The holiday season is stressful enough thanks to the perils of travel during the busiest time of year, but adding houseguests to this chaotic season only makes it more volatile. If you're hosting this holiday season or are a houseguest yourself and aren't relishing spending Christmas or New Year's in a shared space that feels no place like home for the holidays, the following horror stories are a little bit of schadenfreude to assure you that things could always be worse.
A NEW YEAR'S HANGOVER THAT WOULDN'T GO AWAY
In Fergus, Ontario, two houseguests invited over for a New Year's Eve party barricaded themselves inside a bedroom and didn't leave until February. Constable Marylou Schwindt of the Wellington County police said the two kept using a window as an entry and exit point until the homeowners called police. The police found marijuana, cocaine, and drug-trafficking paraphernalia in the room during a search. Both guests were arrested.
UNINVITED BY THE BOYFRIEND'S FAMILY
Denice Mancilla de Socha told Today how she had one holiday ruined by an ex-boyfriend's family after he invited her to spend the holiday with his family instead of her own. "I decided to stay, only to have him tell me on Christmas Eve that his family was not very excited about having me over because their family reunions were pretty tight, and we hadn't been together long enough. So I had to spend Christmas alone. It was horrible."
Reddit user msstark recalled a Christmas vacation rental gone wrong. "My mom rented an apartment at the beach for the holidays and invited her cousin to go spend some time with us. It was a really small apartment, with a double bed and a double sofa-bed, just enough for a family of four to spend a few days. The thing is, she told her cousin to 'spend some time,' but what she understood was 'come spend the holidays with us." The cousin, her husband, and her son arrived with nothing but their clothes and pillows and didn't go home. "Three days in, she finally realized we didn't want them there, nor was there space for seven people in the tiny apartment, and went home."
THE WORST PRESENT LEFT BY GRANDMA
A now-deleted Reddit account told the story of a particularly awful family Christmas with family members, including Grandma. "We make it around the circle opening presents for about two rounds before my grandmother gets up and leaves the room. My father spots something on the floor. it appears to be cat puke." It was not. The grandmother had defecated on the couch, dragged some remnant along with her, and created a smell that "no amount of air freshener" could fix. "Grandma comes back in the room, wearing nothing but a blanket around her lower half, the couch is covered with plastic and towels, my little sister is forced to sit next to my grandmother, and we are all expected to sit nicely and open more presents."
LAST-MINUTE SHOPPING ... IN THE HOST'S DRAWERS
Reddit user Walw2097 invited a relative over for the holidays who interpreted that invitation as an excuse to go through the hosts' rooms and drawers. "When my wife came home, she asked my wife why does she have so much make-up if she doesn't use it, and proceeded to ask if she could have some of the items she found for keeps," the poster said. Apparently, this relative's five-finger discount on post-holiday shopping didn't end there. "The same person did dig through my wife's purse on a separate occasion to look for her wallet," Walw2097 told Cheapism. "Pulled it out just to show her daughter that it was the same color that her daughter liked. She's not welcome to stay with us anymore, though we haven't explicitly told her this yet."
THE GRINCH WHO SLEPT IN THE LIVING ROOM
Christmas 2017 was tough on Reddit user time4listenermail, thanks largely to their parents. They live 60 miles away and needed a 120-mile round-trip ride to and from their child's house. "They brought the whole world with them, like 10 blankets, multiple bags, way too much clothing, several pillows, books, etc. and they only stayed one night," the poster said. Their room developed an odor, and that wasn't all, "My Mom wanted to sleep in the living room and told everyone to basically shut up and turn the Christmas music down, at like 4 p.m. during a holiday get-together."
UNINVITED, UNRULY AND UNATTENDED KIDS AT THE CHRISTMAS PARTY
Reddit user jas_mars' mother threw an adults-only Christmas party for her employees, but one worker imposed her two kids on the festivities. "One of said kids pulled down his pants and peed at the bottom of the stairway. The child's mother did absolutely nothing about it, did not clean it up, and asked if my mom had a towel for the kid to wear while my mom also washed and dried the kid's pants." Even worse, another employee ended up cleaning the child's mess as well. "Since then, there have been no more office holiday parties at my mom's house."
