We might think that we’re completely ‘normal’ even when we’re objectively the equivalent of the wonderfully weird Addams Family. It’s only when we start interacting with others, having people over to our home, and visiting them at theirs, that we begin to truly understand how (ab)normal all of us truly are. Bizarreness (in the best possible way) is in the eye of the beholder! And that’s exactly what we’re going to be taking a look at today.
We’ve collected some of the most fun and peculiar habits and traditions that families have, as shared by internet users in these two r/AskReddit threads here and here. It was only after these people grew up that they realized how utterly strange their relatives were behaving. (Then again, with all the traditions that we personally have, nobody’s judging anyone!)
Read on for the best stories, upvote the ones that you enjoyed the most (or forced you to do a double take), and think about what guests might consider odd about what you do at home. Now, shall we follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole?
#1We have costume parties for EVERYTHING.
We recently all dressed up like cowboys because my mom was making chilli.
Image credits: hulagirl4737
#2Putting everything in Tupperware. If we open a pack of biscuits, it needs to be all removed and nearly stack in one. Open a big bag of crisps? Tupperware. Tea bags? Tupperware. Nothing ever gets left in the original packaging it came from...
Image credits: kwanstermonster
#3Apparently every morning in my SO's house her dad would get fully dressed for his office job but "forgetting" trousers as a joke. He would open the front door and announce his departure and his kids would yell "You forgot your trousers!" only for him to look down and go "Oh no!" and dash back upstairs to put them on. **Every. Morning.**
It's a cute thing to do for your kids and commit to it for years. It was a fond memory for her until I reminded her that as her dad gets older it's only a matter of time before her dad goes to work without trousers on and it's *not* a joke.
Image credits: OptimumCorridor
No matter how objectively or subjectively peculiar some of the things that families do might seem, traditions in and of themselves are important.
Their role is to give family members a sense of who they are growing up, how they relate to their loved ones, and what their place is in society. They’re what gives structure to the time that we spend with our nearest and dearest. What’s more, they act as an excuse to get together after everyone’s moved.
#4I'd always go downstairs on Christmas morning after opening all my presents in my parents bedroom, and there would be an unflushed s**t in the toilet, and every year my mum would be outraged that Santa didn't flush it. Even used fake snow on boots to make it look like he walked in and sat down..
Image credits: KingBooScaresYou
#5Share one hotel room for seven people. Didn’t realize people could afford multiple hotel rooms. Still, some of the best experiences of my life.
Image credits: anon
#6My mom and dad would let us stay home from school occasionally just to sit around and play Nintendo. My brother and I were very young and we'd hang out in our pajamas eating cereal while dad played Legend of Zelda. It was awesome.
Image credits: lookimatree
Family traditions don’t necessarily have to be something fancy or even all that strange. For example, something as ‘simple’ as eating dinner together every Sunday night can be a wonderful way to stay in touch, even if everyone’s going about their business throughout the week.
On the flip side, there’s nothing wrong with bizarre traditions either. So long as nobody gets hurt or embarrassed, that is. The entire point of a tradition is to unite a group of people by doing an activity together. The activity itself is not important. Though odds are that if you have any guests over, they might find it extremely odd if you pass out a box of vitamins after a meal or set up the camera every Easter to catch the Easter Bunny in action.
#7My brother used to casualy stand on my head, like i would lay down and he would stand on my head. I don't know why we did it or what excatly I was thinking but yeah...
Image credits: freakuser
#8Whenever someone yawned, my parents stuck their finger in their mouth to produce a laugh. I recently did this at the age of 18 and my friend asked what the f**k I was doing after he hit me in the face.
Image credits: cisaaks13
#9My wife's family used to pass around a Tupperware full of vitamins after dinner. Like just random pills as if they were mints.
Image credits: fla_john
We tend to ignore the things that have become routine to us. And it’s only when we slow down, take a step back, and try to view things from an outsider’s perspective that we might come to realize how funny and weird our actions are. Though, arguably, pretty much every family has strange habits: if you’d put any household under the microscope, you might be surprised by just how many abnormal behaviors you’d find. Ironically, bizarre things seem to be the norm!
