Every year I mean to do photographic justice to San Francisco’s famous “Christmas House”, and every year I fail. The house is just such a popular holiday sight that, if you are driving, you can only cruise by as the streets are filled with families and children and other spectators marveling at the sight. I always mean to hike up out of Noe Valley to the top of the highest hill overlooking the Castro with my camera, and every year I get too busy. So, until next year, when I’ll have these same good intentions, this little photo essay will have to do.

A bit of background: The Christmas House is the creation of two long-time residents of the upper Castro named, appropriately, Tom and Jerry. Rumor always has it that one or both of them were window decorators at Macy’s. I can’t confirm that, but it would make sense. Back in 1973, presumably when they bought this three story Victorian overlooking the City, Tom and Jerry bought a little Norfolk pine as a house plant. It eventually was transferred outside and grew to the size you see now. At some point, twenty or more years ago, Tom and Jerry started creating an ever more elaborate Christmas display around the tree. It’s grown to include animatronic figures, train sets and music. In the last decade at least, they’ve even been hiring a Santa every night in the week before Christmas to wave and talk to the many kiddies whose parents bring them to see the house.

 

The Christmas House in context.

The Christmas House in context.

 

The 3-story Douglas Fir that is decorated every year.

The 3-story Douglas Fir that is decorated every year.

 

Christmas House detail.

Christmas House detail.

Tom and Jerry do all this out of their own wallets and will accept no donations, except for corporate donations. Every year, this is their gift to the children (young and old) of the City.

Thanks, Tom and Jerry. You’re one of the reasons San Francisco is Just Possibly the Best City in the World!

P.S. Next year I promise to walk up the hill at night and get your display in all its lit-up glory.

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