4 must-see light displays in Fort Wayne that will get you in the holiday spirit

Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana are alight with holiday displays. Here are four must-see houses where you can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, send a letter to the North Pole, greet the Grinch, and more!

Send a letter to the North Pole

Where? 3361 Sand Point Rd. in Waynedale
Owners: Andrew & Amanda Landers

Andrew and Amanda Landers’ home is all decked out for Christmas at 3361 Sand Point Rd.

Q: How long have you been putting up this display?
A: At this residence, it’s been two years.

Q: When do you start setting up?
A: I (Andrew) start setting up a couple days prior to Thanksgiving, and it usually takes about a week to two weeks. It’s usually just me on the outside, and my wife does some on the inside.

Andrew and Amanda Landers’ home is all decked out for Christmas at 3361 Sand Point Rd.

Q: What is your favorite part of the display?
A: The Santa Claus, but this year the mailbox, as well.

Q: What inspired you to put this whole thing together?
A: We love the holidays. We love Christmas, and it makes people smile. It makes people slow down and enjoy things. It also gets the rest of the neighbors involved—more and more lights have started going up in the last year.

Andrew and Amanda Landers’ home is all decked out for Christmas at 3361 Sand Point Rd.

Q: Do you work in a creative field?
A: I (Andrew) do. I’m a welder and a fabricator, but I’ve been doing airbrushing for 20 years. We owned a small woodworking business for a couple of years, and it’s just gone up from there.

Q: How many visitors do you typically get?
A: I know our cameras go off quite a bit, and we can’t keep track. It’s 99+ a night usually. We have received a lot of cards over the years from neighbors thanking us.

Andrew and Amanda Landers’ home is all decked out for Christmas at 3361 Sand Point Rd.

Q: How is the neighborhood response?
A: It’s unreal. That’s exactly why we do it. We’re not doing it just to show off or anything like that. This is stuff to look at, and we add each year. Next year, we’ll probably double it again.

Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Santa’s mailbox is sitting outside of our house. Please, drop off your letters! And please make sure to put your return address on there, so he can get something to you special.

Andrew and Amanda Landers’ home is all decked out for Christmas at 3361 Sand Point Rd.

Greet the Grinch

Where? 3408 Addison Ave. in The 05
Owners: Marilyn & Jon Comstock (+ 3 boys, 3 dogs & 3 cats)

Marilyn Comstock & family’s home is all decked out for Christmas at 3408 Addison Ave.

Q: How long have you been putting up the display?
A: We have been doing small displays for the last few years. Last year was the first year that we really started to go all out and continue to add more.
 
Q: When do you start setting up?
A: This year we did not start setting up until after Thanksgiving. Last year, we started at the beginning of November.

Marilyn Comstock & family’s home is all decked out for Christmas at 3408 Addison Ave.

 
Q: What is your favorite part of the display?
A: My favorite part of our display is the star that we have at the top of our flagpole. I love all of it, but this is probably my favorite.
 
Q: What inspired you to put this whole thing together?
A: My husband’s family has always done big displays for Christmas, but in the last few years they stopped because of all the work it took. In 2019, we decided to go shopping the day after Christmas to see what deals we could find and ended up going for Christmas decorations that were on sale. Before we knew it, we were hitting every store we could to see what deals and decorations we could find. It was not until we finally stopped shopping that we realized how much we had truly bought.

Marilyn Comstock & family’s home is all decked out for Christmas at 3408 Addison Ave.

 
Q: Do you work in a creative field?
A: No, I work in a warehouse as a part of the operations team, and my husband is a maintenance technician.
 
Q: How many visitors do you typically get?
A: I do not know. We put up the lights, and I post it on the Nextdoor app once they are up for anyone who wants to come and see.

Marilyn Comstock & family’s home is all decked out for Christmas at 3408 Addison Ave.

 
Q: How is the neighborhood response?
A: It does seem like some of the neighbors have started decorating more since we have done this.
 
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: What is on display now is not all the lights that we have. It just started getting too cold for us to add anymore to the display. Next year, I am wanting to start putting things up in October so that we can try and get everything out and expand the display even more. Our display is on every day from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Christmas Eve, we leave it on all the way through Christmas night. We keep it lit up all the way to New Year’s Day.
 

Explore a Norman Rockwellian fairyland

Where? 4429 Pembroke Ln. in The 07
Owners: Mark Everetts and Daughter JazzyLu

Mark Everett's home is decked out for the holidays at 4429 Pembroke Ln.

Q: How long have you been putting up the display?
A: This is my (Mark’s) second year. It looked similar last year, but there are a few fun new things—not the least of which is the light-up pink flamingo that is one my favorite new additions this year.

Q: What inspired you to put this whole thing together?
A: I never had a grandiose plan to make a big display or make it this elaborate. It actually just started last year when I had only been here a few months, and my neighbors put up their Christmas tree the day after Halloween, kind of as a statement against the COVID year isolation doldrums. I was like “Ok, I’m in, too.” So I started decorating at the beginning of November. I just kept adding and adding to it, and the next thing I knew, by mid-December I was getting Clark Griswold jokes about my amount of electricity consumption. In all seriousness, though, I really legitimately feel extremely fortunate to live in what I think of as a completely magical fairytale-land, Norman Rockwellian neighborhood. I looove all the old houses, and the completely amazing neighbors, and I just want to show my excitement and appreciation for living here and contribute to and add to that magical feeling for others. It might sound cheesy, but it’s true. I kind of feel like I “owe” it to the neighborhood if that makes sense.