At the same time, it's vital to remember that you're also an individual, not just part of your family. What this means is that you have your unique goals and aspirations. You also need privacy and time to spend on your hobbies, not just in the company of your relatives. It's important that you (gently) establish these boundaries if you feel that you're never allowed to do things by yourself or 'your way.'
#10Growing up, my family had a unique whistle of a few short notes. This was because (especially in the pre cell phone era) when you're in public and it's time to go or you're looking for someone in a crowd, if you heard the whistle it meant someone in the family was looking for you and you should go see what was up.
Having a system like that is *really* useful, but the first time others heard about it they were shocked I'd respond to my mom's whistling "like a dog."
Image credits: Andromeda321
#11My mom would set out chips in a bowl the day before a party. Saving herself thirty seconds and making the chips stale. That's just one example.
Image credits: doggscube
#12When I was like 6 my parents smuggled a12 year old illegal Mexican immigrant over the border to come live with us. Her parents wanted her to get an education in the states so she lived with us for awhile. As a kid I kinda just thought it was a thing everyone did.
Nobody's a mind-reader, so you need to communicate with your family if something that they do irritates you. Similarly, try not to get overly defensive if they reach out to you about something that you're doing that annoys them.
There's no real alternative for having an open and honest chat! After growing up and leaving home, you might find that you keep certain habits and traditions while coming up with completely new ones, as you start building your own family. Traditions that might be just as weird (if not more so!) than what you saw back home.
#13Every year for Easter my parents would set up a video camera in the living room over night so that we can "catch" the Easter Bunny in the act while he hid our baskets and colored eggs around the house. We would go to bed right after we set it up and started recording. After about 20 min of recording a stuffed animal bunny would be hopping around the living room using a stop motion technique that my parents used, hopping around hiding our eggs and baskets. As kids we thought it was absolutely amazing that we caught the real Easter Bunny in the act. When we would have family over for Easter dinner we would show everyone how sneaky and clever we were that we got it on camera. Kinda weird but I cannot wait to do this to my kids one day
#14We have "The Blue Binder".
The Blue Binder lists all sorts of aches and pains and tells you what emotional or ancestral issue is causing that pain.
Have seasonal allergies? It's because your dad never forgave his father. Sprained your ankle? It's because you have a fear of moving forward. Your right hand middle finger hurts? It's because you have penis envy.
My mom still swears by this and thinks I contracted Lyme Disease at 21 because of "trauma in the birth canal" spoiler: I don't talk to that psychotic lady anymore
This isn't a journal she writes in to log the family's ailments. Someone else wrote this and she paid real, actual, US Dollars for it. Oh God, it's so good.
Image credits: unhingedwhale
#15My friends family had strange holiday traditions. One example is that they always ordered pizza for Thanksgiving (not too weird). Christmas though. Christmas was kinda weird.
They didn't believe in Santa, and instead had "The Christmas Bunny". Now the Christmas bunny was tricky. He wouldn't just leave your presents under the tree, he would leave a note. The note was a clue that began your hunt for presents. Clues led to clues that led to more clues that led to gifts. The clues would bring you everywhere. Back of the toilet bowl. Moms intimate drawer. Buried in the cat litter box. Outside in the freezing Minnesota winter.
Theses were difficult clues as well. I remember once my friend didn't find his gifts until after New Years. They still do this even though they are all 20+, but now the clues lead them around town. It's pretty intense I guess.
#16Grew up in a neighbourhood where all the kids would just crash at anyone's house. Like my parents wouldn't freak out if I didn't show up at night they just made a call to figure out where all the kids had ended up. We'd just occupy a room in anyone's house and sleep all jumbled up. So i guess this isn't just a family thing but still, my friends all think we were nuts. I had an awesome time though.
Edit- the sad thing is that I went back to this neighbourhood a couple years ago and new residents had built big a*s fences and hedges around their gardens, the communal bonfire area was overgrown and the huge and highly dangerous (but fantastic) rope swing had been taken down :( I hate modern health and safety.
Image credits: perfumed-ponce
#17Having no shame with being nude. At least in America that’s weird. Granted my father was not wandering the house nude as he has all daughters, but my mother. Zero Fs to give. My sister, mom, and I just have no shame. I’m eating breakfast, mom wanders in to the kitchen naked to do her netti pot thing. I’m trying to take a bath, here’s mom or sissy trying to have a conversation. Walk in to moms bathroom, literally every door leading there wide open, mom taking a bath (stop and have a chat). Same with my sister. I’ve had so many damn bathtub conversations with my sister and mom. Also my moms total nonchalance about being naked around my best girl friends (no they weren’t uncomfortable she asked or warned them she just wanders around naked sometimes).
