At 6 pm, Edmundo Rombeiro promptly turns on the Christmas House.
At 6 pm, Edmundo Rombeiro promptly turns on the Christmas House.

Out-of-Control Rombeiro Christmas House

Field review by the editors.

Novato, California 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.
Christmas House Angel and Nativity Room, 2017-18.

Christmas Town Alpine Train layout.
Christmas Town Alpine Train layout, 2017-18.

But the Rombeiro family in Novato have broken some kind of Decoration Barrier -- a barrier that otherwise holds back humanity from going Santa supernova. Since 1991 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.

In 2019, the Rombeiro Family won the grand prize on TV's The Great Christmas Light Fight -- a crowning achievement, just before the Covid-19 pandemic caused the shuttering of so many indoor attractions (the Christmas House decorated the exterior for 2020-22).

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 Rombeiros have their 275,000+ 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.

Fact: It never snows in Novato.
Fact: It never snows in Novato.

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 elaborate scenes from the Sao Miguel, the island in Portugal's Azores where the family came from. Another room is filled with angels and nativity figures. The enclosed porch/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 Rombeiro Christmas House

Rombeiro Christmas House

34 Devonshire Dr., Novato, CA
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.
Seasonal, Daily 6-10 pm Dec 6-Jan 6. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Free, donation.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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