Christmas Lights Spectacular - Laurie McGinty

We chat to one of the owners of the most amazing Christmas lights display and ask them how they do it.

Names and ages of family members.

“Laurence, 57, Dawn, 73, Elaine, 69, Earl, 67 and Gary, 56.”

How long have you been lighting your house?

“23 years.”

Why do you do it?

“My parents started it to share the joy of Christmas with others; they have passed away so I have carried on the tradition.”

Do you need to have electrical experience? If not, how did you learn to do it?

“No but you need to be safe and use powerboards, not double adaptors, and low voltage lights. I found out through experience and talking to others.”

How long does it take to put up and take down the lights?

“Usually a week to set up and a day to pull down and pack away.”

Where do you store them all?

“I store them in plastic storage containers in my garage and larger items in the roof of the garage.”

Total number of lights/wattage?

“The number of lights I do not count but a few thousand and they’re generally low voltage.”

How many lights do you add each year?

“Two or three sets a year depending on how well they are looked after; last year’s are recycled.”

Roughly how much would you spend on new lights annually?

“About $200.”

Where are some great places to buy lights from?

“Bunnings, Recycle Centres, Big W, K Mart, The Christmas Warehouse, The Christmas Shop, Ramsgate, and friends who may have spares.”

What do the lights add to your energy bill?

“Around $20 -$30 as they are mostly low voltage.”

Any special features that set your lights apart?

“No not really, it is a combination of lights and the theme; we are well known for our Nativity Scene that my father and I made.”

What are the most popular elements of your display?

“Nativity Scene, Santa and Sleigh, Electronic Reindeers and the Lollipops we give away; we gave away around 7000 last year.”

What are your personal favourite light/s?

“The lights above the Nativity Scene Flashing like stars, my father always wanted them up there.”

Is it competitive amongst the neighbours?

“No, it is not about being competitive or selling things; we never enter competitions. It is about helping each other and sharing the spirit and joy of Christmas with everyone. That’s what it’s all about. You have lost the true meaning of Christmas if you get competitive.”

What decorative tips do you have for someone who wants to start lighting their house?

“Start small with a few lights in your front window and then add each year, get the kids and family involved, keep a maintenance kit handy (i.e screw drivers, hammer, tape, etc.).”

What safety tips do you have for someone who wants to start lighting their house?

“Safety is a priority;

• Use powerboards.
• Always pack away properly and tidy.
• Throw away and cut the cords from damaged items if they are not safe.
• Timers for safety.
• Never be afraid to ask for help especially when on ladders or roofs.
• Keep a phone on you at all times.”

Is there anything you would like to add?

“This is a special time of year for all and it is about sharing with others and helping each other. It can be a real family and street event; it just takes someone to start it and does not cost a fortune. Finally, I wish you and all your family and friends a wonderful Christmas and a 2012 that is safe and brings you all you wish for. Drop in and say G’day.”

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