So now I’m just always naked in my own home. Blinds open or not I literally just don’t even notice. Being nude is just my inherited natural state lol
Image credits: incogneatolady
#18For a while (ages 4-8?) my mom would make us our favorite foods for Thanksgiving. Rather than the normal meal my sister and I would choose two things we wanted. I always chose chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. My sister would usually choose Salisbury steak and something like scrambled eggs. Then we would have some veggies also. I always thought it was super awesome because usually we would only eat food I thought was gross like shepherds pie or buttered noodles.
Turns out right my after my dad left we were s**t poor and my mom could not afford traditional holiday meals. I was lucky enough to be born to an amazing mother who has since done very well for her and her children. Even when we were poor I never knew it, we still did cool s**t ( i thought ) like back yard camping trips, hunting for dinosaur eggs on the weekends at the quarry. It was all fun, just had to be free was all.
#19Everyone in my family genetically has large hands and long arms, and I thought it was normal to compare arm and hand sizes at every family event lmao
#20At Christmas, we all give each other a set of underwear, which once you receive you have to say, “ooh thank you” really loudly, stand up, then put the underwear on your head to show everyone. I had to have a serious conversation with my wife after her first Christmas with us.
Edit: forgot to add that the underwear must remain on your head, like a fancy crown, until all presents have been given out, and all members of the family were wearing said crown.
Image credits: Hashtagbarkeep
#21We don’t refrigerate leftovers. Pizza? Goes in the oven. Turkey from thanksgiving? Oven. Fast food? Microwave. Now that I’m older and understand that food goes bad I refrigerate things, but my parents still don’t. I’m surprised no one’s gotten seriously ill from it.
#22Let's see. My moms side of the fam are all lip kissers. Kissed my nanny and poppy and allllll my aunts and uncles and cousins on the lips for years.
Didn't realize how f*****g weird until my teenage years when my grandfather moved in with us and I had friends over...
Also we have a secret language.
Image credits: ashtroll
#23Fritos in tomato soup. I thought it was required.
#24So, my family are huge lovers of mango, and especially my dad. So when it’s mango season he’d buy a lot of mango and we’d all set around and eat mango in our underwear so we wouldn’t ruin our clothes. I thought this was normal as a kid, i even enjoyed it a lot too, but it feels pretty fucking bizarre now. Although i think the worst part is that’ll probably do the same thing with my kids lol.
Image credits: soullesssenpaiii
#25Whenever we ate lobsters we would make them have a race in our back yard before we cooked them.
#26We had a shaker which contained a something we called BrownSugarCinnamon. We would spread it on buttered toast. When I moved away I looked for BrownSugarCinnamon at the Grocery Store. Eventually I realized my Mom just mixed Sugar & Cinnamon together, but I never saw that part of the process.
#27To keep me from watching too much tv, my dad told me that we had a one hour limit on our tv viewing. As in, we paid for one hour of tv per day and any more than that we would be charged extra for. Like AOL back in the day.
When I started going to friends houses where the tv was always on I got a bit suspicious, but I just figured they had more money than we did. Eventually after watching tv for hours and hours with one friend I asked her how much tv they paid for and she just looked at me like I was nuts.
So I guess “lying to your kid because it’s easier than getting into a fight over a rule you want to enforce” is the bizarre thing my family did lol.
#28My father was paranoid that if someone broke in, they would steal his video games. This was in the 90s, and we had a PC, so the video games came on about 7 or 8 floppy disks. Remember those, kids? Anyway, we had about seven crates of floppy disks for his video game library.
And they had to be hidden under the bed. Every time we went away, the computer room was stripped and the floppy disks were stowed under the bed. Because, y'know, burglars would NEVER look there.
The PC stayed in place. The TV stayed in place. The jewellery and everything else stayed in place. His floppy disks had to be protected at all costs.
We were never broken into. We lived in a small village England with a crime rate of precisely zero. He just had a thing about his floppy disks.
