Real Estate / Houses / Holiday

Houston’s Most Beautiful (and Intense) Christmas House

13 Trees, Hundreds of Owls and Thousands of Ornaments Make This Power Couple’s Manse Stand Out

BY // 12.22.17
photography Michelle Watson/

Hold on to your reindeer Santa baby! You’ve never seen a house so ready for your arrival. This amazing Tanglewood residence boasts 13 Christmas trees, hundreds of elves, fairies and Santas and thousands of Christmas ornaments as well as the requisite outdoor glow with zillions of white lights dripping from the massive oak trees.

Cynthia Allshouse has always had a penchant for decorating and creative thinking. But that talent kicked into high gear with the birth of triplets 17 years ago. While family law specialist Bucky Allshouse was busy helping with pre-nups, divorces, child custody and the like, Cynthia stayed at home to take care of their two daughters and son. While dealing with young triplets can be challenging, Cynthia says she took respite in a world of ribbons and bows, Santas and glistening ornaments.

“I could lose myself in the creativity,” she says.

The multi-tree obsession began with the triplets when Cynthia’s mother delivered three miniature trees for Christmas. Since day one, those fanciful trees, decked out with childhood memories, have found their place beneath the spiral staircase. But there was always the Rice University “owl tree” in the library, a nod to Bucky’s alma mater and the Allshouses ongoing support of the university.

Cynthia allows that the tree began at 8-feet but as the collection of owls and Rice memorabilia grew, so did the tree. Today, it stands 14 feet tall, every square inch loaded with decoration. And, yes, they are still collecting owls.

Allshouse home Christmas decorations

In the dining room is the “angel tree,” which is Cynthia’s personal favorite. It’s decorated entirely in red and gold, dressed primarily in angels and religious ornaments.The music room shines with the “white tree.” There are two trees inside on either side of the front door, though not decorated, they are lighted. A fourth mini-tree that belongs to Bucky’s sister, who spends holidays with the family, stands under the stairwell. Each of the teens has his own personalized tree in each’s bedroom.

And that’s just the beginning. A life-sized Santa and a life-sized father Christmas are part of the decorative them as are ribbons, holly and ornaments wrapping the curving stair rail. Three mantles are decorated to the hilt as is the triple alcove above the ovens in the kitchen. Needless to say, the Christmas fantasy extends throughout the house. While Cynthia is a talent, the job could not be done single-handedly. Richard Flowers and The Events Company team spent a number of days helping with the decorative assembly.

And Bucky is an active supporter working with outdoor lighting expert Donald Clay to create the shimmering wonderland that is the Allshouses’ front yard. This year, they decided to go with LED lights and as Cynthia notes, “It made a huge difference.”

The Allshouses credit their love of the decorative Christmas spirit to their parents. Both come from military families and their parents insured that in whichever country they were posted, their homes would be alive with the Christmas spirit.

And now you ask, where do they put all that stuff? The house is designed with a hidden closet for tree storage and all but one of the trees is on rollers. In addition, there is a large walk-in attic storage area for the various mantle trimmings, figures and other decorative elements.

Part of the Special Series:

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