Strange Family Christmas Traditions

Color image of a little girl wearing a Santa hat and an ugly Christmas sweater, with a stressed/overwhelmed face.
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Color image of a little girl wearing a Santa hat and an ugly Christmas sweater, with a stressed/overwhelmed face.

Every family has a very specific way of celebrating Christmas. One person's smash and grab 6am stocking raid is another's yuletide horror. Some people like bread sauce, other people would rather die than have a jug of cat vomit on the table. You say free range goose, I say Iceland beef garland. FIGHT!

But some of our most deeply ingrained family traditions can just be plain weird, and far too embarrassing to be talked about in public. And it seems that in some households, Christmas is the strangest time of all.

So, what festive dysfunctional behaviour does YOUR family get up to at Christmas?

Do you have a ceremonial peeling of the sprouts? Dress up as reindeer and sit on the roof? Well the truth is, you're all even weirder than that – so much so, that a few of you would prefer to remain anonymous...

Bizarre creative endeavours

"We write and read out ghost stories on Christmas Eve," says Daisy. "A couple of years ago an old man from church was invited to lunch and asked my little sister inappropriate questions about her sex life. So everyone's stories included a pervy ghost. That was good."

"Our Christmas family tradition is to act out a short play by Richard Curtis called 'Skinhead Hamlet.' Every other word is the f-word. When we did it for the Quaker relatives, it went down a storm."

Sing-a-long-a weirdness

"We have homeless people for lunch and sing 'While Shepherd Watch Their Flocks' to the tune of Ikley Moor Bar Tat," admits Lucy, somewhat sheepishly. "We also sing and perform 'Wild Colonial Boy' using kitchen implements as props."

Strange food

"It's obligatory to have hot dogs for lunch on the 24th," says Michaela. "My husband's parents always had a Christmas Eve supper party and gave the kids hot dogs for lunch for ease. It was an instant tradition and now I have to do the same for our family."

"We decorated our Christmas tree with mushrooms," says Cath. "It seemed normal at the time."

"My friend Kathy lets her children choose the food. She's had chocolate and spaghetti for Christmas dinner."

Dodgy games

"My ex's family are very keen on parlour games, including a sinister one called Come And Sit On MY Knee," says Kate. "It goes like this: 1. Someone is it and leaves room. Remaining players decide whose knee is it. Player returns to room. 2. Everyone chants 'come and sit on MY knee' like absolute creepy nutters, while rhythmically slapping knees. 3. The 'It' player has to decide whose knee to sit on amid the melee, and it all repeats until they find the right one. 4. Book intensive therapy immediately after. It's all a bit...'yuletree."

Dad's heartwarming turn as Santa

"My dad would 'go visit the children in the hospital' on the afternoon of Christmas and completely miss the giving out of all the presents," says Vique. "And then a "friend of Santa" would arrive to distribute the presents. My dad would be either in drag as a fairy, or in a rented costume. We children would not suspect a thing. I have pics of me at 18 months with him as a fairy and me aged 2 1/2 with him as a giant cat. Apparently the black cat costume with brown socks and a gap showing was not noticed by a two-year-old."

"For some reason I used to think that Santa was a member of the IRA (being Catholic and Irish probably) so one Christmas aged six, I rigged up a booby trap in my bedroom, made of bits of string tied to the bed," says Jane. "At 1am I was woken by the sound of swearing and yelling as 'Santa' crashed to the ground sending parcels everywhere.

"Just as I was about to start screaming, my mother stuck her head round the door hissing: 'Don't make such a feckin' noise, Santa you eejit!' followed by lots of drunken giggling. I had no idea that my mum knew Santa so well. It took another two years before I worked out that my dad's writing and Santa's was very similar."

Evil angels

"My mum brought a 3ft Carol-singing mechanical angel back from America (it even had its own seat on the plane). Except when she plugged it in here, something was wired up wrong and now, every year, it sings 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' whilst its head spins 360 degrees."

Naked crackers

"Once we had a naked Christmas. Just me and my husband wearing nowt but party hats," says Lesley. "The passengers of a 227 bus that stopped at the lights outside got a very merry Christmas."

And finally...

"We always have a birthday cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus. Is that weird?"


What's your weird Christmas tradition?