Eventually we found his adult games collection, so maybe that's what it was about.
Image credits: mrcchapman
#29My parents call doing a load of laundry a zenon... Example: My mom will ask my dad to do "half a zenon" if she means just put the stuff in the washer in the dryer and don't start a new load. Or a full zenon is moving everything over, folding stuff in the dryer and starting a new load. They got tired of saying all that and it's always been a zenon.
#30Anytime there was a full moon my Dad would pretend to turn into a werewolf and chase me and my sister around our flat howling. If we got caught, we'd turn into one too.
#31I'm 15 and and me, my Brother, my Dad and my recently passed away Grandmother used to sniff each others hair as a greeting. Not like breathing in in your nose so you can smell this morning's shampoo, but like gentle blows. Now that I think of it it's pretty weird, but I've done it for as long as I can remember. I think it's a Filipino thing, my Grandma was born there.
#32My immediate family? We don't fight. There might be minor, polite disagreements, but shouting at each other arguments? Nope.
When I got married later, my in-laws were constantly at each other's throats. It was so alien to me...like, you actually hate each other? I couldn't cope.
#33We have an old microwave that is installed above the oven that hasn’t worked for years. Realizing how much it’d cost to get it fixed we just bought another one and now use that one to store junk food
#34My mom and I are terrible people so we would make up tragic stories about the people around us at restaurants. I went on a date with a guy once and the food was taking forever so I figured... let’s play the stories game. Not only was he mortified but he said “what would your mom think if she heard you talking about people like this?” And I said “she’d probably agree that the dad is cheating on the woman, he looks like a cheater”
#35Not flushing the toilet until it becomes a necessity. My immediate family doesn't do this, but I just thought that was because we were weird... Because I've got 300 extended family members that will s**t on top of s**t and encourage other people to do it too.
#36Growing up, when my family made tacos, they always put that orange wishbone French dressing on them. I didn’t realize this wasn’t a thing until I went to a friend’s house for Taco Tuesday with her family and I asked for French Dressing. They looked at me like I was crazy lol
#37My dad loves corn on the cob. One summer he was such a fanatic about it, we ate it every day for three months.
I am an adult now, and don't go near the stuff.
#38My family has been using a Langers Apple juice container from probably like 1997 to fill up with drinking water and put into the fridge. Still has the front label and everything. That was back when they used more plastic so it's very sturdy but we still use it today lol
#39My parents sleep on different beds since I have memory, not because they don't love each other (they don't love themselves as a couple anymore though). My dad snores very loud, so it's a no-no for my mom.
#40I just realized today (probably not that strange) but my family would go to the movie theater when we knew it was going to be a rainy or stormy day. We would go see a movie and then look at the weather and if it was still bad outside we would just hop into another movie. I never knew it was wrong or anything I was like sweet we get to watch more movies. Never got caught that I remember but I’d never be bold enough to do it now.
#41When my parents have a dispute over some random bit of trivia they bet who is right and look it up.
The price they bet on? Getting to (gently) bite the other ones nose.
Yes, I have no idea either...
#42My dad and I like rolling rice into little balls during meals. Sometimes, we'll order rice just so we can do it. If rice isn't available, noodles and bread can work too. My mom tried putting a stop to it a long time ago, but she gave up and joined in.
My boyfriend told me he reserves the right to publicly shame me for that habit in front of our future kids, just so they don't start doing it too.
#43My dad tried to 'kill' the Easter bunny every year. He would literally run out into the yard with his gun and take a few shots. Then he would come back inside grumbling about how he would get him next year.
We thought it was both terrifying and hilarious. I didn't realize how weird it was until I told people about that tradition later in life.
Image credits: Charliegirl03
#44We were the naked family. We weren't naked all the time, but seeing one another nude was a total non issue. Forgot your towel? Go get it naked. Summer 2004 our air conditioning broke and we all watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics sweating and naked. I remember discussing college applications with my mom once as she was taking a s**t.
Image credits: jerichojerry
#45both my parents were teachers and it was so bizarre when i realized that my friends' parents worked all summer.
#46eat at big boy every sunday after pretending to go to church - yes we literally dressed up in our sunday best, and went to big boy...
