Hollie and Jason Dolf of Flower Mound each have full time jobs. He’s a petroleum landman and she works for a curriculum company where she writes curriculum for private Christian schools. Then, around late September, or early October, they begin the back-breaking, yet joyous, task of lavishly decorating their front yard for Christmas. It all began innocently enough in 2013. That was the year their twins, Owen and Emma, were born. The babies were welcomed by their mom and dad as well as by big brother Noah who, today, is in college. “We decided to put up a few outside decorations that year,” Jason said. “It was nothing much and we had no idea where it would lead us. I grew up in Oklahoma City, where my parents and our neighbors, all decorated for Christmas. So, there was nothing unusual about it for me.”
What happened in those Christmases following 2013 was really nothing more than a natural progression. “We thought we’d add a few more things the next Christmas,” Hollie recalled. “Then we thought the same thing the year after that. Then we realized it was taking us longer and longer to get everything done. “We would set up a playpen in the yard on nice days and bring the twins out to watch us work. We needed to bring all the boxes out earlier and earlier, so the weather was usually nice enough for them to be outside.” One day, maybe five or six years ago, Hollie and Jason stood up to stretch their backs. They looked around in amazement. Had they really done all this? Their decorations has become impressive enough to attract more and more cars. “We put a sign in the driveway, telling people to feel free to walk around,” Hollie said. “There is such a variety out there now, with things perched in trees and other places that aren’t visible if you’re sitting in your car.” What exactly is in the front yard for Christmas, 2023? “It’s impossible to say ‘exactly,’” Jason answered, “but I can tell you there are about 50 inflatables and more than 100,000 lights. There are a lot of single decorations that you must be really alert to pick out. One of the things we added this year is an owl. He’s perched on a tree branch, and you probably will look right over him if you’re doing just a sweeping kind of look-around.” New attractions join the display every year. The timetable says the lights turn on and the inflatables are standing tall by the first Sunday after Thanksgiving.
They remain on through Christmas. “My frustration works on a schedule as well,” Jason admitted. “Every year, mid-November, I’m convinced this is the Christmas when the lights will not be on time. You’d think I’d know better by now, but every year it happens.” In addition to new decorations, 2023 will be the first year to include a scavenger hunt. The items to scavenge are printed on paper. Guests check them off as they walk around the yard. “We thought it would add an extra element of fun,” Hollie said. “It really gives us a gift when we see people walking around, pointing at things as they go. They’re happy, smiling, and feeling the emotions connected with Christmas. “We didn’t start out with the intention of having things go this far, but we’re glad it happened. It’s our gift to the community and we intend to continue moving forward, adding new treats for the Christmases to come.” The Dolfs become excited each year when they see people getting out of their cars and trucks and even buses coming from retirement centers. They now recognize many of the people from Christmases past, making them feel even more joyful. It is, after all, special to know people look forward to receiving the same gift each year.
Oh! Don’t forget to look in the trees for scavenger hunt items!