Decorated Dedham home makes a popular backdrop for Christmas card pictures

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff


121 Garfield Road

Rita Mae Cushman’s mother and father began their family’s decorating tradition 39 years ago. Now, Cushman is 67 and her mother is 88. The two schedule how they’re going to set everything up, and Cushman says it takes three months. The electric bill always rises significantly, to her husband’s dismay. “I tell my husband, ‘I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t go places anymore. This is my big joy, my big pleasure.’ ” Santa visits the display on the weekends in December for the amusement of passersby. The house is well known in Dedham, and Cushman said some people take their Christmas card pictures in her backyard, with the lights and ornaments as the backdrop. “It’s a joy to see the expression on children’s faces,’’ she said. “It’s worth a million dollars.”