Christmas House exterior.

Out-of-Control Christmas House

Field review by the editors.

Novato, California

RoadsideAmerica.com isn't able to keep up with all of the nation's temporary Christmas and Halloween attractions, and we don't even try. Seems like every town has at least one private home, decorated over-the-top for the holidays, with blinding light displays, blaring music, and lots of traffic-increasing cheer.

Christmas House Angel and Nativity Room.

But the Rombeiro family in Novato have broken some kind of Decoration Barrier -- a barrier that otherwise holds back humanity from going Santa supernova. For 17 years, Edmundo Rombeiro and his family have been burying their one-story wood frame home in sheets of fake snow (it doesn't snow in Novato), plastic statues, and animated lights. It's called The Christmas House.

Though surrounding homes and neighborhoods attempt to present their own light shows and inflatable snow globes and snowmen, it's pointless as long as the Rombeiro's have their 75,000+ twinklers hooked to the national power grid. And what makes Novato's Christmas House more unique is that it's not just a drive-by. It opens to the public for four hours each night around the holidays. Nearly every room is stuffed-to-bursting with Christmas decorations and Christmas-themed scenes.

Christmas Town Alpine Train layout.

It gets crowded as the night goes on -- visitors queue up and slowly shuffle in single file, snaking from ornate room to room, past white artificial Christmas trees and LED icicles. Ceilings are swollen with clusters of oversized Christmas balls. One small bedroom is filled with snowmen statues, and another with angels and nativity figures. The family room is consumed entirely by an elaborate miniature railroad layout, a train roaring madly around a winter carnival.

The Rombeiro family spends 3 months setting up the display, and then a month to take apart and put away. And everyone who visits seems to ask the same question: "Where do they sleep?"

Out-of-Control Christmas House

Address:
34 Devonshire Dr., Novato, CA
Directions:
US Hwy 101 to San Marin Dr. heading west. Turn left onto Novato Blvd. then left onto Eucalyptus Ave., right on Devonshire Dr. around the curve and it will be on the right.
Hours:
Seasonal, Daily 6-10 pm Dec-Jan.
Admission:
Free, donation.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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