Done Up Like a Christmas Tree

The 62nd Annual Christmas Idea House to Benefit Valley Students

We can’t believe it, Christmas is almost here. In Gilbert, Christmas means cooler weather, delicious treats and the Holiday Christmas Idea House. 

The Christmas Idea House is a three-day charity event fundraiser for the Desert Club. Founded in 1964, the Desert Club is an all-women volunteer group that helps provide scholarships to students in the East Valley.

Every year, the women work for months to gather supplies and put together their vision of what the perfect holiday home should look like. They choose a luxury home in the East Valley and completely transform it into the ideal Christmas wonderland.

This year, the 62nd Annual Christmas Idea House will benefit Valley students and families. The theme for this year’s house is “A Lasting Impression,” a reflection on the annual tradition this holiday event has become for thousands in the East Valley and the tremendous difference it has been for the lives of many deserving students and families.

Candy Zeper, co-chair for the 2019 Christmas Idea House, has been a Desert Club member for 37 years. Her mother was a member of the women’s club for more than 50 years. Candy says it is truly inspiring to watch the Christmas Idea House come together every year.

“I grew up watching the ladies of Desert Club turn a home into a magical Christmas House and have seen daughters, mothers and grandmothers make this a yearly tradition by attending brunch together.”

The house chosen for this years’ showcase is a spectacular Mediterranean estate built by Billy Johnson, master-builder of Amberwood Homes and a private entrepreneur.

“Desert Club members have always had a special place in my heart, and I was honored to accept their invitation to hold the Christmas Idea House at my home this year,” Billy says. “Anytime the Desert Club has asked for my support over the years, I have always been delighted to give it and encourage others to as well.”

Built in 1998, the 10,000-square-foot home, situated in the historic Citrus Corridor, captures Billy’s passion for home building and is reflected throughout every corner of this sprawling estate. Also located on the estate grounds are dog kennels, four horse stalls, a riding arena for his Spotted Tennessee Walkers and a private underground target shooting range.

The Christmas Idea House celebration will begin on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m with the Preview Gala, reservation-only event that includes a gourmet dinner followed by an exclusive tour of the house.

The following day, guests can take their seat at a lavish Sneak Preview Brunch either at 9 a.m. or noon, where there will be another tour of the house and early-bird shopping for decorations.

The doors are open for public tours and shopping Friday, Dec. 6 from 4–7 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.

Over the years, the Christmas Idea House has had thousands of visitors, and the house never fails to disappoint them.

“Each year I am amazed at what the women of Desert Club create in these beautiful homes that have been graciously ‘loaned’ to us. To me, the Christmas Idea House event truly signals the beginning of the Christmas season,” Candy says.

 Anticipation is building for this year's Holiday Christmas Idea House. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

The home features rich wood inlay walls, a combination of stone and wood floors, beamed ceilings, unequaled faux finishes, five unique fireplaces and Venetian plaster details. Extensive under-roof exterior spaces enhance the privacy of the azure swimming pool with running fountains, surrounded by hand-laid flagstone, palm trees and a guest house.

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