ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Here in Tampa Bay, we don’t have an idyllic, postcard-ready winter wonderland when the holiday season rolls around.
We don’t get any icicles hanging from our eaves from Thanksgiving to February. We don’t have snowflakes left on our nose and eyelashes. You don’t skate outdoors on a real frozen lake before warming up in front of a crackling fire.
What do you want to know
- Oakdale’s Christmas House has featured a stunning display of Christmas lights for 42 years
- The attraction has over half a million lights
- Located in the south of Saint Petersburg, the Christmas House is open in the evening until January 3
What we get is maybe six days to wear our most stylish jackets and boots, and to pretend to be cold when the temperature drops below 67 degrees, and, if we really have luck, a dazed iguana—the true symbol of the Florida winter vacation—in the yard.
But we are a unique and resourceful group. We have our own ways of making the holiday season special. And one of Tampa Bay East’s best annual traditions is a short trip to see South St. Pete’s. Oakdale Christmas House and its almost unfathomable display of Yuletide lights and decorations.
Located at 2719 Oakdale Street South, on the edge of the quirky neighborhood of ‘Burg’s Driftwood, Oakdale Christmas House has been giving visitors a jolt of Christmas cheer for nearly half a century. Owner Ted Kresge and an army of volunteers began erecting the breathtaking facility in 1977; the Christmas house has been featured on the iconic HGTV and NBC Today morning show, and now features more than half a million lights, plus scenes and characters from pop culture, the Bible and assorted Christmas stories. Visitors line the streets with parked cars for blocks to stroll a marked path through the eclectic collection.
The display is updated every year. Admission is free, though donations are appreciated — the Christmas House’s electricity bill can reach $4,200 while it’s open.
This year, the Christmas House flipped its switch on Black Friday and will remain lit every evening from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Sunday January 3. Take a look at our photos below; if you haven’t already, you might consider making this tour one of your annual Tampa Bay holiday season traditions.