Interview with Philip Grosman
Photography by Philip Grosman
Since 2009, Philip Grossman has been making his Houston-area home the talk of his town—and beyond—by transforming it into a festive spectacle called the Hanukkah House during the holiday season.
What inspired you to create this?
When I was a kid, my father hung lights on our house. I knew when our first child was born, I wanted to do the same but better.
Other than the lights and inflatables, do you make everything by hand?
Yes, but I must give credit to my good friend, Grant Marblestone. He’s spent countless hours building and designing the program to make the lights blink to music. He’s also helped me build several new decorations like the spinning dreidel and light-up arch.
Do you add new things every year? What’s your favorite piece?
Yes! In 2021, for example, I added the ten-foot dancing mensch. It’s by far my favorite! In 2022, I plan on remaking some decorations.
How long does it take for you to put this display together?
It takes about three to four weeks leading up to Hanukkah. After my kids go to bed, I’m usually outside until 11:00 p.m., gluing lights to the house, organizing and laying out the inflatables and yard decorations, and hiding the maze of extension cords. I’m very precise too. Everything must be clean and look sharp with no light bulbs out of place.
From how far away have you received feedback?
Oh, gosh. I’ve received emails and messages from all over the world, including Canada, Mexico, Israel, the UK, and Europe.
What do your family and neighbors think about it?
Our neighbors love it. A few with kids will come by every night to see the lights and dance, and several neighbors have added more and more lights to their houses every year. My family loves it too because it’s our favorite time of the year. In fact, we have a Christmas Vacation-style lighting ceremony with friends and family every year and keep the display up long after Hanukkah is over—usually well into the new year.
What does this holiday labor of love mean to you?
I’m so grateful that it brings friends, families, and strangers together and makes them happy.
To learn more, follow the Hanukkah House on Instagram @hanukkahhouse