The Ho Ho Ho House

A Seasonal Labour of Family Love
photo by Clayton Perry

It all began on the rooftop of a bungalow on Garry Street with a family of snowmen, Santa’s reindeer along with the jolly old elf, and a father and son team who felt inspired to decorate for the holidays.

Nine years later in 1993 the little bungalow that started it all was demolished to make way for Dianne and Gerry Woodman’s new home. The larger rooftop invited the opportunity for expansion and so it grew with the purchase of another person’s display.

The Woodman’s home is known as the Ho Ho Ho House in honour of the illuminated words Ho Ho Ho on the garage roof.

Santa Claus is positioned fittingly next to the chimney, and a star is placed on the peak of the house. Over 100,000 bright lights and more than 35 displays and decorations are a beacon of Christmas cheer. Photo opportunities abound. There are interactive displays such as a sleigh and Santa’s chair to sit in, a dancing Santa who is always looking for partners and two wooden cut out snowmen that stand side by side (lovingly made by hand) to pop faces through.

Gerry enjoys adding to the collection annually. Dianne says, “This year we are excited to add Merry Christmas spelled out in three-foot high light up letters.”

It’s a Woodman family tradition but it’s become much more than that; it is a seasonal community highlight and it’s also a destination for people from across Metro Vancouver who travel out to see the house dressed up in it’s festive finery. As well, the Steveston Community Centre’s winter hayrides make a point of passing by each year.

Dianne and Gerry’s son Jamie is an integral part of the installation team. He is nicknamed the “number one elf” and is carrying on the tradition started by his father and grandfather 30 years ago.

Jaime recruits friends to assist him with the set up, which takes close to one month. Dianne and Gerry’s daughter Jennifer has never known anything different. Her childhood Christmases were enriched by the winter wonderland in their yard and by seeing nightly visitors collect on their lawn.

“It’s a labour of family love. It’s one of the brightest parts of the year.” Jennifer Woodman

Most rewarding for the family is the joy they bring others during the holiday season. They find letters and cards in their mailbox thanking them and little children in particular are enchanted by the magic.

“People look forward to it. It brings a lot of joy.” Dianne Woodman

While not everyone clicks their heels together when snowflakes fall from the sky Jennifer says, “The snow really added to the atmosphere last year.”

Charitable donations are welcomed and all proceeds benefit Wigs for Kids B.C. for children who have lost their hair due to cancer or other serious illnesses.

Steveston Insider thanks the Woodman family for creating this love-filled tradition, which has injected Christmas spirit into countless people’s lives over the last 30 years!

The Ho Ho Ho House is located at 4280 Garry Street at the corner of Fentiman Place. Visiting hours are between 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. nightly and all day December 25.