The Poulos Christmas House legacy lives on in Wanchese

By on December 9, 2022

From left to right, Kristy Poulos and her children Ashtyn Wescott, Adlyn Wescott and Keaton Wescott. . (Photos courtesy of Kristy Poulos)
Kristy Poulos's house in Wanchese. (Photos courtesy of Kristy Poulos)
Kristy Poulos's house in Wanchese. (Photos courtesy of Kristy Poulos)
Kristy Poulos's house in Wanchese. (Photos courtesy of Kristy Poulos)
Kristy Poulos's house in Wanchese. (Photos courtesy of Kristy Poulos)
previous arrow
next arrow

For Kristy Poulos of Wanchese, decorating her home at 89 Skinner’s Landing for Christmas is about a lot more than just celebrating the holidays. It’s about carrying on the tradition of her parents, Ann and Jim Poulos, who for four decades transformed their Ocean Acres home in Kill Devil Hills into a dazzling display of lights and festive decorations that drew thousands of visitors and earned national recognition.

With the death of Ann in 2018 and Jim in 2020, the family hasn’t been able to decorate the famed Christmas house – which had been featured on The Today Show and HGTV over the years – since 2019.

“Dad passed away in March of 2020,” Kristy said in a Voice interview. “In November [2020], when I realized that the light display was not going to happen, I decided to carry on the tradition in the little town of Wanchese. It’s all I’ve ever known, and to not have the lights to celebrate the Christmas season and Jesus’ birth would leave a void.”

“I knew what my mom and dad wanted and that was for their legacy to continue,” she added. “All those years they gave to the community, and I know that they still wanted to give and so I just kind of picked it up and brought it to my own house. I will never match up to what my parents did, but this I can tell you…it’s what they would want me to do. And it makes me feel good.”

Her display in Wanchese is made up of lights, yard ornaments, inflatables and some of the favorites that she was able to gather from her parents’ Ocean Acres display – including the Love heart, Noah’s Ark, and the roof decorations. It also includes the last reindeer Kristy bought with her father.

“It may not be the size or scale of the ‘original’ Poulos Christmas house, but the heart and soul put into keeping mom and dad’s legacy and tradition alive is greater than anyone might know,” she said. “I know they would be proud.”

Kristy said that without her parents’ Christmas display, the Outer Banks has been missing something. “And I know that heart that was on the hill [at her parents’ house] has been missed, but it’s right here in my yard.”

And while her mom’s garage on Ocean Acres Drive was filled with toys and decorations as part of the display, Kristy has transformed her garage into a memorial for her parents, with all the articles she could find that have been written about her parents’ Christmas house over the years laminated and hanging from monofilament.

In the end, Kristy said that decorating her home is about carrying on their legacy, even if it’s a fraction of what her parents did at 622 Ocean Acres Drive. “That house will always be the Christmas house,” Kristy observed. “When people ride by it, it will always be the Christmas house and their legacy will live on.”

The lights display at 89 Skinner’s Landing will be left on until the weekend following New Year’s.

SEE ALSO: OBX must-see Christmas Houses Another home in KDH carries on the Poulos legacy

OBX must-see Christmas Houses: The Borzellinos of Southern Shores

OBX must-see Christmas houses: The Hoods of Grandy

OBX’s must-see Christmas houses – The Facendas of Kitty Hawk

OBX’s must-see Christmas houses – The Mennicuccis of Kill Devil Hills


  • Glenn

    Ms. Poulos, thanks for keeping the family tradition going. OBX locals will always have fond memories of the beautiful decorations your family displayed for so many years and we thank you for sharing that spirit from Wanchese! Happy holidays to you & yours!

    Friday, Dec 9 @ 6:52 pm
  • charlie

    I was ann and Jim’s mailman for a number of years….after thanksgiving the number of cars on the road started to increase.. Waves and smiles and hello after hello shouted back and forth…Christmas spirits started with the Poulos’s…

    Friday, Dec 9 @ 9:28 pm