Enter Jim Simpson’s house and you are instantly in a world dedicated to Christmas.
In fact, before you even step inside, her lawn at 2313 E. Taxidea Way, Ahwatukee, is already setting the stage with dozens of ornaments, blowouts, lights, and other holiday decorations that say “Happy Christmas” in a bold and bright way.
His Ahwatukee Christmas home features decorations and collections of decorations in every nook and cranny of the house he’s lived in since 1992, some 13 years after he moved from Chicago to Arizona.
And for just three hours one day a year, the public is invited to view a collection they have amassed over years of travel at home and abroad.
That day is tomorrow, December 19. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., people can tour the house and admire the front and backyard, where everything says “Merry Christmas” in a bold and unique way. People are asked to bring a can of food that will be donated to a local food bank.
Visitors will find over 100 animated figures, ornaments and nativity scenes from around the world, an 8ft wall of angels, a 12ft Christmas tree, over 75 nutcrackers, trains, an 85 house village, more of 30,000 lights in and around the house, and Santa Claus himself.
One wall is decorated with Christmas angels from top to bottom. Another wall is full of nutcrackers from all over the world. Mantels and shelves are laden with Christmas houses, Santa villages and ornaments, some of which he has had since he was a child.
Among the trains on display is a 12-foot Christmas tree laden with lights and ornaments.
From the sidewalk to the garden wall, more than 30,000 lights glow at night, illuminating Christmas trees, Santas and elves and other holiday figurines. Its collection of Santa figurines alone represents artifacts from 110 countries.
His house is full of so many Christmas decorations that he sometimes has trouble finding the candles to light them.
Many exhibits also move, often to the well-known holiday tunes emanating from Christmas speakers, clocks and music boxes.
When asked why he does everything he can at this time of year, he told APN: “I love Christmas and I just started doing it in 1992 and that’s what it became.”
He begins work on each year’s exhibit well before the end of the monsoon season, carefully extracting each individually wrapped ornament from some 250 large boxes that contain hundreds of other smaller boxes with ornaments. He estimates that the installation takes at least 165 hours.
When he’s ready to tackle exterior work, he gets a waiver from his homeowners association to start before his permitted 30-day pre-Christmas window for exterior displays.
Simpson considers it all a labor of love.
He rarely stops to think about Christmas throughout the year, buying more ornaments and decorations from stores in the United States and abroad as well as online.
“If there is a place with a Christmas department or store, I can find it very quickly,” he once told APN. “Some were given to us by people. Our neighbors have family in Sweden and they came to our house with a decoration and said: “We heard about your house in Sweden”.
Simpson sees the house as a special way to express holiday wishes to the community.
“For just a few minutes people can forget about the rest of the world and just enjoy Christmas,” he said. “That’s our motivation. This is truly our gift to the community.