Before David Cordova's mother passed away years ago, she told him two things. The first: "Don't let Christmas die." And the second: "Keep the family together."
Cordova takes his mother's parting message very seriously. His house, perched on a hill on Yosemite Way, not far from the Round Top Drive crossing, is a testament to Christmas. And although not all his siblings are still alive, their memories are faithfully preserved in what he calls his "family tree"—a painstakingly decorated Douglas Fir dotted with framed photos of himself and his brothers and sisters growing up in Echo Park under the watchful eyes of their parents.
"We kind of went overboard, but we're doing it," says Cordova, referring to his mother's wishes. "We get tons of friends to participate and we give them Christmas."
A high-end hair stylist who caters to the worlds of both fashion and film, Cordova enjoys sharing his Christmas decorations. "Kids come in little groups—people have to ask, Can we bring our kids by, and they come 10 at a time, 15, to the house."
In previous years, Cordova has invited underprivileged kids from Five Acres, a family-centered support group in Pasadena, to his house on Christmas. "We didn't do it this year, but we try to do it every year," he says.
Cordova has been living on Yosemite Way since 1977, when he first began decorating his house for Christmas. Detail-oriented and something of a perfectionist, as the photos above might suggest, he built his partially Spanish-style house from scratch.
"I have pictures of the hill across the way in which it looks like there are no houses there," he says of the time when he first settled in the area.
So elaborate and ubiquitous are the Christmas decorations in Cordova's house that you have to wonder if they stay up all year. "It's a question we get asked a lot," he says. "And the answer is no—we take them down. Come January 3rd, you'll find them gone."
Cordova's e-mail address is Cordevil3000[at]yahoo.com. That's right—you can get in touch with him for a Christmas tour of his place, especially if your plans to visit Disneyland with the kids happen to fall through.