I never had a "worst" Christmas, but a funny Christmas scare.
It wasn't very late on Christmas Eve, probably just 7:30 or 8, but I was being difficult, not wanting to go to sleep yet. My father kept threatening me, that if I didn't go to bed, Santa Claus would come and catch me awake, and I'd get nothing for Christmas. At 4 years old you still half believe this nonsense, especially when it came from my father.
Suddenly I heard sleigh bells outside, and a big, booming "Ho! Ho! Ho!" I screamed, and my father said: "It's Santa Claus! I told you! You better hide!"
I was in the parlor, and getting to my bedroom would have taken me past the front door, which I already heard opening. Instead, I raced for the dining room, and dove under the formal table there. In those days (1953) it was always covered with a long draped table cloth, so I had some cover.
The front door opened. "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
"Hello, Santa," my father said.
"Is Robert still awake? I have some presents for him!"
And from under the table I saw Santa's shiny black boots, and his red velvet pants above, walking all around the dining room table where I was hiding. I was positively shaking with fear.
Santa said some other things, that I forget now, after over 55 years ago, and finally out he went with a big slam of the door. I crawled out from under the table, and my father scolded me, and said Santa left me a few presents, despite my disobedient behavior.
The only one I remember today was a puzzle, I think all of 5 pieces of Donald Duck or something, that I ungratefully thought was too stupid to be real. What a letdown!
I immediately was sent to bed, severely chastised. Only to wake up a few hours later, to the most unbelievable & magical Christmas I think any child ever had. A Christmas I tried to replicate for my own sons, over 30 years later.
When I was an adult my father told me that "Santa" had been a neighbor. And Santa was aware I was hiding under that table, the grown-ups having a good laugh at my expense. Gawd, I love my late parents, they were so good to me. And thanks to them, I never had a bad Christmas, only the best.