For the past 29 years, the Garabedian family—parents Nellie and Eugene and children Linda, Elise and Gary—has provided a family-friendly holiday activity right in their own front yard. Nearly 200 animated figurines dance to upbeat holiday music in a festive celebration of the holidays.
Almost every inch of the Garabedian's house is decorated with Disney characters and chicly-dressed dolls, many in floor-length gowns and most bejeweled and coiffed like Hollywood models.
It was Nellie who originally came up with the idea of giving back to the community by hosting the incredible display, their gift to neighbors for a blessing which none of the Garabedian clan will reveal. Since then, what began rather modestly has gradually expanded, taking on a life of its own.
The Christmas display is truly a family affair. Only one brother, Michael, has married. The remainder of the family lives at home, working for the family fashion design business when they’re not helping Gary with the dolls used in the Christmas spectacular. For decades now, it has been Gary’s job to dress, repair and store each doll each year. Unbeknownst to many, the display is labor-intensive, as the main stage of the ornate production has to be dismantled each night and re-mounted each evening, weather permitting.
"Look, they’re like our children. We’re married to the dolls," Gary joked. "We feel this makes the Bronx have something special to feel good about."