Overview

In the city of Perris, one home stands out among all the rest. Not only do the lights illuminate the entire block, but if you wait long enough, you might just see Santa shuffling about in the windows.

Frank Connors, who goes by the nickname of Chris, has one of the most recognizable homes in the city of Perris. The warm glow emanating from the thousands of lights hung from his home illuminates the entire block.

TN News stopped by the first night the lights were turned on and talked with Connors about the décor, his favorite Christmas movie (“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”) which was being played on a projector in the driveway and why he likes opening his home up to the neighborhood.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

TN News: When did you start decorating your home like this?

Connors: We started about nine years ago, it didn’t get to this extent. Over the years, it’s picked up and gotten bigger and crazier and more and more. I do it this way because, you know, there’s not that much really out there that kids get to come in and see this. And then we offer a lot, so you can all come here and you don’t have to go anywhere else.

TN News: Why did you start doing this and how long did it take to get to this level of extravagance?

Connors: My wife likes Halloween and I like Christmas, so we do a huge display for Halloween. This was actually turned into a hotel, so it was like a Victorian hotel. And for Christmas, we just retrofitted it back from Halloween to Christmas, ordered different bricking and put snow on the porch and did the icicles and all of that. We took Halloween down into two days and then started Christmas, and I just finished [on Thanksgiving]. So it took like 22 days to get it all up.

My [grandfather] loved these big C9s, these old school lights and I used to help him hang the lights up and I just was like, ‘You know, we can add a little more, we can add a little more.’ And now that I’ve got my own house, I was like, ‘You know what? We’ll add a little more and add a little more,’ and it’s gotten to the point where I’m actually building a whole facade, so it’s the whole front and then from up there to the second story to here. So I just thought to myself, why not just go with it?

TN News: So what are all of the screens showing?

Connors: So we have two 55-inch plasma TVs. I have one with Santa Claus—kids just love that, you know, getting to see Santa in the window—and then the other one I usually have a workshop and whatnot, so kids can come up here and they can get a different feel and video. For Halloween it was ghosts and goblins. [On the projector] is what the house is based off of, my favorite Christmas movie. I love “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” that’s why we’re called The Griswold House. I’m always like, you know, if he can do his house wall the wall I can do my house.

While it was not yet open the night TN News visited, the home also boasts an extensive Christmas village in the backyard that wraps around the length of the home. Visitors can also enjoy hot chocolate and snacks around a fire pit.

TN News: Have you always had the village display in the back?

Connors: When Covid hit, which was very traumatic for a lot of people and it hit us hard, my wife collected villages on the inside of the house—we used to put them all on the inside. I said to her, ‘You know what? Why don’t we put them on the outside?’ Because I was like, the only people who are seeing it are just friends and family, so why don’t we get the whole world to see it and people can get out here.

And she does such a good job on, you know, the trains and the buildings and loves those things, so we put them in the backyard on tables. And when Disneyland was closed and Knott’s and the people couldn’t touch or see anybody, we stayed open. Everyone loved it, everyone came back here, and then after we did that, we’re like, ‘You know, let’s just keep it going.’ So we keep doing the backyard and in fact we bought more villages.

TN News: You have five kids. Do they like it?

Connors: They do, but you know how teenagers can get as they get older. So while my younger ones love it, my teenagers do love it, but I’m always like, ‘Hey, I need this and this done.’ Sometimes they get their friends involved. Like I had my oldest daughter, who’s 15, she gets up on the roof with me. We’ve got it down to where it’s almost walking like normal, and she’s a big help. My son helps out a lot too, and my younger ones love to paint and do things like that. So I’m hoping that makes memories for them and they can be like, down the road, ‘Hey, I remember we did all this,’ or maybe when they have kids or they get their houses, maybe they’ll do this too.

TN News: Is there anything else you want to add?

Connors: Come out and have a good time and take as many pictures as you want and make a good memory of it.

The City of Perris Griswold House, 184 Goldenrod Ave., will be illuminated from 5-9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday for the remainder of the month.

Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.