A PLUNGER FOR CHRISTMAS
When Reddit user Unheroic_ hosted Christmas, one guest decided to monopolize the bathroom and destroy the plumbing all at once. "My aunt clogged the toilet thrice in two hours during last year's Christmas celebrations at my place." Unsurprisingly, she's no longer welcome. "She stopped getting invitations to my family's holiday parties a few years ago due to an unrelated incident."
AN OFFICE AFTER-PARTY THAT GOT OUT OF CONTROL
Former cook Jennifer Smith said that one year, when she and her ex-husband were working at the same company, her drunk husband began inviting people from the company Christmas party to an afterparty at their home. She came home to a few dozen people drinking and smoking in her driveway, and eventually had more than 100 people in her garage — including her boss and his college-aged children. To top it off, her boss left an empty bottle of Crown Royal in her mailbox the next day with a note: "Thank you for the good times. I appreciate you looking after me and my kids."
THE HURRIED HOST
A RELUCTANT SANTA AND A TIPSY AUNT
Reddit user alyssavee traditionally celebrates Christmas Eve with all family members taking turns hosting. Eventually, her mother's eldest sister took her turn and shoved "all of us, roughly 45 people, in her basement." That night, her brother was forced to play Santa Claus for her aunt's grandchildren and initially refused, causing his aunt to label him "the ruin of these children's Christmas." Though the brother eventually relented, a cousin's wife "got profusely drunk and got into a very loud argument with my aunt because she wanted to hold a baby, while wasted, in five-and-a-half inch heels."
UNPLEASANT PRESENTS LEFT BEHIND
Mike Blaszcak wrote on Quora about receiving his worst Christmas gift about six months after Christmas. He'd invited family over for the holidays the previous year, and the guest list included two very bored 9- and 13-year-old girls from his wife's side of the family. Neither he nor his wife had time to entertain the kids and, while the adults were eating and talking, the girls went into the bathroom. As it turns out, the girls had exacted their revenge by defecating into tissues and pinching them into walls, folding them into towels, placing them in drawers and into a decorative tissue holder. When Mark informed the girls' parents, they were indifferent. "Kids do dumb stuff sometimes, but I can't recall a point in my life where I would have conceived such an idea, let alone been compelled to actually execute upon it," he said.
HOLIDAY DECORATING THAT NOBODY ASKED FOR
Reddit user grow-dat-away names her brother as the worst holiday guest of all time. He moved away when he was 19, resurfaced around age 40 and still viewed his sister as "a 12-year-old immature girl" though she was in her mid-30s. As a designer, he redesigned her house when she was at work, "destroyed a framed Edward Gorey print because of its negative energy, took an antique birdcage I had and at 4 o'clock in the morning (remember it's bitter winter) threw it off a bridge close by, and took the tin bird that was inside it and hung that with a massive fir branch on my ceiling because 'no bird wants to be caged.'" She drove him to Walmart, where he bought every container of Epsom salts on the shelves and took 10-hour baths. When he spotted an old print that his sister had taken off a wall 20 years ago, he made his sister watch him destroy it while lecturing her about people's property. "We stopped talking soon after. I just couldn't take the craziness."
CHRISTMAS DRINKING GAMES GONE AWRY
An anonymous poster at Quora was the horrible houseguest in question while studying as a foreign student at an international university. With the domestic students gone, the poster and another international student stayed behind and played a drinking game on Christmas night. The poster got very sick very quickly, went into a bathroom and, despite not being particularly religious, started chanting prayers. It didn't help, and the inevitable vomiting began. "The host later said that I was in the restroom for 40 minutes, and my periodically interrupted, but clearly audible, chanting of prayers in a foreign language was quite an unexpected addition to the festive feeling of Christmas."
A HOUSEGUEST WITH CHAMPAGNE TASTES
Kimberly Van Overmeen told Quora that she was once friends with a girl, "Annie," who had a mom that liked to shout and a "weasel of a dad." When Annie's parents left for Christmas vacation without her, Kimberly invited Annie over for the holiday. When the time came to leave, Annie became very sad and pushed Kimberly's parents to let her stay in a spare bed. However, during her stay, she'd eaten an entire package of roasted beef and fresh Filet Americaín. "It was like she was determined to make the best out of this situation and eat all our premium, expensive, and nice food, leaving nothing for the rest of us," Kimberly said. She was never invited for Christmas again.
