FRISCO, Texas — At the Burkman Holiday Home the show starts well before it gets dark. The Christmas-themed and decorated home didn't even have its lights on early Wednesday but that didn't stop families from coming by.
"It's so beautiful," yelled one child who arrived early to see what all the buzz was about.
This is a Burkman family tradition now going 22 years, and Jennifer Burkman is the master decorator. Her husband and father, affectionately known as "San-pa" comes down from Michigan to help with the engineering.
"I use the term OCD, Obsessive Christmas Disorder," Jennifer laughed. "I'm a little more than meticulous," she said.
The house features 80,000 lights, 300 holiday pieces arranged carefully on the lawn and an entire Christmas village that now encompasses their entire garage. Jennifer told WFAA that she blames the love for Christmas and decorating on her parents who, she says, met at a craft store.
The holiday home in Frisco, near Little Elm and Hackberry, is now featured on ABC's "The Great Christmas Light Fight," which means national attention. The home was already the go-to place in 2020 for families desperate in the pandemic to see lights.
It takes the Burkmans six to ten weeks to fix up the front of their home. Jennifer tells WFAA they have three attics to store it all. She says all the hard work is worth every bit when you see the reactions from children and parents to the decorations.
"Our goal is for you to not see the grass when the lights are on but to see us from outer space," she said.
Aside from their obvious love for Christmas, the Burkmans have another great reason to decorate: their children. The Burkmans have two adult sons who are on the autism spectrum and since they were young were very excited to get Christmas decorations that moved and were lighted.
The family has since started a newly formed foundation called the Burkman Family Foundation. According to the website, "we are raising money to support our own foundation which will award scholarships on two different levels. High school seniors with cognitive disabilities to attend a higher education facility aimed at learning a trade, career skills, or a two to four year college degree. It will also support individuals ages 16 through 20 to attend local programs that teach adult living skills."
A donation box can be found near the garage of the home.
"They always inspired me to try harder and never give up," said Jennifer.
By now the family is used to hearing every question around this time of year: What is your light bill? How long does setup take? How many lights?
Jennifer said with the help of LEDs their power bill is only less than $500 for the entire six weeks. And to top it off, there's 20 decorated Christmas trees inside the home. The decorations are never a finished product and they're already working out next year's design plan.
"I may be on Amazon tonight ordering what I need," Jennifer laughed.
The times for when the lights turn on and more information about their foundation can be found on their website.