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Christmas disasters

(83 Posts)
MayBeMaw Thu 25-Nov-21 11:38:10

Inspired by Sago’s organisation, I thought there was room for a thread on the things which have gone wtong over the years.
One I shall never forget was how some years ago I had to make a mercy dash to Scotland in mid-December (a full days drive) to get my father into a care home as he realised he was not coping alone even with carers, so I drove up Thursday, did a headless chicken act with care homes in the town, SS etc and moved him in on Saturday. We were lucky. One had a room - not necessarily the home I might have chosen but it was friendly and in the town centre.
Drove home on Sunday as I was still teaching part time and due back at work on Monday. Being organised, I had done all my Christmas food shopping, bar the cream and fresh stuff and my huge chest freezer in the garage was stuffed to the gunwales.
And the red warning light was on.
The contents represented several hundred ££££ worth of shopping as I had taken advantage of “shop early” offers as well as my own baking, and I had no idea how I could even afford to replace it at short notice and we were hosting everybody including DH’s mum, his sisters, our nephew as well as our girls else over Christmas. However, I was lucky, it was very cold weather and my lovely repair man told me to cover it with a blanket to keep the cold in and came out on later that Monday to replace the motor/compressor/gizmo and all I lost was the smoked salmon on the very top.

Then there was the Christmas I accidentally placed two identical internet orders with Ocado and Waitrose because I thought one had not gone through.
I could have opened a shop and we were eating Christmas food through to the end of January.

aggie Thu 25-Nov-21 12:59:45

Every Christmas presented different disasters , ranging from the timer didn’t work and the oven didn’t come on , to dropping the bloody thing on taking it out of said (red hot ) oven .
The first year that nothing happened everyone reminisced on all the previous years and we laughed so much that I had sore ribs
The worst year was when one of my Daughters had flu , but bravely?? Soldiered on and we were all I’ll after the seasonal jollity, except for Oh who ate at a race of knots and left early to visit his sister !

Deedaa Thu 25-Nov-21 13:05:50

A couple of years ago I had stocked up early on a lot of Christmas food. Some was frozen and some was in the fridge. I went out for the day with DD and her family and when I got home I found the fridge door hadn't closed properly and the temperature was about 20 degrees. I was faced with a whole lot of stuff that had to be eaten now, and then of course, replaced.

Purplepixie Thu 25-Nov-21 13:08:57

One year my DH (at that time) invited all of his family and omitted to tell me until Christmas Eve! I was expecting our first at the time and could have done with going out for the day! Luckily I had lots of frozen vegetables in the freezer and the turkey was huge. My mam and his mam joined forces, rolled up their sleeves and did most of it for me. THEN the gravy was placed in a Pyrex dish and put on the sink side. Hot met cold and it exploded!!!!!!!!!!! Hell!!! It was the last straw and it is a wonder that I didnt go into labour. Luckily all the food was covered and we all gathered together and cleaned up the mess. More gravy was made. No one was hurt! THEN my MIL dropped the christmas pudding and my mam stood on it! One of our neighbours came to the rescue with a couple of christmas puddings that she had and the custard was made. We laughed about it for ages after infact I had hysterics at one point!

NanaandGrampy Thu 25-Nov-21 14:19:20

This brings back memories lol

Early on in our marriage when I was still a novice in the turkey dept , I cooked a huge turkey for a family gathering. I got the tin out of the oven and had the 'inspired' idea of shoving a rolling pin inside to lift it out of the pan and drain off any juices.

The initial insertion went swimmingly, I tilted the turkey and then turned to slide the turkey off onto a platter. I obviously turned too fast because the slippery little sucker flew off my rolling pin and - to the the Dam Busters tune in my head -bounced down the length of the kitchen like a bouncing bomb!! It hit one dog on the way , careered off the other and hit the radiator as if we were under nuclear attack!!

Both dogs were too stunned by the assault to tear after it so fortunately I got it before them.

There was nothing for it , with guests imminent but to rinse it off under the tap and hope for the best !!

Took weeks to clear up every scrap of turkey fat that had decorated the kitchen and I have to say every time someone said - the turkeys lovely and moist I grinned !!

