Wasting Time ArticleWhen it comes to Christmas, we tend to have this grand idea of how we want the day to go. Food immaculately prepared, the tree and decorations sparkling, everything in its right place, ready for our friends and family to arrive. However, like many things, Christmas Day doesn’t always go exactly to plan. Although these moments can be surprising or frustrating at the time, they often make for great stories in the years to come. On this spread are some Christmas tales of misadventure from our readers—some sweet, some a bit sad and some very strange!

One year, my mum made a delicious fudge recipe for Christmas, and it was a hit with everyone. After such a successful first attempt, the next year Mum was excited to have more fudge to give out to friends and family. Only, with this second year of making the fudge, everything went wrong! The mixture didn’t set properly and the consistency just wasn’t right either. Luckily, she had some vanilla ice cream in the freezer and had the brilliant idea to mix the soft fudge through it to make spiced Christmas fudge ice cream.


Christmas Spiced Fudge

2 cups white sugar

2 cups brown sugar

½ cup blackstrap molasses

¼ cup glucose syrup

1 cup milk

150g butter

2 tsp ground mixed spice

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream

Butter a 20 x 20cm tin and line with baking paper.

Put all ingredients (except vanilla extract) in a large saucepan.

Stir continuously over low heat until sugar dissolves.

Increase to medium heat and bring pan to boil. Do not stir.

It’s almost ready when fudge stops rising up sides of the pot and starts to sink back down.

Remove from heat and sprinkle vanilla extract over top. Don’t stir.

Cool for 5 minutes.

Beat fudge until it stiffens and starts to set on sides.

Pour fudge into tin, smooth and refrigerate.

If your fudge doesn’t set properly, don’t panic! Soften the emergency vanilla ice-cream and swirl the Christmas fudge through it for a delicious, spiced ice-cream. A great sweet option for a sunny Christmas Day.

Recipe supplied by Holly Morton


We were in the small village of Great Rollright in the UK. We had about 12 people for Christmas dinner, including some vegetarians, and only one small stove in my parents-in-law’s house. The turkey was majestically taking up all its space. Luckily, a friend who was abroad lent us her house to prepare half the feast. After a few hours of preparation, just as everything was about to go into the oven, all the power went off.

Turns out a tractor ran into a power pole and cut off all power to the village and surrounding area, just as most people were about to start cooking. A plan was hatched to take BBQs up to the village hall, but luckily the wonderful power company worked their magic, and the power came on a few hours later. You could hear the cheers all over the village!

By Gabrielle Martell-Turner


When I was a teenager, our whole family was doing a road trip around the South Island. On Christmas Day we packed up and headed off to where we were going to celebrate, but half an hour down the road our car broke down. There was absolutely nothing open and no one to call. Christmas lunch ended up being peanut butter sandwiches on the side of the road. I remember my dad saying, ‘We'll never forget this Christmas’. He was right—I actually have fond memories of it!

By Ingrid Goodwin Barratt


For a few years we had no family in the same city to share Christmas with, so we invited a few, mainly older folk, to share midday dinner at our house! Decorating for Christmas, especially the table, is something I love—but the actual preparation and cooking of the food is always another matter!

The first year, one guest was quite late in arriving and was somewhat flustered as she had had a car accident on her way over. By this time the food was not quite as I would have wanted. She settled and we all enjoyed each other’s company! The following year this person was again a guest, and this time was very late coming. She confessed that she had had a car accident on the same corner as the previous year and was quite upset. After settling her, we sat at the beautifully decorated table to a meal far from perfect!

To crown it all off, on the third Christmas she was extremely late and arrived with a badly damaged car! The accident happened at the same intersection, and she was quite open about not having given way! She then recounted that the ladies in the car she had hit were all balancing their Christmas desserts on their laps and these were spread right throughout the car and its occupants all in their Christmas attire! The over-cooked dinner at our place faded into insignificance. The decorations sparkled, the guest decided not to drive again, and all was well with the world.

By Major Janee Sawyer


In my family I am famous for my cold Christmas pudding, and it’s lovely to have instead of a hot Christmas pudding. I took this pudding to my sister’s for Christmas lunch one year and it had gone mouldy. I was so embarrassed that I lost confidence, but I bounced back and I make it every Christmas.

By Angela Brooks


I’m known in our family for my baking, but the year I was pregnant with my first child, nothing, and I mean nothing, was working, so I had no Christmas goodies for the table. But I had made a caramel swirl cheesecake that had worked. Christmas morning, I went to the fridge so I could take the cheesecake out of the spring-form tin. But for some reason, instead of holding the bottom as I released the tin, I held on to the side while walking to the bench. Of course, the cheesecake went plop all over the floor! I threw the tin in the sink and stomped to my bed, pulled the covers over my head and cried.

By Bridget McLay


Christmas fails from Instagram:

  • Cooking the roast in dishwashing liquid!
  • Not checking if the mint sauce was gluten free and throwing up at a friend’s house.
  • Some of the family got food poisoning and missed out on both Christmas lunch and dinner!