Dennis Guyette and Brandon Smith share their love of Christmas by allowing the public to tour their holiday-packed home
By Rebecca Bennett
Dennis Guyette and Brandon Smith’s love of Christmas is evident without even stepping foot inside their Southside Greenwood, Barton Lakes neighborhood home.
With tons of light up, blow up and glowing decorations on their front lawn, the outside is a mere glimpse of the wonderland that awaits inside the Greenwood Holiday House.
“We start Halloween night. We take down all the Halloween stuff. We have kind of a mini haunted house thing in the garage for all the neighborhood kids and stuff. That all comes down and all the Christmas stuff comes out,” Dennis said.
They’ve put on the display for nearly 14 years and had media coverage from every TV station in Indianapolis and even TLC and some other national channels.
Dennis said they do it simply to bring joy to people.
But, Brandon admits, it was kind of his idea.
The most Christmas trees they’ve had inside their home at one time is 86, but this year there’s only going to be about 63 trees and 30 nativity sets. The trees take up so much space in their home that by the time all the trees are up in the kitchen, there’s no room for them to cook.
“We have to eat out a lot because by the time we’re done decorating, we can’t get to the cabinets or the stove,” Brandon said with a laugh.
“We just sleep here and function for a month,” Guyette said.
“People will actually bring us gift cards for places for us to eat because they know we can’t use the stove,” he adds.
The kitchen isn’t the only thing they have minimal use of due to the space the trees take up in their home. For the entire time the trees are up, they lose the use of one of their bathrooms, garage and most any free space.
“We downsized it a little bit because we have a lot of older people come from nursing homes and things. With that many trees in here, it was just getting too crowded and they couldn’t get through,” he said.
Brandon’s favorite tree is the “gold” tree that is predominantly displayed in the living room, the tallest tree against the back wall.
“We spend the most time with that tree,” Brandon said.
“Plus that tree is unique because, granted I don’t break any ornaments, it has exactly the number of ornaments as the house number, which is 632,” Brandon adds.
All of the trees have their own theme or color scheme.
“Lots of our trees have ornaments from years and years ago on them and different nativity scenes we have are really old and the older people just go nuts over them,” Dennis said.
When they turn out the lights and blow out the candles at the end of each evening, Dennis said they will sometimes find ornaments or trinkets left behind by a visitor.
“A lot of times at the end of the night when we get done, we’ll walk through to shut the trees down and we’ll find ornaments and things on different trees that people have brought with them in their pockets and they just stick them on the trees as donations and things like that,” Dennis said with a smile. “Lots of times they don’t actually go with the tree that they got put on.”
Something unique to each tree is the top to it.
“All the toppers will be handmade,” Brandon said. “I have a floral license so I do all kinds of floral tops. There is no traditional star topper.”
But Christmas trees aren’t the only pieces that spread Christmas cheer inside their home. Numerous nativity sets, nutcrackers, blow molds of snowmen, Santa Clause and others are also part of the indoor Christmas display.
Nearly half of their garage will be taken up by a Christmas village display and their attic contains roughly 40 containers of decorations along with a storage unit they have, to hold some of it.
But, the display changes every year. This year they are adding a few trees and light up decorations in their backyard.
They don’t charge for people to come and tour their home and take in the beauty of their massive display, they only ask for a donation for Riley Children’s hospital.
Dennis said they usually raise about two or three thousand dollars for Riley.
It’s not just people from the neighborhood to come to their house, he said they’ve had classes, senior citizen’s homes and people from all over the globe.
“We had a lady from Japan come through a couple of years ago, she couldn’t speak English just kept saying ‘woah’,” he said laughing.
In fact, people will come every year that they do the display.
“Some people have come every year since we started doing it. We have some people who will come eight, 10 times during the year,” he said.
In fact they sometimes have so many people the neighbors aren’t happy with the traffic their display attracts.
“There’s been times where it’s over half way around the block to get in the door,” Guyette said.
He said the busiest evenings are Friday through Sunday and the slowest evenings are Monday and Tuesday. Christmas eve is the busiest evening.
The house, located at 632 Locust Grove Lane in Greenwood, will be open to the public to see the display every evening now through Dec. 24 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Dennis said he used to have a second job but he retired, so it is harder to stretch to pay the electric bill and replacement parts and lights.
They don’t charge, but this year they are taking donations through a gofundme account. Anyone who would like to donate, can donate at: gofundme.com/holiday-house-christmas-display.