This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Garabedian family’s famed Christmas House in the Bronx.
Family matriarch Nelly Garabedian, a former seamstress, wanted to turn her simple family home into a holiday hotspot to give back to the community. With the help of her grown children — Gary, Linda, Elise and Michael — the extravaganza has only become more outsized over the decades.
Three sides of the Garabedian house at 1605 Pelham Parkway North are filled with dozens of mannequins in ballgowns and tuxes. They’re made to look like movie stars and famous fictional characters. There are at least 40 outside, but Linda told Business Insider she doesn’t know them by number, only by face.
Santa’s sleigh is parked on the roof, while an elaborate Nativity scene sits nearby. Christmas trees, cherubs and chandeliers stuff the rest of the yard. Unlike many Christmas displays, the Garabedians’ is more about props than twinkle lights.
“When we celebrate Christmas in our house, what do we do?” Linda said, “We all get together with friends and family and celebrate. Our vision was to have our house look like a big Christmas party.”
Linda and Gary took Business Insider on a tour of their house decked out for the holidays.
The side of the house features a Nativity scene with movie star mannequins gathered for a Christmas party.
They even designed this custom red carpet platform and built the mechanisms that made each couple dance.
The family doesn't hand-make the costumes, but each mannequin's wardrobe is painstakingly picked out.
Because the costumes aren't weather resistant, the Garabedians move the mannequins in and out of the house each night.
Linda Garabedian loves having decorations like Alvin and the Chipmunks specifically for the kids who visit.
And here are Beauty and the Beast themselves. This section of the display was designed by Elise Garabedian.
This violin-playing mannequin actually moved in time with classical music booming from speakers around the outside of the house.
The mannequin in the pink feathered dress was made to resemble Nicole Kidman in her infamous Chanel No. 5 perfume commercial.
She even has the Chanel logo draped over her back that Kidman wore during the famously expensive commercial.
Around the front of the house, more classic movie stars, like Vivian Leigh (in red), mingle under a custom-built canopy.
The Garabedians are working on a new Cinderella mannequin, who they hope to debut later this season or next year.
Marie Antoinette ushers viewers into the French-themed backyard display. The Garabedians' matriarch, Nelly, comes from Marseille, France.
The Garabedians' Christmas House is one of the few houses in its Bronx neighbourhood to decorate for Christmas.
Linda and Gary Garabedian's favourite part of their entire home is the Nativity scene on the home's second level, and they spend a lot of time arranging the characters.
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