California Home Transforms Into Winter Wonderland For The Holidays


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Photo Credit: sdolasia DOGOnews

For most Americans, the holiday season begins around Thanksgiving. However, for Kathy and Rombeiro and her dad, Edmundo, it starts in September, when they begin the laborious process of converting their Novato, California home into a winter wonderland. By the first Sunday of December, the ordinary suburban home is transformed into a magical “Christmas House,” complete with over 200,000 lights, fake snow, model trains, countless decorations and figurines, and even a real-life Santa Claus (Edmundo) on a sleigh.

Photo Credit: Sdolasia DOGOnews

The catalyst for this 26-year-old joyful tradition can be traced back to Edmundo’s childhood. As a young boy growing up in São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores off the coast of Portugal, he had fond memories of helping his mother set up a Nativity Scene each Christmas. When Kathy was old enough, Edmundo, who moved to America 48 years ago, decided to start a similar holiday ritual with her. Initially, the decorations were just meant for the family and friends to enjoy. However, that changed in 1990 when Edmundo noticed a neighborhood couple admiring his handiwork.

Photo Credit: Kathy Rombeiro

Kathy says, “Something inspired my dad. He asked the couple if they would like to see the decorations inside of the house, and there it all began. One couple turned into the second. A week went by, more people. The following year, we added another room, and from that point on our home started attracting thousands of people every year.” In 2016, the family welcomed a record 44,000 visitors (including 18 tour buses) during the holiday season.

Photo Credit: Sdolasia DOGOnews

While over a quarter of a century of curious strangers walking around the house would take its toll on most people, Kathy and Edmundo love the tradition and continue to add to the Christmas splendor each year. Now, along with the spectacular exterior, every room in the house, besides the master bedroom, brims with decorations. To help them with the increased work, the duo has recruited Kathy’s mother Mary Jo and cousin Tony Aguiar who are happy to pitch in for this joyous occasion.

Photo Credit: Kathy Rombeiro

Though the decor of the first four rooms changes each year, visitors will always be treated to a model train room, an angel room, and one dedicated to a replica of Edmundo’s hometown in memory of Kathy’s grandmother, the inspiration behind this fun tradition. Scattered through the house are several Christmas trees, a lighted holiday village, and a variety of other intricate displays. While the decorations are certainly a draw, what makes a visit to the Rombeiro Christmas House memorable are the family members who greet each visitor with a smile and a candy cane. It is no wonder the family receives thousands of thank you notes from people all over the world each year!

Though donations are accepted to help pay for the hefty electricity bill, there is no cost to visit this joyful house. Edmundo says, “Everyone is welcome. We open our hearts and arms, the way things are supposed to be. We just hope that we move people to have more love for each other.”

Photo Credit: Kathy Rombeiro via

The Rombeiro Christmas House will remain open to visitors from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm until January 6, 2018. Come January 7, the family will begin the painstaking two-month process of disassembling the lights and decorations and storing them carefully until September. The hard work does not seem to faze Kathy, who says, “My inspiration is seeing the joy we bring to everyone. This time of year, people forget what the season is about. If I can bring the Christmas spirit to many or a few, that makes me happy.”

Do you have a favorite Christmas house you like to visit during the holidays? Let us know by adding your comments below.

Merry Christmas!

Resources: Kathy Rombeiro,

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  • samithegirl12
    I wish I had all those lights but wow the Electric bill must be high
    • melody329
      melody32911 months
      I agree that is a Wonderland
      • keiko
        keikoabout 1 year
        • evayang
          evayangover 1 year
          • wolfy_blue
            wolfy_bluealmost 2 years
            Whoa the lights are beautiful
            • gold3nglare
              gold3nglareabout 2 years
              Merry Xmas! So prettyyyy. I would definitely go there with some friends to see all the lovely sights. This place beats out all of my neighbors Xmas decorations combined! (And they go HARD!)
              • pinkkitty9
                pinkkitty9about 2 years
                wow! it doesn't snow where I live in southern california so I'm glad they have this winter wonerland! #LoveCAchristmas
                • hiwassupdudes
                  hiwassupdudesabout 2 years
                  wow that looks really cool
                  • itsfunnuh
                    itsfunnuhover 2 years
                    my family has the same snowman with the train that was outstanding like wow but how do they walk it nice for them to do that and i hope they do it ecpecly this year but take safty in mind
                    • col3w
                      col3wover 2 years
                      cool bro