Marin’s best decorated homes create a striking winter wonderland

Mia Kessinger

With chilly temperatures and early sunsets, the holiday season is officially upon us. Although staying inside next to a warm fireplace may sound appealing to get into the Christmas spirit or just have a jolly time with your friends, make sure you check out the best holiday light decorations in Marin! While it takes venturing out into places such as Novato, Belvedere and Mill Valley to find them, it is well worth the drive to see these festively setup homes. 

Extending throughout the front of the house, the multitude of glinting animals adds to the Christmas spirit.


319 San Rafael Avenue, Tiburon: 4/5 stars

Located along the San Francisco Bay in Belvedere, 319 San Rafael Avenue not only offers a peek into the North Pole, but also brings along spectacular views. Gleaming ducks, owls, snowmen and wrapped presents line the lawn, all guided by a giant, glittering candy cane leading to the North Pole. Still not feeling cheerful? Turn the corner and Frosty the Snowman welcomes you with a broomstick cane and a heart of gold. When approaching the next segment of decorations, you will be pleasantly surprised to find two tiny snowman peeking out of the ground singing “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” leading you perfectly into the winter wonderland. The addition of the phrase “Love Peace Joy” framed by two palm trees also successfully conveys a well-wishing spirit. Dispersed across the ground, reindeer, polar bears, dogs, racoons and geese wear Santa hats or scarves while some even “help” put up lights. However, the best and most intricate aspect of 319 San Rafael Avenue is Santa and his reindeer trotting along the roof of the house. It’s only a shame that they are located on the backside of the home, rather than at the front.

Illuminating a bright blue, the tree goes along perfectly to the song “Blue Christmas”.


340 Jean Street, Mill Valley: 4.5/5 stars

If it is a 40 degree winter night outside, 340 Jean Street in Mill Valley is the perfect place to go. Simply pick up your friends, grab a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider, tune into your favorite radio station and you are ready. While parked alongside this home, the gigantic, glowing Christmas tree lights up the street with its different colors, following the holiday songs that play on station 96.1. Although he’s hidden in the upper window, Santa Claus also makes an occasional appearance to light up the mood. While the tree itself is magnificent, I wish there had been more decorations. However, with the array of dazzling colors that blink to the beat and story of the song, it is impossible to get bored when visiting this house.


“Rombeiro House” 34 Devonshire Drive, Novato: 5/5 stars

Spread out on their yard and roof, there is hardly a spot without a figurine.

When approaching 34 Devonshire Drive in Novato, you are immediately struck by the countless holiday creatures scattered in the front of the snowy lawn, making this home impossible to miss. Despite the 30 minute drive from Redwood, this was by far the most impressive out of all the homes I visited. It even includes a station with a red sleigh to take photos with your friends and family, the perfect addition to maximize your visit and share it on social media. Because of these astonishing features, the home is being displayed on the American Broadcasting Company’s (ABC’s) television show “The Great Christmas Light Fight” on Dec. 16. While the outside is satisfactory enough, the “Rombeiro House” gets bonus points for also opening up their interior for public access. Notorious for starting the setup process in August, the inside rooms are lined with endless figurines. While the villages of caroling figurines are phenomenal, my favorite part was the enormous train station and figure town, decorated elaborately with tiny people walking around the carousels and ferris wheels as if it were real. Because you cannot find a room that doesn’t have ornaments hanging from the ceilings and comforting Christmas tunes, this house is a must-see.