There is no shortage of outdoor Christmas lights and decorations on homes in the area, but for some families, turning the yard into a holiday fantasy is a tradition that goes back decades, a labor of love for the neighborhood to enjoy.

"We've been decorating since 1969," said Eleanor Marcey, standing on the porch of her Arlington home next to an electric train poised to race around the track. "At 5 o'clock, we turn on the lights. Everything brightens and starts moving."

A sign reading "1610 North Pole" hugs a post in the yard, a giant Nutcracker guards the front door and presents are strewn about.

"People look at all this for five or 10 minutes and forget their problems," she said. "This is an old-fashioned Christmas we've been doing for 40 years. People come from all over to look."

The display is set up by Marcey, husband Calvin and son-in-law Carlos. The toys are vintage and have been collected for decades. The big white bear is from Marcey's childhood, and the gingerbread house is 40 years old.

"That pine tree near the sidewalk," she indicated, pointing toward the street. "We hang candy canes, and children walking on the way home from school know they can take one. Some days we have hot chocolate too."

On the second story of the house, hanging by a fingernail on the window ledge, is the Grinch. "Every year we put him in a different place and the kids try to find him," she said.

For those who make outdoor decorating a holiday event, it can take weeks to get the yard just right. They are particular about setting decorations in specific spots on the lawn.

In Pimmit Hills, Irving Poole has been decorating his house and his son's next door for 27 years. Now in his 80s, he still continues the tradition.

Inflatable creatures populate the yard, and lights abound. Santa is riding a motorcycle and sports car, flying a helicopter and reclining on the ground. Penguins and geese peck at the grass.

"When we started decorating, the fire department brought in a live Santa, escorted by cars, sirens and lots of noise," Poole said. "We averaged 200 children."

Not as many children come today to look at the lights, but adults say their parents brought them years ago and now they are returning with their own children.