Photography by Danny Fulgencio.

Tommy Bourgeois is anything but bougie. 

But at his infamous Victorian Christmas Eve parties, things may get a tad boozy.

Bourgeois works as production designer at the Dallas Opera. He’s also the creator of the “12 Days of Christmas” at the Dallas Arboretum. (He currently is making updates to the exhibit, which he expects will debut in 2020.) He’s also known for his waxed mustache, which he began growing in 2016.

But neighborhood friends know him for his over-the-top Victorian Christmas Eve parties. At his annual soirée, he serves his grandmother’s fruitcake, which won first place at the State Fair of Texas. He also serves tamale balls, which are “like meatballs, but they’re tamales.” In addition, there are artichoke balls, crabmeat croissant sandwiches, fudge, cookies and candies.

“Lots of wine flows on this night,” Bourgeois says. “The whole house is lit with candles. 

“Everyone looks good in candlelight.”

He describes his Junius Heights home as “New Orleans-looking.” He says it’s “Victorian, but not severe Victorian.”

His Christmas Eve open house is for everyone in the neighborhood. Bourgeois also provides gifts for neighbors’ children. The festive evening is his favorite holiday tradition. 

But he enjoys Christmas Day as well. He prepares dinner for six close friends.

“It’s a candlelit Victorian dinner, and we’ve done this for years. They come early, we start off with cocktails. It’s a three- to four-course dinner and we enjoy the evening. And then the next day, it’s ‘poof’ — gone, and it’s a little bit depressing.”

But then he looks forward to styling La Boheme and Falstaff. 

“I could never have a job in the real world. I always wanted to do windows when I was little. When the Arboretum came along, it was my Rhoda moment.”

And of course, he ends the interview with a Christmas Eve invite. 

What to wear?

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