GLENDALE, CALIF., DEC. 25 -- A one-time presidential Santa Claus whose home is adorned year-round with thousands of decorations defied a court order Christmas Eve by opening his doors to hundreds of visitors.

Robert George, 63, wearing a red satin cap, red overalls, black boots and a sweat shirt featuring a Santa wearing sunglasses, greeted scores of wide-eyed youngsters whose parents ignored a "No trespassing" sign that was planted in his front yard last month as part of an agreement he signed with the city to rein in what has become a nuisance to his neighbors.

"Let them {the authorities} do what they will to us," a defiant George said Christmas Day. "I don't care if they arrest me. It's a denial of my constitutional rights. Who are they to tell me who can enter my home?

"I'll celebrate Christmas my way. They can't take that away from me."

But, despite George's determination to carry on a tradition he began five years ago -- transforming his home on Alameda Street into a holiday wonderland featuring 60,000 brightly colored lights and 14-foot reindeer -- life in his neighborhood has been much quieter since he signed the agreement with the city Nov. 19.

Instead of receiving visitors 365 days a year, George must restrict his merrymaking from November through January. While once hundreds of handicapped and terminally ill children were given tours of his home, now only two children are permitted each month.

The spectacle had attracted as many as 15,000 viewers a year. As a result, city officials received complaints from more than 40 angry area residents weary of massive traffic jams outside their homes.

But on Chistmas Eve, George, who was appointed the official presidential Santa by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 and was present at the lighting of White House Christmas trees during the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations, brushed off the "Scrooges at City Hall" and greeted some 1,500 guests.

"I tell them not to forget the milk and cookies, and when they gather 'round the Christmas tree not to forget their prayers," he said.

Police Sgt. Mel Barnes said despite the large number of visitors who dropped by "Santa's house, we haven't received a single complaint {from neighbors}. And, unless there's a complaint, we won't do anything about it."