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A tragic event, that happens on Christmas, for added irony.

Christmas being the biggest, celebration of love, family, and happiness, it can further increase a single character's personal misery if he experiences totally opposite emotions.

In extreme cases, this can mean death, torture, rape, and more death. In shows with more everyday themes, it might be loneliness, failed relationships, and depression.

See also Snow Means Death, a frequently used motif in such settings, Bad Santa, a more humorous take on the concept, amd An Asskicking Christmas. The Christmas section of Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday has some of the most brutal examples.

Examples of Twisted Christmas include:

Anime & Manga

  • In Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two., first the earthquake on Christmas, that killed hundreds of people in the town, including the families of Yuu and Yuuko. Then, years later, Yuuko got raped by her stepbrother on a christmas night for the first time. And then, more years later, she died in a car crash on a third Christmas.
  • In Angel Beats! it was implied that Otonashi's sister died on Christmas Eve.
  • In Toradora!, Taiga and Minori, both in love with Ryuuji, pushed him away from themselves wanting him to be happy with the other girl Cue to upbeat christmas song.
  • Lost Christmas in Guilty Crown
  • The dramatic climax of Nanoha A's plays during Christmas Eve.
  • Barnaby returns from a fun outing where he went ice-skating with his family's trusted housekeeper, opens the door to the drawing room of their home...and happens upon the dead bodies of both his parents, a burning Christmas tree, and the murderer himself. The house ends up a pile of smouldering rubble while Barnaby himself ends up with his memories of the murderer's true identity wiped from his mind, thus allowing the perpetrator to pose as his Parental Substitute and Mentor for the next 20 years.


  • The movie Gremlins is an example (the events happen at Christmas), and contains another one--one of the main characters tells how her father died on Christmas, trying to go down the chimney in a Santa suit. "And that's how I learned there was no Santa Claus."
  • Legion happens in the days before and after Christmas.
  • The climax of Edward Scissorhands takes place on the night of a Christmas party.
  • Batman Returns opens with Penguin being dumped in the river on Christmas. The film's present day is set during Christmas time as well.
  • The first two Die Hard films took place on Christmas Eve.
  • Lethal Weapon starts off at the beginning of the Christmas Season and a suicide.
  • Scrooged.


  • Surely one of the most famous examples would be A Christmas Carol. A big part of the reason for Scrooge's hatred and resentment of Christmas is that his father often left him at school for the Christmas holidays, where he had to spend the festive season by himself.

Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who has its yearly Christmas episodes, that occasionally are rather sad. Voyage of the Damned comes to mind most readily.
  • One MASH Christmas, BJ insisted on keeping a critically wounded soldier alive so the soldier's children wouldn't remember Christmas as "the day Daddy died." Despite their efforts he died with roughly 35 minutes left to go - so Hawkeye moved the hands of the clock and said, "Look at that, it's not Christmas anymore."
  • On The West Wing, Josh Lyman suffers a complete mental breakdown on Christmas, to the point that the constant cheery Christmas carols flooding the hallways of the White House trigger severe traumatic flashbacks to his recent shooting.
  • The first Scrubs Christmas Episode starts off like this, but then goes Away in a Manger. Still worth mentioning just for the song that plays as Turk's Christmas Spirit gradually gets worn away:

 On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

Twelve beaten children,

Eleven drive-by shootings,

Ten frozen homeless,

Nine amputations,

Eight burn victims,

Seven strangled shoppers,

Six random knifings,

Five suicides,

Four beaten wives,

Three ODs,

Two shattered skulls,

And a drunk who drove into a tree.

    • Anyone working in a hospital emergency room will tell you that this is Truth in Television, sadly.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Mortal Coil" (which in real life aired one week before Christmas), the crew is preparing to celebrate the Talaxian equivilant, when Neelix is killed in a shuttle accident. Seven of Nine revives him, but Neelix has no memory of experiencing the afterlife which all his life he has believed in, and later has a dream that says all his beliefs are a lie and there's no point in living. As Neelix is almost driven to suicide, Chakotay convinces him that the dream might have simply been Neelix's own fears being reflected back to him and it is not meant to be taken as the truth.
  • An episode of Perfect Strangers had Mr. Gorpley being a royal Jerkass to everyone at Larry and Balki's Christmas party, until everyone (save the resident Mypiat that invited him) had enough and wanted him gone. This prompted Gorpley to snarkly (then emotionally) reveal that many of his personal tragedies happened at Christmas time.
  • In a recent (December 2010) episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, Stoic Woobie Kenzie reveals to a suspect, and her coworkers, that she was engaged to a man named Jack who suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder following a tour of duty in the Middle East. Though she tried her hardest to help him readjust to civilian life, she woke up on Christmas morning and found that he had left her in the night; six years later, she still has no idea where he is.
  • The Cold Case episode Sabotage opens around Christmas, and depicts a department store being bombed as Wham!'s "Last Christmas" plays.
  • In Tokumei Sentai Gobusters, the "birth" of the series' Big Bad, Messiah, occurred on Christmas Day 13 years prior to the beginning of the series.
  • The How I Met Your Mother episode "Symphony of Illumination" features Robin having a pregnancy scare and then finding out that she is infertile, while imagining how she might have, at some point in the future, told the story of how she met their father (whose heart in canon she had just broken). Possibly the single most depressing example in history that didn't involve someone dying (and also subtly subverts Away in a Manger.)


  • Sufjan Stevens' song "That Was the Worst Christmas Ever", which is quite a Tear Jerker.
    • Followed several years later by "Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)"
  • Billy Idol's song "Yellin' at the Xmas Tree"
  • "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" surely qualifies, since the lyrics specifically mention that this unfortunate incident happened on Christmas Eve.
  • In 2006, Twisted Sister released an album called "A Twisted Christmas," which consisted entirely of traditional Christmas carols through the lens of Heavy Metal.
  • This is the entire premise of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's third Christmas album, "The Lost Christmas Eve." The story of the album is about a man who has despised Christmas ever since his beloved wife died in childbirth on Christmas Eve; he gave his mute son up for adoption and turned his back on the entire holiday. Naturally, events transpire to make him rethink his position.
  • The Trope Namer may be Bob Rivers, a Seattle-based DJ who is famous for his black-humored Christmas parody albums named Twisted Christmas.
  • The Arrogant Worms have an album called Christmas Turkey, which is loaded with similarly dark-humored mayhem.

Video Games

Web Original

Western Animation

Real Life

  • The Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004.
  • The Cyclone Tracy hit the Australian city of Darwin around 10pm on Christmas Eve, 1974, and dissipated on Boxing Day.
  • The storm Lothar that ravaged Europe on December 26th, 1999.
  • Ronald Simmons's killing spree, which lasted from December 22nd to the 28th.
  • On a more personal scale, the Christmas period is well known as a period of peak demand for Suicide Prevention hotlines.
  • It happens. It's not uncommon to hear stories about fires on Christmas (either due to putting old, possibly frayed, electric lights on a dead, dry tree, or the rise in deep-frying turkeys having bad consequences.) Barring that, holidays can be a ridiculously stressful time. Women have frequently gone into labor during Christmas (while not twisted, birth is a stressful thing even at the best of times) and there's probably been at least one heart attack on that day. Add to that the fact that, in a lot of areas, Christmas is a damp, snowy, or icy holiday, and accidents aren't uncommon as well.
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