When Edmundo Rombeiro was growing up on the Portuguese island of Azores, Christmas was his favorite holiday. He would help his mom, Maria, set up the Christmas tree and build a manger with lava rock, since the island was a volcanic island.
Rombeiro immigrated to the U.S. in 1970 (five days after Christmas) and eventually settled in Marin. Eager to maintain his family's tradition, he began decorating his home in San Rafael and later the one he purchased in Novato, on Devonshire Drive.
He strung up lights, thousands of them, and put a traditional Victorian Christmas tree in the living room. In another room, he and his daughter Kathy built a winter scene with a miniature train set, while another was filled with angels.
It's a tradition Rombeiro has maintained for 22 years to the delight and whimsy of his neighbors, despite the steep electric bill.
"I love Christmas and I love watching people enjoy it," the 75-year-old Rombeiro said Monday. "I want people to remember that it's about birth of Jesus. Some people come out of here with tears in their eyes."
Among the decorations are photos of Christmas celebrations past and a separate room dedicated to the town the family came from, Sao Miguel, Azores.
Last year the house was toured by 41,000 visitors, including several tour buses.
Talk about putting Novato on the map!
The Rombeiro house is located at 34 Devonshire Drive and hosts visitors every day 6pm-10pm until January 6.