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15 Family traditions from films that are way more embarrassing than yours

The holidays herald many wonderful things, like cheer and eggnog, but they also generally include at least one dreaded family tradition. Think yours is the dorkiest? Check out these family traditions from films and think again.

The Griswolds from Christmas Vacation are responsible for several embarrassing spots on our list, thanks to Hallmark moments like this one. Nothing says togetherness like your eyelids freezing shut while traipsing through the snow to pick out a Christmas tree bigger than a Buick… for which you forgot the saw.

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Don’t get us wrong… we love a rousing board game during the holidays. In Four Christmases, though, the tradition is made mortifying by an overzealous mother with a Taboo buzzer. Don’t even get us started on the mother’s sexually charged turn (after this scene) with her son’s former classmate. Yikes.

Whenever you feel like you’re having your huge family together in the same house for the holidays, just remember — it could always be worse. You could be forced every year to share a bed in the attic with your Pepsi-guzzling little cousin and his tiny bladder.

Sure, this little tradition from The Holiday is pretty adorable from the outside looking in. After all, it is Jude Law — that guarantees at least a modicum of cuteness. But let’s put ourselves in his shoes. No one is making you cover your face in a slightly soiled napkin and smoke a spoon pipe.

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Does your family wear matching, oversize red cable-knit sweaters for Christmas? And mock turtlenecks, no less? We think not. The annual Stewart family uniform a la View From the Top is a tad too much for us.

Having to see your parents and a bunch of other elder family members dressed up as “tarts and vicars” for your annual reunion is embarrassing enough, but Bridget Jones being the only one who shows up in costume (as a slutty bunny, to boot), thanks to a creepy uncle, is the stuff sheer mortification is made of.

Thankfully, there are some family traditions you probably didn’t find out about until you were grown and out of the house. Your parents waiting until the last minute to shop and then acting like bloodthirsty savages while in pursuit of your impossible to get wish list is one of those traditions.

Lots of people go sledding over the holidays — it’s a fun family activity. Just thank your lucky stars your dad doesn’t grease up the sled like Clark Griswold, and blaze through town and into the local Walmart.

So maybe that one thing you really wanted didn’t make its way under the tree this year. At least you don’t have to model a footed pink bunny suit from your Aunt Clara in front of the entire family like poor Ralphie in A Christmas Story.

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We don’t mean any disrespect to Scandinavian mores, but wearing a candle-adorned head wreath, talking about women burning at the stake and eating parsnip kringlors that date back to the 4th century sounds like a Christmas tradition we’d be suppressing in our memories for years to come.

They say Christmas brings out the best in some people. Clearly, this doesn’t refer to mothers on a mission to honor tradition by making their family’s favorite foods. Just ask Jamie Lee Curtis’ character in Christmas With the Kranks.

We’re not sure what makes for the more embarrassing family tradition in Surviving Christmas: being the family who lets themselves be rented out for Christmas or being the guy who rents them to fake Christmas nostalgia. Although, what’s a little humiliation when there’s a cool $250K on the table?

Think those fuzzy socks your grandma gets you every year are bad? Would you rather be gifted 5 pounds of veal and a side of festering resentment each Christmas? We thought not.

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How embarrassing can this Christmas Vacation scenario be? Let us count the ways… Grandpa “freezing his baguettes off,” Grandma boozing it up, standing on the snow-covered lawn in your PJs or the ostentatious drum roll followed by failure — and then later causing a blackout. Nice.


These guys have more mortifying family traditions than Santa has reindeer. If your family has to submit Christmas requests in writing, you’ve gone too far. If you tape antlers to horses’ heads, you’ve gone too far. If you can see your house from space (much like the Griswolds), you’ve definitely gone too far.

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