You have to see it to believe it.



That’s what visitors who drive by the house on Beauclaire Lane in Perinton will tell you about Wanda Polisseni’s breathtaking Christmas lights display.



“They just say it’s the highlight of their season. They get in the Christmas spirit when they come here,” said Polisseni, 73.

You have to see it to believe it.

That’s what visitors who drive by the house on Beauclaire Lane in Perinton will tell you about Wanda Polisseni’s breathtaking Christmas lights display.

“They just say it’s the highlight of their season. They get in the Christmas spirit when they come here,” said Polisseni, 73.

The home on the hill illuminates the surrounding neighborhood. And it’s not unusual to see cars line up bumper-to-bumper for a closer look.

What many people don’t see, however, is the jaw-dropping decor that’s inside the house.

The real spectacle comes from walking through the front door, where you can see two18-foot evergreen trees encrusted in white lights standing tall inside the living room — after you step past a staircase lined with whimsical white branches.

The effect is like walking into an enchanted forest, explained Polisseni.

“At night when you open the door and all the lights are on, it’s like a winter wonderland,” she said.

The story behind the festive display all starts with a dairy farm outside Potter, NY, where Mrs. Polisseni was raised. She loved to decorate for Christmas as a child, but her family was unable to go beyond the bare minimum.

“We were dirt poor,” said Wanda. “I think that’s why we didn’t have many decorations.”
Later, she married Gene Polisseni, who eventually became vice president of Paychex.

They had four children and lived in Irondequoit for 14 years. They then moved to Ohio for the business and returned to Rochester in 1980, settling in Perinton.

Like other families who remember their loved ones during the holidays, the Polissenis are no exception.

Tragedy struck in 1983 when their teenage daughter Kimberly was killed in a car accident involving a drunk driver. Wanda still decorates one room with Kim’s favorite color, purple, to pay tribute to her. Another room is also dedicated to her husband, who passed away in 2001.  

She said that the decorating really took off when her grandchildren came along, and it’s been a tradition for the last two decades.

The home has been a popular destination for seasonal charity events, including the annual dinner for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Bivona Advocacy Center.

Hosting these types of charity events is something Polisseni enjoys, not just in Perinton but at the family’s house on Canandaigua Lake.

But apart from these events, many visitors who come to see the lights offer to pay admission.

The hostess merely shakes her head in answer and tells them, if they feel so inclined, to give it to a charity of their choice.

She said the display is her gift to the community, as a way to give back.

“I don’t do it for myself or for any notoriety or recognition,” she said. “I don’t reap any benefit from it except knowing it brings so much enjoyment to so many people.”

Click here to see a photo gallery of the home.