Mark Everett's home is decked out for the holidays at 4429 Pembroke Ln.

Q: When do you start setting up?
A: This year, I didn’t start setting up nearly as early. I took advantage of a warm day in November to be on the roof, but most of it started after Thanksgiving this year like a normal person.

Q: What is your favorite part of the display?
A: One of my favorite parts of the display is all the coral-colored corbels (knee-brace roof supports) wrapped in pink lights. They are one of my favorite parts of the house, in general, that really showcase the traditional Craftsman Bungalow style details in this tiny little house. On the side of the house, in particular, I love seeing all three side corbels together lit up. My other favorite part of the display is having all the front windows open and the bright-colored flashing lights on the inside of the house synchronized together. It’s what makes the display unique and striking, I think. They are actually stage lights that I use with my band that I had sitting around and realized they could be put to good use.

Mark Everett's home is decked out for the holidays at 4429 Pembroke Ln.

Q: Do you work in a creative field?
A: My day gig is Assistant Professor of Music Technology at the University of Saint Francis, so I get to spend all my time with super creative/talented college students and teach a variety of audio production and music industry classes. It’s basically the best job on the planet. I also play drums in a pop-punk band and dabble in other creative endeavors. My current creative passion is photographing my house plants, but I’m still trying to figure out how to make a living off of that.

Mark Everett's home is decked out for the holidays at 4429 Pembroke Ln.
 
Q: How many visitors do you typically get?
A: Hard to say how many visitors I typically get. The house is on a single block winding road that doesn’t get much through traffic, so it’s hard to stumble upon (other than the glow you can see from the far ends of the block), but there is a fair bit of regular walking traffic in Southwood Park. This will be my second year as a candy stop on the Southwood and Fairfield Neighborhood’s “Light Up The Night,” which is a really busy night, a ton of fun, and gives me a chance to talk to new neighbors and others that don’t find their way on the Lane typically.

Mark Everett's home is decked out for the holidays at 4429 Pembroke Ln.

Q: How is the neighborhood response?
A: The neighborhood response is always amazing! I get several people who slow down and yell out a car window or walkers-by that comment on how much they like it and take pictures. Many of the neighbors on the street are very close. We spend quite a bit of time together, and they all love it! I actually help a couple of them with Christmas lights on the peaks of their houses because there are a few that aren’t a big fan of heights. Many of us have little ones in similar age ranges that are also close, so there are bunches of littles on the block that walk up to the house with absolutely adorable awe and wonderment.

Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Always be bold. Always be boldly you. And color always wins.

 

Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus

Where? 721 Pelham Dr. on the North side
Owners: Matt and Jody Ellenwood

Santa and Mrs. Claus sit in front of Matt and Jody Ellenwood’s home at 721 Pelham Dr.

Q: How long have you been putting up the display?
A: We’ve been putting up the display for 25 years in this location.

Q: When do you start setting up?
A: I start the first of October and finish the week of Thanksgiving. It’s a family affair. My kids come over with their spouses.

Matt and Jody Ellenwood’s home is all decked out for the holidays at 721 Pelham Dr.

Q: What is your favorite part of the display?
A: It’s hard to say. The three favorites would be Whoville; the workshop and nativity scene (Jody); and the gingerbread house along with the workshop and nativity scene (Matt). The Whoville and nativity are new this year.

Q: What inspired you to put this whole thing together?
A: I always like lights, and I always like looking at other people’s lights. This display didn’t start off this way. It started with the bushes in the front, and the Santa mailbox started 25 years ago. 

Matt and Jody Ellenwood’s home is all decked out for the holidays at 721 Pelham Dr.

Q: Tell us about the Santa mailbox?
A: Last year we received 200 letters to Santa, and we helped Santa mail out 175 letters back to the ones with return addresses. We’ve gotten letters from Georgia, Chicago, Columbia City, Auburn, and a lot from Fort Wayne. The out of city/state ones are from children visiting family in the area for the holidays.

Matt and Jody Ellenwood’s home is all decked out for the holidays at 721 Pelham Dr.

Q: Do you work in a creative field?
A: Def. not artists, but we sit and watch shows and say “Yeah, let’s do that.”

Q: How many visitors do you typically get?
A: There’s usually a steady flow of traffic. About 75 cars a night on average for Fridays and Saturdays. On Fridays, we sit out as Santa and Mrs. Claus at the end of our driveway. This weekend (December 17 and 18) is the last weekend we’ll do this before Christmas. I want to talk to the kids and hear what they have to say. I wanted my display to be different, to be interactive, and for people to walk through and see things.

Matt and Jody Ellenwood’s home is all decked out for the holidays at 721 Pelham Dr.

Q: How is the neighborhood response?
A: Very good. We don’t get a lot of complaints.

Q: Anything else we should know?
A: We are collecting donations for Shepherd’s House. There is a tub at the end of the driveway for donations. We care deeply about the vets and what they’re going through when they come back.

Matt and Jody Ellenwood’s home is all decked out for the holidays at 721 Pelham Dr.