#47Rice at every meal! Rice with everything! Burgers with a mound of rice instead of buns! Fried egg and rice! Taking the rice cooker on vacation with us!
#48Every weekend my parents couldn't wait to wake me and my brother up at 7 in the morning, drag us out of bed and take us all over the place going to garage sales. I mean like not one or two but this was a 5-6 hour thing.
Every. Single. Weekend.
#49I grew up in a small town, and my family had a charge account at the local grocery store. When I moved out on my own to the nearest city, I was quite surprised to find that I was supposed to pay for my groceries every time before I left the store, instead of getting a bill in the mail at the end of the month.
#50When it was getting close to bedtime my parents would call it pumpkin time, like Cinderella. I did this once a few years ago with friends who were over for board games and when everyone started yawning I said it must be getting close to pumpkin time. There was an awkward silence and confused looks before I offered the explanation. I grew up thinking it was normal.
We also called broccoli and cauliflower clouds and trees, my brother refused to eat broccoli and cauliflower but loved clouds and trees. He also hated ham but loved elephant trunk (the small round ham that totally had no resemblance other than being roughly round when cut in slices) I have no idea why ham was offensive but elephant trunk was ok.
#51Wash our asses with a bowl of water after taking a s**t. My family is from India/Sri Lanka so they never really used toilet paper over there. When I was young I thought the roll of toilet paper by the toilet was just to blow your nose while taking a dump.
#52My mom would often take my siblings and I to cemeteries at night to play games like Hide and Go Seek. I miss those nights..
#53Eat hot cocoa and toast.
It's buttered toast that you dip in hot cocoa for breakfast. It's delicious.
#54Probably just hysterical crying. My family (especially my dad's family) just cry about everything. Happy, sad, angry, grieving...didn't really matter. They just seemed to always be crying and once one of them started everyone else would join in.
It really wasn't until after I had had years of therapy that I realized that it really isn't normal to just be crying all the time. I still get teary sometimes, and it's not that I never cry, because frankly no amount of therapy can undo a lifetime of conditioning, but at least now I recognize that if I can't stop crying there is something really wrong with me and it needs to be worked on.
This really sunk in after moving to the UK and meeting my husband's family, who are just so damned English and stoic. It makes visiting my family seem like a trip to the loony bin!
#55I was probably about ten or eleven before it occurred to me that probably other people who went on lake vacations in the summer didn't go to nudist colonies.
#56When I was a toddler if I left the room everyone, which would be my grandparents my mother my aunty, would hide in various places in the room. I would come back and shout "oh oddy body(everybody) gone." They also, on other occasions, would pretend to be dead, which I would say " oh oddy body dead"
I turned out alright, bit disturbed but alright.
Turns out the dog would join in hiding too.
#57Apparently some people think it's odd to fill up a glass of drinking water with the bathroom faucet. I can't stand using the kitchen one.
#58My husband's family sings "Happy Birthday" twice. Relighting the candles and everything. The first time I experienced it I was like, "What is this?"
#59Make pizza in Frying Pan.
My mom still makes delicious pizza in a pan.
#60Tall glass of whole milk with every meal growing up. Milk with spaghetti, milk and soup, milk with everything. Blew my mind when I went to a friend's house and they had soda!
#61On our birthdays, after we blew out the candles , my dad rubbed butter on our noses.
#62We got certain foods on a very regular basis, that were wrapped in white labels with basic, black text labelling what they were. "Rice", "Processed Cheese Product", "Tomato sauce". My mom always had a really tired, sad look on her eyes when she brought them home.
I thought lunchmeat came in one type, "Bologna".
Every few months, we'd have "Camping out" in the house. I used to get excited for it. All the power would go out, and we'd use candles and eat stuff out of the fridge all at once. I remember when it was winter, I'd have about 10 blankets on me on those nights.
I was also not allowed to talk about this stuff to any of the other kids.
Yeah..growing up poor didn't suck until you realized you were poor. Living poor, and raising a child in that...that had to be a nightmare.
#63My dad never says thank you at the drive thru, it's far too easy and predictable. Instead, he likes to make up words. It essentially amounts to him being handed his bag of food, they say "Have a nice day!", and he replies "ferderber" as he drives away. Straight faced and no looking back. His other go to word is "razzle".
I didn't realize this was weird until I was around 16.