Every December, Marin’s power grid is yet again put to the test by the annual unveiling of the Rombeiros’ Christmas House on Devonshire Drive in Novato. Sure, every neighborhood has its decorated houses, but this is a different thing altogether. Edmundo Rombeiro and his family have been putting together this Mother of All Christmas Houses for the last 24 years, and every year it gets bigger and more outrageous. This place is something that truly has to be seen to be believed, and photos don’t really do it justice. There are something like 80,000 lights and countless figurines, dioramas, and decorations adorning the front and side yards, walls, and roof of the Rombeiros’ house.
When you visit, you’ll notice that there’s a glowing neon “open” sign in the window near the front door. Yes, the Rombeiros, who do live here, open their house to thousands of complete strangers every year, allowing them to wander through the living room and check out the decorations inside. Yes, if you think the outside is over the top, you need to go on inside and get a dose of Christmas spirit. There are model trains, more figurines, Christmas trees, and the biggest lighted holiday village you’ve ever seen. Proceed down the hallway to check out the displays in two of the bedrooms. Topping it off, the Rombeiro family is super nice and welcoming, and hand out candy canes to all visitors.
Sadly, “Elfis,” the elf/Elvis impersonator otherwise known as “The King,” will not be performing at the house this year. That’s too bad, because the site of this elfin singer with his red-and-green jumpsuit and prosthetic pointy ears belting out holiday classics, Elvis-style, was really the frosting on the cake, so to speak. Even if my kids were afraid of him.
On your way out, you might want to put a couple bills on the donation box. All that holiday cheer doesn’t come cheap, and if you’re getting some enjoyment out of it the least you can do is help with the Rombeiro’s PG&E bill, which rumor has it tops out around $3,000 in December. If you’re going to make a special trip to one Christmas house this year, make it this one. The Rombeiro’s neighbors, well most of them, anyhow, seem to take all the commotion in stride, even with the cars, and the occasionally brass band and searchlight, all of which we’ve seen out in front of the house at varying times. In fact, there are a number of attractively decorated houses in and around Devonshire Drive.
The Christmas House is located at 34 Devonshire Drive, off of Center Road, in Novato. At night, I’d be willing to wager you can see the place from outer space. Get there by taking 101 to the De Long Avenue exit. Take De Long, which turns into Diablo Avenue, to Center Road, then turn right on Center. Follow Center to Devonshire, which will be on the right. You literally can’t miss it. When we stopped by on Sunday it was pretty calm, with a handful of families ogling the lights, touring the house, and chatting with the Rombeiros. Closer to Christmas, weekend nights can be pretty chaotic, with difficult parking on neighborhood streets. The house is open most nights until January 6 from 6 to 10 pm—just look for the “open” sign mentioned above.
If you want to visit the Rombeiro house and other amazing Christmas lights in old-fashioned horse-drawn style, Indian Valley Carriages, located in Novato, stops by during their popular Holiday lights tours.
Originally posted on MarinMommies.com by Andrew
Saturday, 27 November 2010 12:40 AM