By Graham WoodIt's the holiday season -- something's bound to go wrong. We've all heard about those nightmarish holiday disaster stories in which accident after accident befalls some poor soul who just wanted a quiet, peaceful Christmas with the family. And we know you can't get enough of those stories, so we're here to bring you more! We asked around to get some of the most ridiculous holiday horror stories from homeowners who just couldn't catch a break, and we rounded up seven of our favorites. Unwanted Holiday Guests -- In the Christmas Tree "My family and I travel out to the countryside of Virginia each year to cut down our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. We enjoy donning our Santa hats to find the 'perfect' tree and the experience of the afternoon outdoors. However, a few years ago, we brought home a bit more of nature than we intended: spiders! Apparently, there were egg sacs in our 'perfect tree,' and because they are so sticky, they clung to the tree branches even when the tree farm ran the tree through the agitating machine and tied it up. Unfortunately, after a few days in the warmth of our home, we had spiderlings everywhere! I don't know what kind they were, but they were tiny and I kept finding them and their webs for weeks after the tree went up. It was almost a sad, annoying game. Each night, I would find new webs and new spiders, and I would vacuum them up. With my diligent efforts -- and because the spiders that came for a bit of Christmas with us weren't house spiders and accordingly didn't find what they needed in our house to sustain themselves -- the problem went away after a few weeks. Lesson learned, though: Now we check each tree thoroughly before bringing it home! If we ever find an egg sac in the future, it won't change our love of the perfect tree. We will just be sure to remove the spider eggs before bringing it home!" Missy Henriksen, Falls Church, Va.
Dude, Where's My Christmas Gift?"This is, sadly, a cautionary tale about trusting your 'neighbors.' My sister and her family had just moved into a new house in South Carolina and had my parents over for Christmas a couple years ago. To save money, I sent all my family gifts to her, since they were all together for the holidays. I carefully wrapped all the gifts for my sister and brother-in-law, my father and also my nephew. I handmade little gift tags out of puffy sticker material -- literally hours of work spent on the wrapping of these gifts. I took the large package of gifts to UPS and sent it along. However, I mixed up 'Drive' with 'Street' on the address, which sent the package into a tailspin. This small mistake caused UPS to just send the package to my sister's last known address, her old house, which was about 20 minutes from her new one. Upon realizing they hadn't received the package, we tracked the box and found out it went to their old home and that it had been signed for the night before. My sister and father went over to the house to retrieve the package. They knocked on the door and saw people inside, but had to wait a long while before a child answered the door. They explained the situation to the kid, who then got his mother who came to the door and asked my sister and father to wait while she got the package. She comes back about 15 minutes later with a box of the items, all unwrapped. They had apparently opened all the gifts and stowed them away, and then had to get them back out to give them to my family. All those hours wrapping for nothing!" Erinn Deshinsky, Charleston, S.C.
Don't Let the Kids Decorate the House"Both of our boys took some money and over-decorated our beautiful Victorian house in downtown Portsmouth, N.H. The house is only 22 feet wide, and I think they covered the front with at least 10 strands of lights, plus an assortment of stand-up decorations. There were these ridiculous 3-foot-tall candy canes haphazardly placed in the front yard; at least 2 deer in the garden; hanging along the porch roof were the icicle lights, which were still fairly new, but they weren't hung nicely -- they dipped and bunched as if the person putting them up was drunk; more lights scattered along the railings going down to the sidewalk, with probably two entirely different styles. I was totally embarrassed by the mess. We were new in the area, had bought this beautiful old Victorian, and instead of honoring the splendor of the house and its architecture, it was now decorated like a tacky row house. We didn't know our neighbors well yet, and I had no idea if I should try to explain how the house got decorated." Tina Gleisner, Portsmouth, N.H.