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Whether we like it or not, something big or small is bound to go wrong over the holidays. Sometimes it seems like it just wouldn’t be Christmas if the cookies don’t burn in the oven, or if the cat doesn’t break one of your favorite ornaments.

A holiday season can be deemed a success if no one gets seriously injured or no part of the property gets damaged. Besides, the holidays are all about spending time with one another, not about whether or not things go just as picture-perfectly as planned.

There is no other reaction to these 10 horror stories than to let out a little laugh (and sometimes a little gasp), because the other option is to let moments like these ruin the entire holiday season.

  1. “The first Christmas my now ex-husband and I spent together, we decided to buy a real Christmas tree for our apartment.“To cut a long story short, it transpired that the tree was covered tiny black worms that fell out all over our sitting room floor.“In all my Christmases, I’ve never seen worms on a tree like that before, it was honestly horrible and I don’t really mind bugs or wormy creatures. We had to get rid of the tree asap, it was too stressful thinking of the worms continually dropping off the branches onto the floor.”
  2. I came down with swine flu and had to wear a surgical mask… and on Christmas morning I found my beloved pet parakeet dead on the bottom of his cage. My neighbors looked out their back window that day to see a sobbing 17-year-old in a pink bathrobe and SARS mask saying a funeral for a dead bird in the middle of a blizzard.
  3. I was ten, when I wrote a letter to Santa asking him to help my mom quit smoking (I believe it was around then that D.A.R.E. started). My mom, of course, read the letter, and she took me aside and told me never to bring that up with her again. And that’s how I found out there was no Santa.
  4. “The year the cat ran up the tree and couldn’t get down. The dog thought it was play time and ran full speed across my living room and launched into the tree to ‘play with the cat.’ I have an English Mastiff that weighs about 150 lbs right now. The tree stood no chance.“Ornaments…ornaments everywhere. The cat bolted as soon as the tree hit the ground and the dog followed. There were crushed presents, shattered ornaments, and pine needles everywhere. That was the last year we had a real tree. Bought a fake, fold out one next year so the cat no longer sniffed around and climbed into it.” —
  5. “Our carbon monoxide detector went off around 2 a.m. on the morning of the 25th. We had to sit outside until my uncle could get over to check out the issue. It was just running out of batteries.”
  6. “9-year-old me ran into my mum and dad’s room excited to open presents. Unfortunately as I was running in, I tripped over a rug and smashed my teeth against my parents bedpost. I lost one tooth (luckily a baby tooth) and fractured my adult incisor.“I had to wait 6 hours in hospital for a specialist to arrive. Didn’t get to open any of my presents, and had to drink my Christmas dinner through a straw! We still have the bedpost, with 3 clear distinct teeth marks.”
  7. “The year my father set our toaster oven on fire. On second thought, I was too busy laughing my butt off to notice that it could have been tragic.”
  8. “Christmas four years ago at my (clean freak) mother’s house with my 3 children, then 5, 10 and 15. My mom started taking the decorations off the tree, and I said ‘what are you doing?!’ And she replied ‘taking down the tree! Christmas is over!’ My kids were still opening their presents.”
  9. “My mom’s eldest sister decided it was her turn to host Christmas (my mom has the most disorganized family on planet earth), and stick all of us, roughly 45 people, in her basement. My dad and I usually become wall flowers, watching what shenanigans happen, and a few did happen that night: brother was forced to play Santa Claus by my aunt for her grandchildren.
  10. “When he initially refused, she accused him of being the ruin of these children’s Christmas, and she was not quiet about it. He eventually gave in.

Have you ever had a holiday that didn’t go the way you’d planned?