. I wasn't told what was happening.
My mom and dad had brought my mom's mom, who was turned away at the door, and told she was not allowed to be there and had to go home.
So my mom and dad left to take my grandma home and missed the wedding.
When they returned, my brother went off on them for missing his wedding, and my sister-in-law's mom said to me 'It's okay, you don't have to be a part of that family anymore, you can be a part of ours.' in front of my mom.
We left. My mom, my dad, my sister, my grandma, my sister's girlfriend who had to wait outside in the car, and I left.
It took over two years before my brother would speak to us, and even then it was only certain people because he was going to have a baby. They wanted to 'fix things' before bringing a child into this world.
My niece recently celebrated her first birthday. She is one of the biggest balls of joy my family knows. My brother and his wife are getting a divorce, and he still treats our mom less than human.
I personally still have issues with the fact they got married two days after Christmas, knowing that our family wasn't even welcome there. That Christmas was a mess, and I am wary of any holiday gatherings with my family since then, as it is the only time we all see each other now."
"I was a foster kid most of my life, so the gifts were always crappy, but one year when I was 11 years old, some program similar to Toys4Tots sent me a gift. It turned out to be an awesome remote control monster truck.
I was excited until the foster parents took it away and gave it to their real son, saying that it was too nice for me and I would just break it.
Their son broke it after two days.
All I got that Christmas was a coloring book (what 11-year-old still colors coloring books?)
So yeah, a potentially awesome Christmas turned into one of the worsts."
"This happened 10 years ago. My separated parents were both living at opposite ends of the country. My sister, mum, and I finally moved to my dad's town. Things were going great. A massive trip overseas was planned for my sister, dad, and me. We were meant to leave a couple days after Christmas. We stayed the night at my dad's for the first time in ages. He had a massive heart attack Christmas Eve and passed away overnight. His wife, who had a drinking problem, didn't call the ambulance. She just banged on our door to tell us our dad was dead.
When the ambulance was finally called, he still had a pulse, but was too weak to save. The last conversation with my dad was him asking if we would like a milo before bed. His funeral was the day we were meant to go on our trip. I still haven't been overseas, I still miss dad every day, and I still hate the woman he married. Christmas sucks."
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