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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Extreme holiday decorations light up Annandale skies

3912 Lincolnshire Street. This picture doesn't do the display justice, as not everything is lit up at once.
Holiday lights go a long way toward brightening up the cold, dark December evenings. Then there’s the Las Vegas-like display at 3912 Lincolnshire Street in Annandale that is probably visible from space.

Lights and Christmas figures cover the entire property. There’s a parade of reindeer on the roof and the trees are all lit up, too. All in all, there are 71,288 lights, says homeowner Tony Ruth, with some of them flashing to the beat of Christmas music.

Another view of Tony Ruth's house.
The house was dark for the past three years, leading some nearby residents to think the show was over. But Ruth was just taking a break—he had three surgeries and his mother passed away in 2011—but the lights are back this year, bigger and better than ever.

The over-the-top decorations are a long-time family tradition, says Ruth, who grew up in the house. His mother, a teacher at Poe Middle School for some 20 years, started the light displays in the 1980s, with a little more added every year.

The sides of the house are decorated, too.

Tony Ruth, meanwhile went to college and got married but stayed in the area and helped put up the lights. He moved back to 3912 Lincolnshire in the late 1990s and took the displays to a whole new level, adding more and more lights and figures.

“I got crazy in 2000,” he says. He put in controllers in 2003 and music in 2006. He estimates the display added about $200 to his December electric bill before he started switching to more efficient LED lights a few years ago.

There are several groupings that appear in the same place every year, including a nativity scene, choir, Santa’s workshop, and a children’s fantasy scene with gingerbread people and toys. New elements for 2013 include a fourth arch on the side of the house with reindeer and snowflakes and a couple of does on the other side of the house.

“We really like Christmas,” Ruth says when asked why he puts so much effort into the decorations. “I enjoy the folks coming by to see the show with their children.” There are regulars who come every year. Visitors are encouraged to look at, but not enter the backyard, where there are jumping reindeer, dancing trees, and falling snowflakes.

It takes a couple of months to put it all up, he says. During the off season, the decorations are stored in the basement, attic, and several storage sheds in the backyard.

Ruth says he’s never had any complaints from his neighbors, which is fortunate, as the show is very bright and loud. For a while, the people who lived directly across the street got a little competitive with their own extreme decorations, but they moved away several years ago.
3909 Lincolnshire Street also has gone all out with Christmas decorating.

There’s another family a few houses up the street at 3909 Lincolnshire that puts up some pretty extensive light displays that are getting bigger every year. Oscar Sejas, originally from Bolivia, says the idea for putting up all the lights came from his mother-in-law, Eduarda Vargas, a native of Peru who also lives there. Huge Christmas light displays are popular in those countries, he says. “It makes us happy when people come by to see the lights.”  


  1. so glad he's back! We were worried... Going to see his lights has been one of our Christmas traditions since the kids were little (and they aren't now).

  2. The lights are great. The homeowner was so welcoming and kind, standing outside giving out candy canes and inviting visitors to get out and look in the backyard.

  3. We loved the lights this year! What great people to do so much for others.