We chat to Michael from Davidson NSW, who takes his incredible display online and spreads Christmas cheer to the masses.
Names/ages of family members
Michael (18) Kathy (Mum) (50) Ian (Dad) (60)
How long have you been lighting your house?
“For about 9 or 10 years – since I was nine years old.”
Why do you do it?
“It brings lots of people joy and happiness to see the displays and sends the positive message of Xmas too. People also very kindly give us donations that go to a local charity, which is a great thing. And finally, I really enjoy doing it!”
How long does it take to put up and take down the lights?
“It usually takes about two months – usually a couple hours every day and all weekend. But this year we have to have it done in two weeks for the programme so I am working hard to make this happen. It will then take about two or three weeks to take everything down.”
Where do you store them all?
“On one side of the garage and in a separate store room.”
Total number of lights/wattage?
“I can’t say for definite but probably about 40,000 lights in total and maybe a couple of kilometres of power cord. Wattage depends; the LEDs are usually 12 or 24V but it could also be 240V if it’s the rope lights.”
Total amount spent on lights over the years?
“Maybe $10,000 but it could be a bit more. In this figure you have to account for lights that don’t work and having to buy replacements.”
How many lights do you add each year?
“We will add about 2000 to 3000 but on top of that around 1000 replacements for broken lights too so in total about 4000.”
Roughly how much would you spend on new lights annually?
“Depends. The year we bought the animation it was a bit more but usually it would be about $2000, some years it’s less.”
What do the lights add to your energy bill?
“In the past it hasn’t been that much but this year the biggest problem is the power rise that everyone is going to be suffering from. We are starting to phase in a lot of LED lights and I am now only buying LEDs because they are more energy efficient.“
How would you describe your lights?
We have green and red LED Rope lights on the roof plus a big nativity scene. On the front of the house we have multi coloured LED rope lights, blue and white LED rope lights being draped from the palm trees, we have patterns at the top of trees and lights coming down like a waterfall and figurines in the front part of the garden.
We have a couple of dancing bears that are sensory operated so if someone walks up to them they will move and we also have a dancing Santa that sings, “Santa Claus is coming to town”.
Any special features that set your lights apart?
“We have a music synchronisation system called “Xmas in a Box” which we got from a company called Animated Lighting in the USA and that makes our display different. We plug lights into it and then we embed it with the music and the lights flash with the beat of the music.
We also have a Xmas themed village with a train, The North Pole, ski slope, lots of things going on and behind it a 7ft rotating Xmas tree.”
Are you part of a lighting street culture, or a one off in your street?
“We have the biggest display on our street but the majority of the neighbours like the display and try and help in it’s creation and like to get involved some how.”
What are the most popular elements of your display?
“Kids prefer the backyard because of the inflatable Santas, toys, things that they like interacting with and adults tend to like front yard and the village.”
Your personal favourite light/s?
“I think I will like the new nativity scene when it’s finished.”
Do you think you’re addicted to house lighting?
“It’s fun to do and it’s great to see the end results. Everyone that comes, young or old, really like it so that’s the most important thing for me. People come back so many times, maybe 3 or 4 times in one season and that’s what’s rewarding.”
Any foreseeable end to your house lighting journey, or are you in it for the long haul?
“I haven’t really thought about that. I will be doing it indefinitely. As long as people keep coming I’ll do it.”
Watch Aussie Christmas Lights on The LifeStyle Channel.
See the streets with the best Aussie Christmas Lights display in your area.
Find out more about Aussie Christmas lights on The LifeStyle Channel.