Get some tips from the experts when it comes to decorating your house with Christmas lights.
Names and ages of family members.
“Deb, 50 and Mal, 47.”
How long have you been lighting your house?
“Since 1999 and I met Mal in 2004. Initially he wasn’t that interested but as the years have gone by he has embraced my passion for Christmas and it is something we enjoy doing together.”
Why do you do it?
“I remember Mr and Mrs McGinty standing out the front of their house and Second St was so quaint. It really appealed to me to be part of it so it was a natural progression to buy here when the time was right. I enjoyed visiting Christmas lit streets as I love the twinkling of the lights; Christmas is also time for slowing down and taking time out to reflect and just enjoy time with family and friends and the lights are a good reason to catch up with people.”
Do you need to have electrical experience? If not, how did you learn to do it?
“Luckily my dad has an electrical background and set up a system for the cords so they are under cover and out of the way….a bit of common sense also helps!”
How long does it take to put up and take down the lights?
“We usually start thinking about it a month or so before and the actual decorating we do over a couple of weeks but probably a week of work in total. Taking them down is much easier…only a day but the packing away takes another day or 2.”
Where do you store them all?
“Most of them fit into boxes which we store in our little back shed. It is surprising how efficient Mal is at packing!”
Total number of lights/wattage?
“In terms of strings of lights probably a few thousand lights and they are all low voltage. Over the years we have changed to LED that are more efficient to run. We also have lights in some of our decorations so another thousand or so in the reindeers and lamppost.”
How many lights do you add each year?
“Our house frontage is small so it doesn’t accommodate tens of thousands of lights so we usually only replace light strings that have lost bulbs or stopped working so maybe one or two sets a year. We tend to add more decorations each year.”
Roughly how much would you spend on new lights annually?
“Normally between $500 - $1000 but this year we went a bit overboard!”
Where are some great places to buy lights from?
“All the major chain stores – Bunnings, Myer, Target and Kmart are probably are the main ones; Christmas warehouse stores are also good and this year we found The Christmas Shop at Ramsgate which sells some really beautiful decorations (hence the overspend!).”
What do the lights add to your energy bill?
“Not much, if anything it is probably a bit less because we are always outside during December and not running the air con!”
Any special features that set your lights apart?
“Ours are all white but the essence of Second Street is that we are all quite quirky and there are many different approaches to displays amongst those of us crazy enough to do it!”
What are the most popular elements of your display?
“In 2010 we did a white Christmas theme for the first time and that was popular as people started calling us the White House.”
What are your personal favourite light/s?
“The lamppost would be our favourity. We got it from a country store in Guyra on our way to Queensland in 2008; the store was closing and we spotted it and rushed in to buy it just as the salesperson was about to lock up. We carted it up the coast and back and it just reminds us of our trip.”
Is it competitive amongst the neighbours?
“No! We would like to think we respect our neighbours choices be it to go all out, do a little or a lot or nothing at all. I remember Mr and Mrs McGinty and the joy I used to feel as a visitor to the street so the motivation is to continue to provide that sense of joy for other people.”
What decorative tips do you have for someone who wants to start lighting their house?
“Choose what you like; start small and let your theme evolve.”
What safety tips do you have for someone who wants to start lighting their house?
“Be careful with placement of cords and power boards; they need to be under cover/waterproof and arranged to avoid tripping! A surge protector and timer are good ideas.”