Grandmabatty Thu 25-Nov-21 14:25:38

When I was growing up, we had neighbours with a disabled son. Every Christmas, my parents would visit them for a "little drink" which inevitably was more than they could handle. Christmas dinner was usually missing some ingredient. One year it was all the vegetables which still lay on the chopping board.
The year I had my son in late November we decided we would have Christmas dinner as a new family of three. I opened up the turkey on Christmas morning and the smell hit me! It was rancid. Fortunately we stayed walking distance from my parents so we had a decent dinner after all.

Littleannie Thu 25-Nov-21 14:35:06

I had one of the worst colds ever. I had guests coming, so had to cook the Christmas dinner. I staggered from bed to the kitchen, threw the turkey in the tin, opened the oven door, and the oven packed up. No way of cooking the turkey. I stood there and howled, drank 3 glasses of sherry, and felt a bit better. I had no cooking facilities until the New Year, as I couldn't get anyone out to repair it. I am always a nervous wreck on Christmas morning in case it happens again. It couldn't, could it?

Minerva Thu 25-Nov-21 14:36:30

I can’t think of any real disasters though having my mother and her sister-in-law at the same table during their last decade was always a trial, mother glowering and auntie desperately ignoring her. It was Mother’s fault and we couldn’t leave either of them home alone on Christmas Day.
The nearest we came to a ruined meal was the year sometime in the 90s that our area had a three hour power cut from mid morning on Christmas Day. Lunch became supper but as I remember it we had a fun day as always. Fortunately it was just our family and the family next door so lots of children and no cross old ladies to contend with.

theworriedwell Thu 25-Nov-21 14:41:26

I worked with someone who came into work after Christmas not very happy. He explained that with all his family there for Christmas dinner he stood at the head of the table, put the knife into the turkey to start carving and green pus shot out. Apparently it was an abcess. They had a mainly vegetarian Christmas dinner but the pigs in blankets saved the day.

Forty years later I always do two meats for Christmas just in case.

theworriedwell Thu 25-Nov-21 14:42:32

Just thought my other one was the glass in the oven door shattering on Christmas Eve. I packed it with foil and managed to cook the turkey but I think I used alot of electricity.

Josianne Thu 25-Nov-21 15:00:13

The mishaps might seem disastrous at the time, but they do provide us with laughs years later.
My worst disaster was at embarrassingly at school where we had laid out all the sandwiches and cakes for the children. Many yummy treats had been lovingly provided by parents. My husband entered dressed as Father Christmas with Rudolph our golden retriever wearing antlers and bells. In the middle of the long winded present giving, one of the children put her hand up and announced, "Mrs. W, is Rudolph allowed to eat all the party food?" Exit one reindeer very quickly with a full stomach, while I shot off to Tesco as fast as I could.

MaggsMcG Thu 25-Nov-21 15:10:08

One year I had to look after two small children and keep them occupied as my other half had tonsilitus and stayed in bed all Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Another year we had a bit more money to spare and decided to have a fresh turkey from the butchers instead of our usual frozen butterball. It was horrible, even though we followed the instructions on how to cook it to the letter, it was dry and very salty. We stuck to frozen from then on it always tasted lovely.

Soroptimum Thu 25-Nov-21 15:11:04

We always cooked the turkey as per Saint Delia in a foil tent. Usually worke ok, but one year must have got the timings wrong. Called into the kitchen by DH to view what could only be described as roadkill - turkey completely collapsed with ribs sticking out. We have a turkey crown now!

MrsEggy Thu 25-Nov-21 15:26:14

One year we had a Christmas tree potted up, roots and all, which surprisingly survived the season so we planted it in the garden. Next December it was still alive and green, so DH dug it up and we repotted it, brought it indoors and decorated it for Christmas. We piled the presents around the base and all was well till Christmas morning, when we came downstairs to find the hall, and the presents, alive with ants! They must have been dormant in the roots of the tree, and the warmth of the house convinced them it was summer and time to emerge!

Oldnproud Thu 25-Nov-21 17:44:23

The oven door flew off on my hand halfway through cooking Christmas Dinner.

LauraNorderr Thu 25-Nov-21 17:55:50

I honestly can’t remember any Christmas Day disasters. Perhaps I am a domestic goddess after all.

LauraNorderr Thu 25-Nov-21 17:56:36

Or I have a very poor memory. You decide.

