Representing all great things Armenian and Holiday related, we bring to you all (once again) our annual visit
to the insane and must-see Christmas display at the Garabedian Household in Pelham Bay in the boogie-down Bronx! Located on a small plot of land (painted entirely in Pepto Bismol pink) on Pelham Parkway North in the Baychester neighborhood of the Bronx sits this average, two-story home (inhabited by the most amazingly insane Armenian-American family) that comes alive with the biggest display of Christmas fuckery on the planet—all of which can be viewed from Thanksgiving until the Epiphany (6th) in January! So eat your hearts out Kardashians because your narcissistic, annual Holiday card showcasing some of the most extensive photoshop retouching EVER has nothing on this seasonal display when it comes to representing the Armenian community! My own personal history with this hidden treasure in the Bronx began when I was 15 years old and I was dragged there by a friend and his family. Stunned and amazed by what I saw, I obviously became hooked on the insanity and therefore made it a point to make this Holiday pilgrimage every single year after! Of course I dragged Tommy to see this display when we first began our relationship (never worrying that my love for this Christmas display would somehow be a turn-off) and now we’ve made it our tradition together along with Mamma Biscuit by our side! Speaking of Mamma Biscuit, you know you’ve got one special pug on your hands when the crowd of onlookers who have shown up to view this mess pay more attention to her rather than this insane display in the background!
Now, there is something so incredibly inappropriate and downright wrong but OH-SO-RIGHT about placing a life-size, movable Nativity scene overlooking a hodgepodge of hypersexualized mannequins of celebrities like Cher, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson—Liberace went missing but his grand piano and seat were still front and center! It’s as if Madame Tussauds Wax Museum purged an entire lot of celebrity wax figures that were deemed too sexual for the viewing public and somehow, the Garabedians got their bloated hands all over them with their own ideas for a Christmas display! Something tells me that Mary and Joseph are extremely unhappy with their room at this inn—what can I say, they should have booked a room through Expedia, especially during the Christmas season! Now they’ll have to suffer as Mary gives birth right next door to this Sodom and Gomorrah after-hours party—and I’m sure she’ll be calling the front desk with a plethora of noise complaints between her contractions!
What fascinates me most is just how boudoir the overall vibe is within this display. Male and female mannequins propositioning one another for sex decked out in faux Dior gowns and showcasing plunging necklines that only Heather B. from VH1’s Rock of Love with Bret Michaels would dare to wear. You know, just because you clasp a double-C logo brooch in diamonds to a gown does not make it Chanel. In fact, these dresses are more Bob Mackie than Chanel or Dior but I do applaud the Garabedians interpretation of high-fashion. This massive Christmas display features more than 170 mannequins, 50 cherubs, 10 hooved animals—be it reindeer or horses—many celebrities, fairy tale characters like Cinderella, Mickey, Minnie and Donald Duck from Disney and one baby Jesus—all rotated for display throughout the years. I’m utterly sad and disappointed to report that yet again, I did not see one damn Madonna in this blasphemous mess! NOT ONE! The King of Pop seemed so lonely without that hag standing next to him in a Blond Ambition cone-bra corset—afterall, she is the Queen of Pop! I guess they would rather feature other girls from the material world but if they decide last minute to put Lady Gaga in place of Liberace at the empty seat in front of the piano, I’ll scream louder than Mary giving birth without an epidural!
Needless to say this Christmas display is no joke! The Garabedian Family have been working on it each year since 1973, when matriarch Nelly Garabedian, a former seamstress, decided to “give back to the community” and started this visual assault on everyone’s good taste! Gary Garabedian (Nelly’s son), his father and his two sisters decided to carry on the tradition that started when Gary was just 7 years old. Can you believe it? Nelly started hoarding Christmas paraphernalia when Gary was 7—I envy these people! The theme that Nelly wanted for this display was to make it look like the movie stars were coming to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and boy have they succeeded in that—10 fold!
The latest additions to their collection are three large fiberglass figures of Alvin and the Chipmunks, which the Garabedians snagged last summer from a house in Connecticut. Why you ask? I have no idea but at this point, they could put Joan of Arc burning at the stake right next to a sexy mannequin wearing a garter belt and knee-high-knock-me-down-fuck-me-boots in black patent leather and no one would bat an eyelash.
Gary made many promises for new characters come this year but he failed on all counts. Where was Elvis Presley, Spider-Man, a new nativity scene and Barbie mannequins in Bob Mackie costume? While we were wondering, we had time to snap a few photos of Mamma Biscuit with Tommy and my mother!
Gary has gone on record to say, “Every free moment we have during the year we are working on this display, we learned how to make our own fiberglass and now create our own molds for the mannequins during the summer. Then we buff them, prime them, paint them and clothe them.” They do all of this and then store many of the figures at his brother’s house upstate during the off-season. Click here to watch a short snippet of Gary explaining a bit of the process while sporting a tight, Weird Al Yankovic hairstyle and giving us a major lisp! I love this man, he’s a hero in my book. I envy these Christmas over-achievers because honestly, they make my Christmas display at the pug palace seem like a low-budget Christmas at a Jehovah’s Witnesses’ household!
I don’t ever want to be caught complaining about how exhausted I am from the Holiday season in front of any Garabedian family member because their maintenance routine for this display makes me look like a Christmas chump by comparison! The male mannequins stay outside permanently during the holiday season, covered by large plastic bags when it rains or snows, but each evening at 5 p.m. the Garabedians haul out the female mannequins, which each weigh nearly 45 pounds. Then, when the crowd dies down, around 11 p.m., they bring the females back inside to store overnight so their gowns, furs and boas are not ruined by the weather. Yeah, now that’s commitment!
I guess the old adage is correct, even for Christmas: SEX SELLS! I just knew my girl Madonna was onto something the moment she revealed her perfectly sculpted breasts to sell a record!
Anyway, Mamma Biscuit somehow garnished herself some attention in front of this massive display of moving dolls! The crowd loved her just as much as they loved looking at a set of religious statues looking down on a brothel of sexy mannequins—and that made our visit all the more memorable! To conclude this post, we implore you to watch Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” music video which was partly filmed right in front of the Garabedian house back in the day. If Mariah Carey has given this display her stamp of holiday approval, than you know it’s something to see for yourself!