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While Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on what you’re grateful for, there’s no denying that much can go wrong when returning home to family and old friends. And although the holiday means something different to everyone, Thanksgiving is where the best and wildest stories can be found. Personally, my Thanksgivings are filled with very loud relatives and plenty of vegan jokes. At this point, I’ve learned to look past these (totally unoriginal) jokes and noisy antics, but sometimes, your friends and family’s quirky behavior can create the funniest memories. 

From side dish mishaps to awkward convos with distant relatives, Thanksgiving can bring on plenty of chaos that makes for great stories. You never know what will happen during the holidays, but one thing is for sure — drama is bound to ensue. After all, isn’t that what loved ones are for? That’s why I’ve sought out to find a few wild Thanksgiving stories that’ll have you laughing, reminiscing, and waiting for the holiday to arrive. No need for New Year’s Eve to look back on the funniest holiday moments, besties. The Her Campus community shared their wildest Thanksgiving stories for us to enjoy, so keep on reading for a laugh (or two).

Mashed Potato Mishap

“My lovely grandmother accidentally put icing into the mashed potatoes last Thanksgiving Eve. None of us cousins had the heart to tell her she made them wrong and the next night we got to watch our family members look around in confusion as they tasted the world’s sugariest potatoes ever.” — Emma, 21, student at University of Missouri

Holiday Heartbreak

“When I was 15, I had my first boyfriend. We had been seeing each other for seven months, and my family had been asking about him. We planned for holiday visits [and] birthday gifts, but just before my dad’s birthday, [which was on] Thanksgiving Eve, we fought. He broke up with me that night. My first breakup, and first uncomfortable holiday family dinner.” — Dani, 21, student at University of Pennsylvania

Thanksgiving TEa

“When my cousin and I were both 17, we went to a Thanksgiving Eve dinner with my mom and our aunt. They ended up drinking a little too much wine and started spilling all of the family secrets. They continued talking about their other sister (my cousin’s mom), accidentally revealing that she had been previously married. It turns out that my cousin had no idea about it! They totally made it out to be a Romeo and Juliet type of thing (parents didn’t like each other) but stopped spilling the tea after they realized she didn’t know. I don’t think my cousin has asked her mom about it to this day.” — Anonymous 

Raw Turkey Season?

“One year, we had to do Thanksgiving a night early since we were seeing both sides of my parents’ families and couldn’t be in two places at once. All was going well until it was time to pull the turkey out of the oven… and it was still basically raw. My grandpa had been messing with the heat of the oven all morning and was getting super impatient and wanted to take it out, so when he started carving it up, there was no going back. We all sat down to dinner but no one touched the turkey — my grandfather included. The side dishes were the main event that year.” — Rylie, 22, graduate from Loyola Marymount University

Olive Oil Icebreaker

“My uncle was joining our family for Thanksgiving for the first time ever as he was a recovering alcoholic and I didn’t know him as well when he was struggling with his addiction. He gets there and it’s kind of awkward, so we’re all trying to make polite conversation. My dad is in charge of cooking most of the food, so he’s running around trying to make sure all the food is perfect. My dad pulls out a full bottle of olive oil from the cabinet and in his cooking-fueled anxiety, he drops it on the kitchen floor and it shatters — olive oil everywhere. I’m wearing a dress so they don’t expect me to help with cleanup, but my uncle and my dad are down on all fours trying to clean up the slippery mess. If you didn’t know, olive oil is incredibly hard to effectively clean up. My uncle looks up at me and my sisters from the kitchen floor and says, “You know, this would be A LOT funnier if I were still drinking.” Boom, the ice was broken and we had a lovely Thanksgiving together. We’ve talked about the olive oil incident every year since.” — Leena, 21, student at DePauw University

Thanksgiving Surprise!

“We felt like we wanted something different for Thanksgiving last year, so we decided to celebrate it at my best friend’s place. I thought of surprising her. It’s my favorite holiday and I’m obsessed with my favorite pies and coffee. Turns out when we reached her place, she was at our place since she thought of surprising us, too. So, after this funny coincidence, we decided to celebrate at our favorite restaurant.” — Anonymous

Madison Bailey

App State '23

Madison Bailey is a national writer at Her Campus Media focusing on all things style, beauty, and lifestyle. She works closely with the style and lifestyle verticals at Her Campus, including reviews, roundups, sustainable style, and pop-culture. After graduating from Appalachian State University in May 2023 where she was Campus Coordinator of Her Campus at App State, Madison has written for Teen Vogue, Modeliste Magazine, Global Garbs, and more. Her time as Head Writer for The Collective Magazine, Appalachian State’s fashion and culture magazine, sparked her passion for the exciting world of fashion. She is currently in marketing at Modeliste Magazine where she’s able to celebrate her favorite things; fashion, beauty, celebrities, influencer style, and travel. In her free time, you can find Madison soaking in all the beauty that the blue ridge mountains have to offer. Or, when she’s not writing, you can find her thrifting, sipping a raspberry matcha, or cooking her favorite vegan meals!