Comic Relief – This Old House’s Craziest Holiday Homeowner Disaster Stories

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As happy as the holidays can be, they can be stressful too. Figuring out what to buy family members, battling the mall crowds, hosting in-laws, making grand meals … phew! I’m just wiped out listing those things! With all the extra activity going on in your home during the holidays, it’s little wonder that accidents happen. That doesn’t add to the stress at all, now does it? At least we can laugh at ourselves, and the good people at This Old House have compiled some of those holiday horror stories for us to chuckle at and hopefully learn from.  

This Old House’s Craziest Homeowner Holiday Disaster Stories III is now live on their website, and they currently have 16 pages of festive-themed doom and gloom compiled from their fans on Facebook.  Here’s an example of one of the stories:

“The first year we were married, we rented an old house. That Christmas we had our first real tree, but because there was no insulation or gravity heat, we used a kerosene heater. The heater made the living room so warm that it made the sap flow and a ton of disgusting gnats came out.”

Ho Ho Holy God, that is nasty!

Sometimes the disasters have less to do with what we’re bringing into the house and more to do with a shift in colder weather and a home that’s not prepared for it. Here’s one such tale of woe:

“One year before leaving for a six day Christmas vacation my first wife and I decided to leave the water trickling to avoid our pipes freezing, just in case of a cold snap. Sure enough, we had a weekend of single digit weather, but we forgot to leave the heat on. So instead of the pipes freezing, the drain in the kitchen sink froze, and the trickling water overflowed onto the floor into the dining room, out to the patio, also the hallway, the living room, and met us at the door. Happy New Year!”


And while we laugh at all the things that seem to go wrong during the holidays, we hope nothing really bad happens to any of you. Unfortunately because of things like shabbily-wired strands of twinkling lights, jammed sockets, and too many open flames, house fires often occur in December. Now, THAT is a disaster.

So when you’re done laughing it up with This Old House’s Craziest Homeowner Holiday Disaster Stories III, check out our own Santa’s Safety Tips for the Holiday Home and avoid being in next year’s edition.

Photo of author

About Jen

Jen (but never “Jenn”) Byck, aka the Fix'n Vixen, is a Toronto-based freelance writer and communication consultant who is undoubtedly home fixated (she is also TV fixated, really bad TV fixated and donut fixated). Her approach to home improvement has been rather trial and error, the latter of which is evidenced by the amount of spackle she buys on an annual basis.

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