UNRULY FESTIVITIES AND A MISSING CHRISTMAS TREE
When Reddit user dmkicksballs13 left Michigan with family for Christmas, their mother allowed a brother's friend to watch the house. When the family returned, the house was strewn with beer cans, cigarette butts, and dry vomit, but the family Christmas tree was missing. "The dude said he didn't realize the tree was gone, but he did say that some guy took our house phone and chucked it into the canal behind our house 'to look cool.'"
TOO MUCH CHEER AND A WINE-STAINED CARPET
DUCT-TAPED DIAPERS, FIGHTS, AND FIREWORKS
Reddit user helicopterwindow went into significant detail telling a story about a woman from their kids' playgroup inviting the poster's family over for Christmas dinner. That dinner was spent listening to the hosts skewer each other with stories about how "Kim" cheated when her husband was out of the country and "Greg" racked up credit card bills. Dinner was eaten on a couch off of paper plates as the hosts' children ran around in full, duct-taped diapers. Kim talked her way into spending New Year's Eve at the guests' house, and asked a night earlier if they could bring fireworks to the party. The ensuing melee featured children screaming, "Greg" hoarding meats, and "Kim" picking fights with her husband. When brownies came out of the oven for dessert, "Kim" and "Greg" got into a physical fight over them before pausing just long enough to light up the lawn with fireworks. They were kicked out after the fireworks display, though the damage had been done. "They were late, rude, broke a lot of things, ruined my rug, fought, let their kids break things and run wild, tracked mud throughout my house, and coated my lawn with firework debris illegally," the poster said. "We haven't had any desire to be social again."
THE THIRSTY TURKEY THIEF
D. Jones wrote on Quora about deciding to spend one Christmas doing a good deed for a single friend. Jones and his wife made him dinner, shared a case of beer with him, and let him sleep on the couch. The day after Christmas, they left for work and told their guest to "sleep it off" and help himself to a meal. The guest rewarded them by finishing the beer, messing up the bathroom, leaving all of the empties, and taking all of the Christmas leftovers with him. "One of the greatest pleasures in my life is coming home and having a turkey sandwich the next day for dinner," Jones says. "We never invited him back."
A GIFT THAT KEEPS GIVING
Reddit user saturdaysadsack recalled one Christmas Eve following a move into a new apartment, when their parents came to stay. That evening, the mother proceeded to eat half a tin of fudge despite her husband's warning: "You know what happens!" While watching midnight Mass from Vatican City on TV, the commenter noticed strange noises emanating from his mom's direction before she yelled "I need the bathroom!" and started to get up. She didn't make it to the bathroom in time, and diarrhea ruined her flannel nightgown, the light-colored carpet, the walls, the couch, a kitchenette, and a nativity scene. Since the commenter had just moved in, a 2 a.m. trip was required for cleaning supplies, followed by four hours of cleaning. "When I woke up around noon, Mom was sitting in the kitchen, eating more fudge. I walked over to her, took the tin of fudge, dumped what was left in the trash, and took it to the dumpster outside. We never spoke of the incident again."
CHRISTMAS SOUP'S ON (THE FLOOR)
Reddit user SexyPenguin100th's family likes to stay up until midnight on Christmas Eve. One year at 10 p.m., cousin "Joe" shows up. Joe, who "is known for being an idiot," demanded that his mom leave to go "take care of something." When she refused, Joe took his mother's soup, threw it on the floor, and said, "We're leaving right now." He was eventually kicked out by an uncle. "Lesson here is don't throw other people's soup while you're in a guests house." Did that cousin ever show up again? "I've only ever seen him once since then and I feel like it's all behind us now," the poster told Cheapism.
CRAPPY HOLIDAYS IN THE CAN
Shaunette Lepisi uses the word "gross" no less than three times to discuss her most revolting houseguest experience on Quora. Her brother invited her in-laws one year, and the family removed the trash can from the bathroom. Apparently, the in-laws in question don't flush their toilet paper and feces when they defecate. Instead, they just leave it all face-up in the trash. After the family holiday party, Shaunette's mother smells something odd in the bathroom and finds a plastic bag filled with feces underneath the sink. "To this day I still don't get why his in-law just couldn't flush it down the toilet."
