A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

7 True Stories About Funny Thanksgiving Mishaps

Updated: Sep. 21, 2021

These true stories of snafus past will make you laugh—and breathe a little easier about your own Thanksgiving.

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Turkey Flapping Its Wings
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There’s a lot to love about Thanksgiving, but it can also be a stressful time. From cooking disasters to awkward family encounters, there’s potential trouble at every turn. But if the holiday season is already raising your blood pressure, perhaps these stories of snafus past (and the people who made it out of them) will help you put it all in perspective:

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melted silverware
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A literal meltdown

Several years into our marriage, I hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner. I ran the dishwasher overnight, but it malfunctioned. On Thanksgiving morning I discovered that my plastic-handled flatware had melted into what looked like a display at the Museum of Modern Art. Luckily, the local housewares store was open. I bought replacements and ultimately did serve Thanksgiving dinner—albeit two hours late—but it was years before I hosted another major family gathering. —Submitted by Michele Harber of Forest Hills, New York. 

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A dog and two half-eaten pies
Emma Kumer/rd.com

Cutie pie

Thanksgiving was at my aunt’s house and I had promised to bring two pies—but not my new puppy. (Slugger was six months old.) Determined to impress, I baked a magnificent pumpkin pie with delicate pastry leaves embellishing the crust, and a blueberry one with a buttery woven lattice. I triple wrapped the pies in foil and headed out for a run. I returned home to find half-eaten pies—and a purple puppy. —Submitted by Tina Koenig of Hollywood, Florida. 

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Miles of farmland
Emma Kumer/rd.com

Mind the gap

While we drove through South Carolina to visit my family for Thanksgiving, our Brooklynite friend was full of questions. He studied the passing landscape with a worried look. “How’s the economy down here? I see some areas built up, but there are these long gaps between them.” My brother, a Southern gentleman, thought a moment then answered, “Down here, we call those ‘gaps’ farms.” —Submitted by Rose Gilbert of Maplewood, New Jersey. In need of a laugh? Try sharing one of these 30 funny Thanksgiving quotes around the table this year.

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Caesar salad with extra garlic
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When two heads aren’t better than one

Days before my wife and I got married, I was invited to my future in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. We all brought something, and I volunteered to bring a Caesar salad. I called a restaurant, and they actually gave me their recipe. It called for 5 cloves of garlic but, at the time, I didn’t know the difference between a clove of garlic and the entire head. I’ll never forget the look on my future father-in-law’s face when he tried to eat that “thing” I created. “Wow…that’s tart!” he said. —Submitted by John Certuse of Attleboro, Massachusetts. 

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Grocery store worker holding a gourd
Emma Kumer/rd.com

Off the table

On Thanksgiving one year, I was racing home from work because I had several guests coming over for dinner. The only thing I still needed was a centerpiece for the table. I wanted a decorative squash, so I rushed to my local store and hunted for them until I saw the store manager. Flustered and out of breath, I yelled, “Are you out of your gourds?” to which he replied, “Why, what did we do this time?!” —Submitted by Jill Brooks of Bountiful, Utah. By the way, this is the worst day to shop for your Thanksgiving groceries.

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A woman accidentally splattering mashed potatoes on the wall
Emma Kumer/rd.com

All meat and no potatoes

It was Thanksgiving and preparation was in full swing. Suddenly the power went out. I went downstairs to reset the circuit. I heard murmurs as I went back up to the kitchen. There stood my mother-in-law (who had the job of mashing the potatoes) holding the electric beater like a pistol. Bullets of mashed potatoes decorated the walls of the kitchen. An hour later we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner—with fewer mashed potatoes than usual. —Submitted by Marjorie Beall of Peoria, Illinois. Don’t miss these funny calls to the Butterball hotline that will have you laughing.

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Man getting his head shaved
Emma Kumer/rd.com

A hair out of place

I kept seeing ads for “the new, younger you,” so I went for a new hair consult. They shave your head, except for the sides, and sew in a weave to lock in the hairpiece. When I got home, my own dog wouldn’t let me in! Then I went to visit family at Thanksgiving. But when I walked up to my parents and brothers at the airport and went to hug my mom, she backed off and said, “Can I help you?” (The new me only lasted a year.) —Submitted by Steve Morgese of McHenry, Illinois. Next, find out the 50 reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

Want to submit your own true story? Send it to us here.