Is Netflix’s How to Ruin Christmas Based on a True Story?

Created by Rethabile and Katleho Ramaphakela, Netflix’s ‘How to Ruin Christmas’ is a South African comedy-drama TV series that follows the misadventures of Tumi Sello and her big family, who meet every year for a reunion. However, each time some or other hilarious mishap occurs, throwing everyone into utter chaos. Hence, Tumi hopes to make it through at least one family gathering without any drama. Apart from that, the story focuses on the Sellos’ interpersonal dynamics and the protagonist’s romantic relationships.

Featuring stellar performances from talented actors like Busi Lurayi, Thando Thabethe, Yonda Thomas, and Clementine Mosimane, the show keeps the audience thoroughly entertained with its well-written narrative and colorful setting. Moreover, the authentic portrayal of South African traditions and typical family reunions reminds the audience of their own experiences. Hence, it is natural to wonder if ‘How to Ruin Christmas’ is rooted in reality. If you wish to know the same, here’s what we found!

Is How to Ruin Christmas a True Story?

‘How to Ruin Christmas’ is partially based on a true story. While the characters and their story arcs are fictional, their behavior and the show’s basic premise draw heavily from the experiences of creators Rethabile and Katleho Ramaphakela. Much like Tumi, the sibling duo grew up in a big family and wished to tell a story that everyone in the audience could relate to. The concept has been beautifully developed into the show by writers Lwazi Mvusi, Sunni Faba, and Salah Sabiti.

In a December 2021 interview with Netflix, Katleho shared the idea behind the show, saying, “When we wrote the first season, or put ideas down for the first square season, we wanted that relatability because it was like, surely every family has this because we have it. We have the overly Christian [relative] — there’ll always be prayer before every single thing.” His sister equated the show’s story with their relatives and memories of family gatherings.

“My family is exactly like the Sellos. When we’re at my grandmother’s house, we are here, and we are family; no matter how bad the situation is, we’re fixing it together. The uncle is already drunk in the morning. We know it, we’re not judging him. We’re just like, “Bless you, Uncle,” ” Rethabile divulged. Katleho continued, “And then, in the same breath, you’re outside interacting with your drunk uncle or cousin who’s much older and thinks they know every single thing in life. So all those familiarities are actually things that we try to also put on screen in that first season where we created those characters. ”

Taking inspiration from the creators’ lives, the Netflix series explores various themes such as sibling rivalries, nagging and judgmental relatives, complicated romances, and explosive family secrets, often revealed unexpectedly when everyone is under the same roof. In addition, the protagonist, Tumi, is a single woman who constantly feels pressured by her family to find a husband, just like her sister. All these tropes have been depicted in several popular family comedy shows such as ‘Modern Family‘ and ‘Family Reunion.’

Although these shows do not center around a family event, they delve into the themes mentioned above with a generous helping of laughter. However, ‘How to Ruin Christmas’ balances the mildly unrealistic side that shows in the genre can turn to by presenting flawed characters unafraid to make mistakes. Not only that, the distinct portrayal of South African culture adds to the show’s authenticity. To reiterate, the comedy series is mainly a work of fiction but integrates the experiences of the creators and the general masses to create a relatable narrative.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s How to Ruin Christmas Filmed?

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