The home fans might have been singing their own version of Wham's “Last Christmas” but on the pitch it was such a pure, unadulterated battle even one of the Huddersfield ball boys had to go off injured.
At full-time, Forest captain Ben Watson had to be held back from Danny Cowley.
Huddersfield's 2-1 win needed some good finishing, excellent late goalkeeping from Kamil Grabara, some luck but most of all real heart.
Even when Steve Mounie headed his side into a 2-0 lead, adding to Christopher Schindler's first-half volley, the game was far from won.
Forest pushed and shoved Huddersfield until the sixth added minute, testing their nerve with a Joe Worrall header, but Town go into Christmas three games unbeaten.
There were tasty challenges, accusations of over-reactions, gamesmanship and touchline rows throughout. Every now and then, a bit of football broke out.
Huddersfield had weathered a tough opening half hour before taking the lead through centre-back Schindler.
He reacted quickly to volley the ball into the inside of the goal after Trevoh Chalobah's shot bounced off Watson.
Forest had shown a positive response from the thumping they took at home to Sheffield Wednesday seven days earlier, although they did not have a monopoly on the chasnces in the first half-hour.
Indeed, it was Steve Mounie, the only change to the Terriers' line-up as he returned from illness, who had the first chance, poking wide after stretching to Juninho Bacuna's fourth-minute free-kick.
Sammy Ameobi caused his former Newcastle United team-mate Danny Simpson problems without finding the end product Forest needed. When he cut the ball back from the left byline in the eighth minute, Schindler cut the ball back. Seconds later he flashed a shot wide. His 36th minute shot went narrowly wide after passing through right-back Simpson's legs, but the same could not be said of an earlier shot after a cross from former Town winger Joe Lolley.
Full-back Matty Cash pulled a shot wide too.
But Huddersfield managed to put a lid on their visitors' attacking threat as the game became more bitty, with Chalobah and Bacuna both needing lengthy treatment, and Schindler did the rest.
There was plenty of jostling and an argument between the two managers as the players went off at the end of a niggly first half which Forest had the better of, but Huddersfield made better use of.
Mounie's header from a corner his deflected shot won gave them a cushion they would need.
Bacuna channelled his aggression better than anyone, producing a “rabona” cross, a shot on goal and a brilliant dribble down the left as he revelled in the 2-0 lead.
Lolley shot deflected just wide at the other end showed that despite Bacuna's showboating, the game was not yet done.
It took another ugly twist when Tiago Silva shoved Jonathan Hogg off the bench. The Town midfielder is big enough to look after himself, but the electronic advertising board he knocked over fell on a ball boy, who had to be substituted.
Huddersfield continued to push for a third, perhaps realising it would be needed. Grant shot just wide after cutting inside and excellent interplay between Bacuna and Hogg saw the latter force a fine save. Grant was wide from the rebound.
Worrall's header cut the deficit in the 75th minute and forced Grabara to come into his own.
The goalkeeper on loan from Liverpool turned an 85th minute Lolley shot around the post, saved from substitute Joao Carvalho, then brilliantly denied Cash with his right foot in the third added minute. Ryan yates and Tobias Figueiredo got in each other's way at the corner, which was put wide.
Huddersfield held out... just. It will be a happy Christmas at the John Smith's Stadium.
Huddersfield Town: Grabara; Simpson, Stankovic, Schindler, Hadergjonaj; Kachunga (Koroma 79), Chalobah, Hogg, Bacuna; Grant; Mounie.
Unused substitutes: Coleman, J Brown, Edmonds-Green, Duhaney, Daly, High.
Nottingham Forest: Samba; Cash, Figueiredo, Worrall, Rodriguez; Watson, Sow (Semedo 68); Lolley, Silva; Ameobi (Carvalho 70); Grabban.
Unused substitutes: Robinson, Dawson, Yates, Adamoah.
Referee: A Davies (Hampshire).