There’s nothing like bonding crunchy graham cracker walls together with colored icing, and then decorating it with candy canes and squishy gum drops. When done correctly, a gingerbread house can look so inviting you wish you could shrink down in size and live there yourself.

Of course, these festive abodes more often than not come out looking quite different than what you imagined in your head. We all want our gingerbread creations to look like welcoming and tasty little homes, but we — like these 20 builders — can’t always have what we want for the holidays…

1. The elf in this gingerbread tent seems like she’s plotting something sinister with those vacant soulless eyes. She’s warning all the other Christmas elves they better not cross her path or she’ll destroy the toys they’re making.

2. This sad pile of mushy cookie and icing looks like one big frown. How would Santa feel if he came into a home to drop off presents and saw this disaster? He’d probably eat a lot more than just cookies as payback for ruining a classic Christmas symbol.

3. Uh-oh. It looks like someone is way too big for his new home. All this guy wanted to do was stretch his arms a bit, and now he’s left with a startled — and slightly mortified — look on his face. Hopefully he has the dough to do some serious remodeling.

4. There are certain people who play by the rules, and there are others who throw the rule book out the window and do what they want. The creator of this gummy bear and honey ham house is the latter — and there was absolutely no shame in their game. 

5. At first glance you see this melty yellow shape and think, “It might not look that good, but at least I can tell it’s a bunny.” But then you realize it’s supposed to be Spongebob’s pineapple home. So yea. Not okay.

6. Okay, the gingerbread house you’ve been constructing for the last three hours isn’t going to look like the festive marvel it was in your head. Just slap a “Keep Out” sign on it and call it a day. Now, it’s an old abandoned home that looks exactly the way it should!

7. There’s nothing quit like getting all the way to the end of a gingerbread house’s frame only to realize half of the roof never came in the box. However, it’s nothing a little duct tape can’t cover — just don’t eat it afterwards.

8. Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust. This person started flush, as you can tell by the designs on their four-walled mess, but when it came time to stand the whole structure up, they soon felt the cold grip of the “bust.”

9. Looking at this gingerbread house from a distance, you want to get frustrated at whoever made it. But when you get closer, everything makes sense: Krampus, the horned creature who spends Christmas punishing children, visited and ruined the whole thing!

10. When you know you’re never going to pull off an epic looking three-dimensional gingerbread model, there’s nothing wrong with settling on the ol’ two-dimensional version. It saves time, money, and creativity (or lack of).

11. Well, this is one way to keep a gingerbread house together. To be completely honest, the house doesn’t really look too bad. Sure, it needs a little candy siding and detailing, but this person figured three feet of Scotch tape would get the job done.

12.The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire! This little girl definitely had her memories of building gingerbread houses destroyed by this accident. Next year, she’ll probably just stick to decorating the tree to avoid this mayhem again.

13. Whoa, who brought this guy to the party!? This is exactly why the Incredible Hulk’s mother always told him they couldn’t own nice things. He gets ticked off and the whole place becomes a disaster!

14. Someone had a rather dark view when it came to holiday spirit and created a little alcove where Master Bear is brainwashing a cult of gummy bears. Hopefully this was a Halloween gingerbread display.

15. At least this amateur gingerbread house designer got the frame to stand, but everything went a bit downhill after that. This certainly would get a pass if there was a television show called House Hunters: Gingerbread Edition.

16. This epic disaster must have belonged to the third little piggy who did not build his house with enough force to withstand the wolf. He should have listened to his brothers and used gum drop insulation and candy cane structural reinforcements. 

17. Where’s the rest of gingerbread Stonehenge? Instead of giving in to defeat and scrapping the housing project, someone got super creative and built a piece of history. Maybe he  or she can build a new piece every holiday season until the ancient masterpiece is complete!

18. The fact that the person behind this graham cracker home wrote “EPIC FAIL” in the front yard with colorful candy kind of makes it not as big of a fail as they think. The self-awareness they have definitely plays to their advantage.

19. Whoever this mess belongs to got about halfway into their construction and then quit. They already had the designs on the walls — all they needed to do was build it! C’mon now, they should’ve finished the project and gave themselves a pat on the back.

Sometimes when you’ve been trying to stick pieces together with icing and you just can’t seem to make anything except a mess, you might just have to admit defeat and try again next year. In the meantime, brush up on those skills!