Poking around for information about your family's heritage is as innocent as researching historical facts on Wikipedia.
Home DNA kits are even available for added convenience in the hopes that curious customers can discover more about their ancestry and therefore form stronger connections with relatives.
However, Bored Panda mentioned the pitfalls of digging too deep into the secrets of a family's past. Some family mysteries are better left buried.
"Earlier this year, AncestryDNA had a sale on their kit. I thought it would be a great gift idea so I bought 6 of them for Christmas presents. Today my family got together to exchange presents for our Christmas Eve tradition, and I gave my mom, dad, brother, and 2 sisters each a kit."
The mother became unnerved for fear that the kits contained "unsafe chemicals." Even after the kids assured her that the kits were safe, she remained anxious.
As a compromise, the mother then suggested that only one of her kids should take the test and resell the remaining kits to save money.
But the drama was just getting started.
Soon, the morning festivities dissolved to a Christmas fracas as the user discovered the possibility that his father might not be who he thought he was.
"Fast forward: Our parents have been fighting upstairs for the past hour, and we are downstairs trying to figure out who has a different dad."
"TL;DR I bought everyone in my family AncestryDNA kit for Christmas. My mom started freaking. Now our parents are fighting and my dad might not be my dad."
The user updated the post and the siblings still had not chose whether to partake in the test.
"Update: Thank you so much for all the love and support. My sisters, brother and I have not yet decided yet if we are going to take the test. No matter what the results are, we will still love each other, and our parents no matter what."
Fortunately, the situation turned positive. Despite initial concerns over taking the DNA test, the truth prevailed and Christmas cheer was restored to the family.
"Update 2: CHRISTMAS ISN'T RUINED! My FU actually turned into a Christmas miracle. Turns out my sisters father passed away shortly after she was born. A good friend of my moms was able to help her through the darkest time in her life, and they went on to fall in love and create the rest of our family. They never told us because of how hard it was for my mom."
"Last night she was strong enough to share stories and photos with us for the first time, and it truly brought us even closer together as a family. This is a Christmas we will never forget. And yes, we are all excited to get our test results. Merry Christmas everyone!"
The thread became engaging with other users sharing their own unique family histories; some good, and some not so good.
"I was adopted by my grandparents and didn't know until I was older. The person I grew up with as an older sister was actually my biological mother. I think the same thing happened to Jack Nicholson." - hisnameisanthony
A new secret relative was uncovered.
"My uncle took one of those tests and had a few people show up as distant relatives, like less than 15% match (we're all 100% positive he has a different father than the other 4 siblings)."
"Well, then my dad takes the test, it returns saying that someone his brother (my uncle) matched with also matches him, but it's like a 30% match."
"Eventually this lady messages my dad and after talking they figure out she must be a distant cousin somehow."
"Dad wants to get more info from my grandma (his mother) who, upon mentioning the DNA tests and this lady's name, my grandma goes 'Oh her? Yeah I already know about her.'"
"My sweet, sweet grandmother then explains to my father how, when she was about 12, her mother had an affair, got pregnant, somehow hid it from everyone but her and then gave the baby to her neighbors down the street."
"Turns out I have a secret great-aunt." - NeonSwank
This user's experience had the reverse effect that revealed a father's truth about his daughter.
"I had the opposite thing happen. I did 23 & Me and found out that my first cousins, who I'm not close with (they were estranged for a long time from my dad's brother), also had done 23 & Me because it matched us as first cousins."
"I told my dad this and he was like wait, it said that Karen is your first cousin? And I was like yeah? And he asked to see it and then he said, I have to call my brother."
"Turned out that my uncle has been convinced for decades that his ex-wife had an affair and his youngest daughter, Karen, wasn't really his."
"Turns out she has been this whole time." - ebroms
Someone who works for AncestryDNA shared their insight.
"I work at AncestryDNA. This actually happens all the time."
"Edit: Wow! Didn't expect this much attention! I will gladly do an AMA here soon, as I finish out the holidays. Merry Christmas!" – Secstornado
Unfortunately, things do not always end favorably – a reminder that ignorance is bliss.
"This actually just happened to some non-direct relatives of mine, essentially my uncle's in-laws."
"His brother-in-law and the wife have three kids who all did 23AndMe, and found out the oldest girl is not his daughter, but some other guy that his wife slept with early on in their marriage, got pregnant and thought she'd be able to hide it forever (the daughters like 32 now so they didn't have at home DNA tests back then and she probably never foresaw that being a thing)."
"Long story short we kind of always knew because she didn't look like anyone else in that family but when they found out they all flipped on their mom about it and now the parents are getting divorced."
"Merry f***ing Christmas." – thundergun661
Sometimes, this is code for "don't go looking around where you should."
"Shit, now I'm remembering how my mom didn't want me to get a 23 and me kit last Christmas. Her reasoning was that it was a waste of 99 dollars and I could just average the results from her and my father's exams..." – ohboycookies
These comments pretty much summed up the fact that giving fruitcake is the lesser of two evils.
"People who were just banging away in the 80s and 90s didn't see this one coming. Damn."
There is a time and a place for things, and unearthing skeletons from the proverbial closet on Christmas is definitely not one of them.