GRANDPA BECOMES THE CHEESECAKE GRINCH
Six years ago, a now-deleted Reddit user's mother made a caramel, walnut, chocolate and vanilla marble-swirled cheesecake and apple pie for Christmas. The family and treats went to the poster's grandparents' house, where everyone ate so much at Christmas dinner three-quarters of the cheesecake remained. Though the family agreed to evenly divide the remaining desserts, somehow nobody went home with any of the cheesecake. "Upon texting my mom's sister, who got home and discovered the same thing, we realized my grandfather took all the cheesecake. the sneaky bastard," the poster said. The grandmother was furious and woke up the grandfather from a deep, cheesecake-aided slumber to make him give back the rest of the cake. "We got all of our cheesecake back. He got none of it.."
FORCED TO BE THE BROTHER'S KEEPER
A few years back, reader Bothered Brother wrote to Washington Post columnist Amy Dickinson for help with his holiday houseguests: A brother and his teenage children who stay for three to five days each holiday. Though educated and generally thoughtful, they tend to become ill-mannered during their stay by piling dishes in the sink, putting glassware near — but not in — the dishwasher, leaving lights on, piling up dirty laundry, and leaving a mess that takes the better part of a day to clean once they've gone. Amy's take? Simply ask them to do what you want them to do. A passive-aggressive holiday isn't anyone's idea of a good time.
AN AWKWARD CHRISTMAS MORNING ARRIVAL
Reddit poster fifteenwordsforsnow likely wishes it was Santa Claus who arrived at his house on Christmas morning a few years ago. "A friend of my step-dad's was over early Christmas morning to drop something off, and he decided to stay for the family present opening ... Just sat off to the side, outside of our circle, and quietly laughed when we did." For this trouble, the interloping guest earned a jolly little holiday moniker of his own: "F------ Gary."
BYE, GRUMPY GRANDMA
In 2011, a 16-year-old Reddit user with a now-deleted account, spent two weeks of Christmas break with her aunt and grandmother. The grandmother was described as "kinda crazy" and lived up to the reputation one day while the poster's mom was at work. She spent two hours berating her and her sister with such lovely bon mots as, "Some days I feel like telling you both to jump off a bridge, and my God if I tell you to, you'll do it" and "You're both spoiled brats with no respect for anyone." The aunt chimed in until the poster "broke down and cried the hardest I've ever cried (and I'm sure my grandmother loved it.)" The poster texted her mother, asking if she and her sister could stay at her dad's house for the next few nights. The mother refused, but had a change of heart once the grandmother and aunt left. "As soon as my mom got home from work we told her everything, and now I might not see my grandmother anymore," the poster said. "Apparently when I was born my mom made my grandma promise not to act this way around me and any future children, and she's broken that promise."
HOME NOT-QUITE ALONE
The year after Reddit user's kittylorelli's grandmother died, their aunt asked if she could invite her sister-in-law, who was alone on Christmas. The family agreed, but the sister-in-law brought not only her family of six, but her four adult children's partners. Most family members brought extra chairs for the occasion and both starters and desserts served in waves. What did the lonely guests bring? "A small casserole."
WATCH YOUR STEP
Justine Adlhoch noted on Quora that one holiday season, her father's friend stayed on the couch after spending the night drinking at a place nearby. Her father kept a Christmas tree in the living room lit so his friend could find his way around the house. In the middle of the night, she heard something fall and hit the ground multiple times. The following morning, she woke up very early and went downstairs just as her dad's friend was leaving. He left quietly, but she noticed that the door to the bathroom was close to the door to the basement and its very steep stairs. When she opened the basement door, all of the toilet paper they stacked on the side of the basement door was at the bottom of the stairs. "When my dad woke up, he asked why the lights of the Christmas tree were turned off," she said. "Then it all clicked: My mom had turned the Christmas lights off before going to bed." The friend never spoke of it again, and neither did the family.
A MIDWINTER DIP IN THE POOL
Darlene Southern recalled on Quora, "We lived in Ohio and had an in-ground pool in back that we would winterize, complete with an elastic top that covered it. One winter we had about three feet of snow cloaking the ground and my brother had a business acquaintance from China visiting. It was Christmas, so my brother invited the gentleman to join our family Christmas dinner. While we were involved in festivities, the visitor apparently went for a walk outside. He appeared shortly after soaked up to his thighs. He didn't realize that the fenced-in area he entered contained a snow-covered pool and he had walked out on the pool cover. It sank under his weight. Thank goodness the bands anchoring it to the pool deck held or he might have drowned!"