Holiday Home Wonderlands 2020 (updated with new entries)

January 5, 2021: Since this article originally posted on December 28, Hollywood Gothique has visited a few other homes decorated for the Christmas season. We have also learned that the Valley Vista Holiday House will keep its decorations up until at least January 18. A revised text of the article follows, with photos and descriptions of three additional Christmas displays included….

Here at Hollywood Gothique, we do not have the wherewithal to visit every house lighted up for Christmas, but we do seek out those that go the extra mile, using elaborate decorations to create a fantasy wonderland and/or emphasizing themes that appeal to us (hint: more houses inspired by A Christmas Carol, please).

Two good examples we visited in December are Holiday Fantasies Come to Life in Burbank and Valley Vista Holiday House in Sherman Oaks, both of which are scheduled to remain open throughout the beginning of January. Other decorated homes still on display in January include the Gingerbread Train, the Costello Christmas House, and Moorpark Christmas Land.

Most of these houses were visited by us during our 2020 Halloween Home Haunt Odyssey to the San Fernando Valley; click here if you want to see the spooky October presentations, or scroll down to see pictures of the winter wonderland extravaganzas these home offered in December….


Costello Christmas House
5218 Costello Avenue
Sherman Oaks

Here is a new discover for us – a house, tucked away on a quite dead-end street, with enough wattage to illuminate a Vegas casino.

The lawn is relatively small, but an area on the other side of the driveway and a patch of grass beyond the sidewalk provide space for more decorations, and the lights extends to the borders of the property, up onto the roof, and onto a large tree out front. The home owners encourage viewers to get up close, and home-made signs indicate good spots for viewing and taking photos; however, the best vantage point may be across the street, all

 


Gingerbread Train
4848 Sancola Avenue
Toluca Lake

This location hosted the entertaining Rotting Hill Cemetery for Halloween. The Christmas presentation takes a similar approach, using a combination of decorations and elaborate illumination to create a charming display. The moving train wheel (a giant peppermint candy) and moving patterns of light add some life to a mostly static display, which includes the Peanuts characters in a nod to the beloved Charly Brown Christmas Special.

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Moorpark Christmas Land
10240 Moorpark Street
Toluca Lake

This is another home we visited for Halloween, which we labeled “Land of the Giants” though it has no official name as far as we know. Likewise, we have dubbed their winter presentation “Moorpark Christmas Land” because it is an accurate description and easy to remember.

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The look of the Christmas presentation is different from what was on view during Halloween. The display is another static tableau enhanced with colorful lighting, but this time there are no enormous inflatable figures towering over the property. Nevertheless, the enormous yard is packed with more than enough seasonal decor to create a huge visual impact worth checking out.


Holiday Fantasies Come to Life
1505 N. Valley Street
Burbank, CA 91505
Through January 6, 6-10pm

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Holiday Fantasies Come to Life is distinguished by its impressive backdrop (a fair tale castle) and its artfully arranged yard full of mannequins inspired by various Disney franchises, including Woody, the Beast, Daisy Duck, various princesses, and even Walt Disney himself is on view. To capture the festive feeling of the Christmas season, nutcracker soldiers have been added to the mix, and Mickey House is dressed in a Santa suit. The lighting scheme is bright and colorful enough to dazzle the eye from across the street.

As always, the display is packed so full of decorations that it should seem overcrowded, but somehow it all fits comfortably together – like a little slice of Disneyland tucked into a front yard.

The one unfortunate drawback is crowd size. Visitors tend to pack the sidewalk out front, with little or no effort at social distancing. We hate to think this wonderful presentation might be a Christmas super-spreader event. Safety-conscious visitors may want to view this from across the street or simply do a drive-by, which is unfortunate, because the wealth of detail is truly worth seeing up close.


Valley Vista Holiday House
14611 Valley Vista Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Update: Schedule extended through January 18, 5pm-10pm (no longer till midnight)

What’s This? What’s This? Why it’s “Christmas Town” of course! That is the theme at this season’s Valley Vista Holiday House, inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. Home-made figures of Jack and Sally are prominently displayed high atop the house, with Zero tucked in between, and Oogie Boogie’s silhouette peers out ominously from a window. The walls around the home are festooned with lights and Christmas trees, and the movie’s soundtrack wafts through the night.

There is no sidewalk in front of the house, so it’s best to pull up as close as possible directly in front of the walkway. If traffic is light, you might try walking across the street to get a wide view taking in the entire “What’s This? Christmas Town” display. A major wow-factor for Valley Vista Holiday House is the way the figures are arranged atop the house, giving the impression of something larger and more elaborate than a typical Christmas display.

Note: Valley Vista Holiday House presented a Beetlejuice display for Halloween. We hope they continue with the Tim Burton-themed displays in the future.

 

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.

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