The show goes on at the Outer Banks Christmas House

By on November 22, 2018

The show has been aglow  in KDH for 39 years. (Voice)

The lights went on at the Outer Banks Christmas House Thanksgiving night in honor of Ann Poulos.

For 49 years, since they were newlyweds, Jim and Ann Poulos have turned their home into a winter wonderland for Christmas — the first 10 years in Virginia Beach and the last 39 in Kill Devil Hills.

The Christmas display in their yard on Ocean Acres Drive just outside Nags Head Woods Preserve is so big and so bright, it’s won national recognition several times over.

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But this Christmas season will be the first Jim Poulos spends here without his wife. Ann died Aug. 23, but exacted a promise from her husband before she passed away.

“She didn’t say ‘promise me,’ ” Poulos said. “She said ‘you’re going to do it.’ ”

The Christmas House features hundreds of thousands of lights strung all over the property, along with inflatables, handmade displays and flying reindeer and sleighs strung above it all. Each year, Poulos adds something new, often a donation brought by a friend or neighbor.

(Poulos family photo)

“It means so much to so many people,” Poulos said. “We had a lady with Alzheimer’s come and sit in the rocking chair and the very first time she spoke in two years was here. She said ‘Merry Christmas,’ ” Poulos said. “Everything out here is coming right from my heart.”

It’s been a beloved Christmas tradition for Outer Bankers and holiday beach visitors for decades – even a few famous ones.

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Actor Harrison Ford brought his son to visit one year, and had a nice chat with Jim, who didn’t realize who he was talking to until he saw the guestbook. It was signed “Harrison Ford, Hollywood.” Not convinced, Poulos looked up photos of Harrison Ford’s son to make sure. And sure enough, he was the real deal.

Ann Poulos

Other celebrity visitors include John Travolta and Gayle King. And then there was Al Roker, who came by in 2005 to bestow the Christmas House with the Today Show’s honor of best holiday lights in the country. The next year, the Poulos show was featured on HGTV.

But Jim Poulos is always a little reluctant about the publicity.

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“I don’t do this for the contests,” he said.

This Christmas season, the community pulled together to help make sure Poulos could keep his promise to his wife of 49 years. For days before Thanksgiving, family, friends, neighbors and strangers helped string lights and set up displays so it would all be ready to light up as the sun goes down on Thanksgiving.

Poulos said the lights will be on from dusk to about 11 p.m. each night from now through Christmas, rain or shine. Many nights you’ll find Poulos outside with the family handing out candy canes.

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