It began with some excess enthusiasm. Eighteen years ago Donna Jenkins decided to go gung-ho decorating her house for Christmas. Thinking her 5-year-old daughter might enjoy the spectacle of a fully lit house, she strung lights along every conceivable exterior edge of her two-stories, as well as in some of the trees outside, and the place glowed.

Her decorating zeal translated into a display that attracted people from all over Dallas, who drove to the somewhat secluded Timberhollow Circle cul-de-sac to pass her house for nights on end. The heightened attention only prompted Jenkins to think bigger, convening with neighbors to come up with ideas for the next Christmas season, some scheme that might make the street even more of an attraction.

What they came up with was the 12 Days of Christmas display, now one of Dallas’ most popular Christmas attractions. Working from children’s book illustrations, the occupants of each of the street’s 14 homes came up with yard art based around the popular Christmas rhyme, with the street’s two end houses setting up wooden displays welcoming and bidding farewell to incoming cars, and the twelve other homes creating replica turtledoves, drummers drumming, and the like.
Jenkins’ daughter, five when the tradition started, is 23 now, and Jenkins is the only neighbor remaining on Timberhollow from the display’s founding year.

“We have new families moving in now, taking things over,” Jenkins says. “For the first time in a while, we’ve got a ton of little kids around here again. It’s like we’ve gone full circle.”

The Drummonds are such newcomers, having moved onto Timberhollow three years ago with their three daughters. They inherited the three French hens house, and due to their arriving at the cusp of the holiday season, fell into their decorating duty almost immediately.
“When we got here, the previous owner took my husband aside and gave him these precise instructions about what to do,” Anne Marie Drummond says. “The hens and lights were all in the garage, ready to go. We had no idea what a big deal it was.”

Drummond says the obligation to deck out her house has become a gelling opportunity for her extended family, who use it as an excuse to convene. Her husband is one of six children, she says, and members of his and her large brood drop in around Thanksgiving to help prepare the home for the holidays.

“It’s sort of a new tradition for our family,” she says. “We’ve even got a sibling coming all the way from London to help up decorate.”
Jenkins said virtually nothing has changed in the displays over the years, and Drummond, like her fellow neighbors, has no plans for major modification. She will pass on the French hens to the next homeowners, along with specific instructions on their presentation, and expect them to do the same for the next, and what was once a spur-of-the-moment collaboration between neighbors will continue as a solid street tradition.