We got some famous faces to lay bare the misery behind the mistletoe once and for all
Russell Kane, Comedian
My worst Christmas experience was without a doubt my first Christmas staying at a girlfriend’s house. Once there, I fell into a sort of social paralysis; an awkwardness that felled me. I was too shy to eat, brush my teeth or speak. And the one thing I definitely couldn’t contemplate was using their loo.
Things came to a head on Christmas day. I’ve been in a few terrifying situations in my life, but the adrenaline I felt when I realised I’d utterly blocked the loo of my girlfriend’s uptight parents was so fierce I almost had to use the lavvy again. After my second attempted flush, a dam formed and the water lurched dangerously close to the alabaster rim of the toilet.
I genuinely had no clue what to do. The quandary had gone beyond the scope of a toilet brush. After five or 10 minutes of blind trouserless panic, I did the unthinkable: gambled a third flush. The dirty tsunami swelled up out of the loo and flooded the entire bathroom with a diabolical belch of foul liquid. I stood there, actually crying, my ankles lapping in a reservoir of brown disappointment.
This was my worst Christmas day ever. No eye contact was made over the Turkey. No charades were played. It was a dark, dark day.
Russell Kane Live is out now on DVD. Russell will be touring his new show Right Man, Wrong Age across the UK in spring 2016
Shaun Keaveny, DJ
My most nightmarish Christmas was in 1984, the year Orwell set his fictional dystopia. In Leigh Lancashire, the miner’s strike was decimating the North, but on the upside I got a black Raleigh Ultra Burner for Christmas. Life couldn't get much better for a 12 year old. While we went off to church like dutiful Irish Catholics, our beloved dog, Max, had knocked the chip pan off the hob and enthusiastically consumed the entire congealed lard contents. He spent the rest of Christmas Day under the table, re-introducing the animal fat to the shoes of our many guests. In the words of Slade, "SO HERE IT IS, MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY'S FEET ARE COVERED IN DOG SICK". Happy days.
Nick Helm, Comedian
I don't have any horrific Christmas stories that I want to share with the general public as they all end with me crying on my own in my bedroom. So how about this instead? When I was in my early twenties, my sister was out in Japan doing a TEFL Course and my Mum and Dad went out to visit her, leaving me home alone in St. Albans.
Rather than it being the disastrous scene of self-pity and alcoholism that it could have been, it was quite a relaxed and civil affair. Of course now that I spend nearly every day by myself, the novelty has worn off, but back then it was a welcome oasis of calm and reflection. Hardly any arguments for a start. I woke up at a reasonable time, 10am, drank two bottles of Bucks Fizz in front of the TV watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation before going down to the pub for a pint and then having Christmas dinner round my friend’s house. No tears. No fuss. Noel.
Greg James, DJ
As a nipper at Radio 1 a few years ago, I was entrusted with the coveted 6am Christmas Day Breakfast Show, which is live. I stupidly decided to stay in the pub way too late on Christmas Eve with some of my old school friends and then had to limp in to work on the big day and cheerily speak to small children on the phone who told me what Father Christmas had brought them. I wanted to die.
James Gill, ShortList writer/Comedian
My tale of boozy festive woe is also the same reason I don’t drink anymore. There was a tradition among an old group of friends where we’d go on a big pub crawl on Christmas Eve. By last orders, we were convinced that buying a curry and taking it to our local church for Midnight Mass was definitely a good idea. By the second hymn, I’d had my poppadums forcibly taken off me by a member of the congregation. By the third hymn, I couldn’t physically stand up. Was there a fourth hymn? No idea. I was carried home and left draped, face down, on my parents’ drive.
My family returned from a non-ironic Midnight Mass to see their little soldier unconscious. I have to trust the testament of eye witnesses as to the veracity of what happened next, but apparently my beloved Gran – in whose eyes I could previously do no wrong – stood over my limp, prostate body and both walloped and shouted at me for some time as my family looked on, slack-jawed. Christmas Dinner was a disaster – not only could I not eat due to my thunderous hangover, but no one talked to me all day.
I’ve been sober ever since.
Jimmy Bullard, Ex-footballer and broadcaster
My worst Christmas? Clear winner. It was 2003, I'd just signed for Wigan and all my dreams came true. I’d just moved into my new gaff in Orrell and invited the parents and in-laws up. I wanted to go big on the first Christmas in my new house. The only problem was I couldn't cook. Things went about as well as you can imagine. I burnt the turkey to a crisp and we all ended up having beans on toast.
To top it all off, there had been a sick bug going round the club and I'd had it worse than anyone. As I bent over and binned the turkey my behind went off like a Christmas cracker and the rest is history. I spent the rest of the evening cleaning the brand new cream carpet. Absolute shocker. Never done a Crimbo dinner since. We go round my mums every year now, she does 3 meats, pigs in blankets, home-made puddings. It’s an absolute winner.
Jimmy Bullard Kick Off airs Fridays at 7pm on London Live