Dottygran59 Thu 25-Nov-21 18:03:15

Oh nanaandgrampy - I howled with laughter reading this - they're all fab tales and really cheered me up after a rotten day - was going to copy and paste it and e mail to my (much younger) colleagues but I think it's only us grans that will get the reference to the dambusters - still chuckling now

Sago Thu 25-Nov-21 19:22:17

5 years ago we were having Xmas day on Boxing Day to fit in with our AC.
For some reason unbeknown to me my husband took the turkey out of the fridge before he came to bed.
I came down at 7.00 am to a very smelly Kelly Bronze turkey.
I was in M&S as soon as they opened a managed to get a replacement marked down to about £25.

lemongrove Thu 25-Nov-21 19:24:19


When I was growing up, we had neighbours with a disabled son. Every Christmas, my parents would visit them for a "little drink" which inevitably was more than they could handle. Christmas dinner was usually missing some ingredient. One year it was all the vegetables which still lay on the chopping board.
The year I had my son in late November we decided we would have Christmas dinner as a new family of three. I opened up the turkey on Christmas morning and the smell hit me! It was rancid. Fortunately we stayed walking distance from my parents so we had a decent dinner after all.

? Sounds like an episode of ‘The Cockfields’....maybe the Christmas one this year?
It’s fatal to drink too much and then have an important meal to prepare (I speak from experience!)

Urmstongran Thu 25-Nov-21 19:35:13

Maw I’m only halfway down this thread THANK YOU so much for the idea of this! - Nanna&Grampy with her ‘turkey on a stick’ had me laughing so much I’ve given myself a coughing jag‼️ Worth it though. I ❤️ these kind of threads they really are so funny and the best!
Continuing now ...

Curlywhirly Thu 25-Nov-21 20:03:03


I honestly can’t remember any Christmas Day disasters. Perhaps I am a domestic goddess after all.

Welcome back LauraNorder!

The only Christmas disaster I've had is a knock at the door late afternoon on Christmas day - it was my FIL complete with suitcase! He and MIL had had a huge barney (which wasn't unusual, they had a very volatile relationship) and as we lived quite near, he'd decided to come and stay with us for a few days. He'd not had any Christmas Dinner (poor man) so I cobbled together a meal from the copious leftovers. He ended up staying for 3 weeks, and only left after my husband persuaded his sister (who also lived near) to take him in. It was many weeks before he finally went home!

M0nica Thu 25-Nov-21 20:19:10

I bought a frozen turkey well in advance of Christmas from a local dairy/shop. On Christmas Eve I thought when I defrosted it that it smelt a bit and was a bit slimy. DH said he couldn't smell anything, it was just me. I prepared it for the big day, stuffing etc, wrapped it in foil and put it in the garden shed.

At about 3.00pm, DMiL arrived, when we had welcomed her she asked if she could see the turkey. I took her out to the shed, the smell, was beyond belief and there were blow flies on the turkey.

DH and I grabbed the turkey, in the pan, put it in the boot of the car and drove the several hundred yards to the shop. DMiL went to the local butcher, who was even nearer and bought a brace of pheasant.

The shop was just shutting as we arrived. Oh, no, they said, not another. They had bought a dozen turkeys from a different supplier in October and ours was the third to be returned. As I said they were just shutting and had one uncollected turkey in the freezer, which they gave to us and immediately put the 'shut' sign up.

We took our frozen turkey home and immediately started our fast defrost programme: stand the turkey on end in a bucket of hot water, changed every 10 minutes, while pouring boiling water in the stuffing end until you can manage to open up that cavity and then continue the hotwater treatment inside and out until the turkey is defrosted. We managed it by bedtime - and Christmas life went back to normal.

We had the pheasant for Boxing Day lunch.

Urmstongran Thu 25-Nov-21 20:39:59

I’d have swapped the dinners - pheasant for Christmas Day and the (by then) defrosted turkey on BD! And had a less stressful Christmas Eve ?

annodomini Thu 25-Nov-21 20:41:52

A week before Christmas, DS2 was 'up north' on business and arranged to take me back with him to spend Christmas with the family. All my luggage and Christmas things were neatly arranged by the door to be loaded into his boot. Arrived at the family's home and...where was the Christmas cake? I was planning to decorate it on arrival, but not a chance! Arrived home in January and there was the bag, with the cake still in its tin. A good fruit cake will keep almost infinitely especially if well laced with brandy which it was. It lived on in the freezer and made a triumphant appearance the following Christmas.