Each December, Oak Highlands becomes a neighborhood of calling birds, dancing ladies and egg-laying geese.
The residents of this Lake Highlands neighborhood bring the words of the classic Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to life in their front yards.
Timberhollow Drive is the cornerstone of the Oak Highlands decorations – a cul de sac with 14 homes. Turning onto the street, you’ll see yard after yard decorated with three- to five-foot tall plywood cutouts depicting the 12 gifts, from the partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming.
For years, Timberhollow residents lit up the night with traditional Christmas lights. Then, several residents decided to do something a little more creative.
“I grew up in Arlington, and there was one street that had a different theme each Christmas,” says Donna Jenkins, who lives at the home of the seven swans-a-swimming.
“We thought it would be fun to do something like that.”
So the neighbors gathered their children’s coloring books, Christmas cards and magazines to find the images they wanted. Warmed by portable heaters in their garages, they drew and painted designs, cut plywood and created displays.
Neighboring streets soon followed suit: Some have white Christmas trees in each front yard, while others have matching white lights on each home. The result is an entire neighborhood of merry lights and decorations.
Each year, hundreds of people come to view the decorations. Carolers, trolleys and tour buses have all made their way through the neighborhood. Jenkins recalls one evening when three trumpeters played “Silent Night” and other Christmas favorites as they walked down the street.
“Once a bus even got stuck in the cul de sac, and all the neighbors were trying to help him get out,” Jenkins says.
The neighborhood homeowners hope to continue the tradition for many years.
“Every time a house sells, the decorations go with it,” says Jane Street, who lives at the home of the 12 drummers drumming.
To find the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” take Abrams north past Church Road. Turn left on Moss Trail, left on Moss Haven and right on Timberhollow.
If you’d like to venture just south of Northwest Highway on Abrams to see another Christmas lighting spectacular, stop by Buster Lyon’s house.
Lyon knows that Christmas is for children. So for 19 years, he has been making kids of all ages “ooh” and “aah” over his home Christmas displays.
Lyon and wife Marie’s home, 6244 Lovers, is a child’s Christmas fantasy come true: rocking Santas, waving snowmen and dashing reindeer – the front yard is a masterpiece of lights and motion.
You’ll find more than 100 animated Christmas characters, a live choir, clowns, Santa Claus and goodies for the kids – all at no charge.
The decorations can be seen each evening from 6:30-midnight Dec. 15-25. Lyon and several assistants carry the electrical characters in and out each night, unless rains cancel the evening’s show.
What is now a 10-day extravaganza began with one simple yard decoration in 1973, Lyon says.
“I got a big, old snowman out of the Neiman’s warehouse,” says Lyon, who has owned Buster Lyon Auto Co. for 47 years.
That solitary snowman was joined the next year by a giant Santa who sat in his rocking chair and waved to passers-by. And when Lyon saw the children lined up to have their pictures taken with Santa, he realized he was onto something.
Each year since, Lyon has added three to five pieces to his Christmas collection.
“The kids just go nuts, and the moms and dads love it, too,” he says.
Some of the thousands of annual visitors simply drive down Lovers Lane for a glimpse, while others park their cars and walk over to the house for a closer look. As a result, the 6200 block of Lovers Lane between Skillman and Abrams often is filled with traffic, music, lights and people.
“I have the greatest neighbors in the world,” Lyon says. “Every one of them says: ‘Buster, keep doing what you’re doing.’”