Bethesda Family's Busy Christmas Display Attracts A Crowd


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Somewhere in the middle of 86 inflatable Christmas decorations is the house of Bob and Lucy Elliott. Each holiday season for the last seven or eight years, the Elliott home on Rosehill Drive has become a destination. The collection of inflatable Santas, cartoon characters and Jesus, Mary and Joseph has grown enough to attract neighbors and those who document particularly festive Christmas houses. This year's display is the biggest ever. Nearly 90 inflatables dot the home's front and backyard. Bob Elliott created a lighted path to guide visitors around the many wires and electric cords zigzagging through the half-acre property. "The density has definitely increased," Lucy Elliott said. It's a hobby Bob Elliott said he started on a whim that has turned into a meticulous exercise. Each year, on the day after Christmas, he heads to local big box stores that sell the inflatables (which can range from $20 to 150) and buys them at clearance prices. They become part of the next year's display, carefully designed, maintained and reviewed every day in case high winds or trespassing deer knock one out of place. Elliott positions the tallest inflatables between trees so they are more visible from nearby Seven Locks Road. There is a singing Frosty the Snowman, starfish and poker-playing Santas. There is a Snoopy, Pooh Bear and dozens others, and a scavenger hunt game with a guide. The display goes up the day after Thanksgiving, what Bob Elliott calls his personal Black Friday. He inflates, ties down and sets up most of the display over that weekend and the visitors start coming by. He'll incorporate favorites of the couple's two young children. (The Elliotts ask visitors to stop walking around the property after 10 p.m.) [gallery link="file" orderby="post_date"]

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