On Monday night, a new winner was crowned on ABC's The Great Christmas Light Fight, and this year's house to make Clark Griswold proud is in the Bay Area, and you can go visit it yourself this week.
A Novato family, the Rombeiros, took home this year's prize for their wildly over-the-top, indoor-outdoor explosion of Christmas cheer. More is more with the decoration of this otherwise modest tract home in the North Bay, and the decorating obsession began with patriarch Edmundo Rombeiro, who was recently sidelined in the family's holiday efforts by a stroke. As ABC 7 reports, daughter Kathy Rombeiro and her cousin Tony had to do all the heavy lifting this year, but much of the design and conception came years ago from Kathy's dad — who participated in Monday's season finale and got to clutch the trophy himself.
The life-size diorama outside the home includes more than 1 million lights, as well as an evergreen hedge that Edmundo trained over the years into a grand arch.
As Marin Mommies reported last year, the so-called Rombeiro Christmas House has been a local attraction going back 28 years, and "every year it gets bigger and more elaborate." The setup typically begins in August, and the family especially went all out in the 2018 holiday season because that's when this year's Great Christmas Light Fight was shot. And the display continues inside the house, where long ago Edmundo built a raised walkway for strangers to walk on to view everything inside — which includes a lighted miniature reconstruction of a Christmas festival in Edmundo's hometown of São Miguel in the Azores. In 2017, the family welcomed 43,000 guests through the home, and with the TV show, that number is likely to shoot higher.
There is also a very, very elaborate model train room.
Edmundo typically dresses as Santa and posts himself outside to greet everyone through the Christmas season, but his health and the family's overall energy for his three-decade Christmas tradition may mean that there will only be a couple more years for the Rombeiro Christmas House. He told Marin Mommies last year that he was hoping to make it to the 30th anniversary, which would be in 2021.
Says Kathy Rombeiro about the win, "We're so excited, so excited. We've opened the house to the public for the past 28 years, this is how I know Christmas and it just gets bigger and wilder every year."
If you want to see the Rombeiro Christmas House, head to Novato to 34 Devonshire Drive. The house is open to the public every evening from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through January 6.