No, it’s not the Griswold’s, but it is a family where their love for decorating their home with Christmas lights has become an obsession.
The Richards Family of Frenchs Forest, a northern suburb of Sydney, have spent more than a quarter of a million dollars over the past five years on creating their own Winter Wonderland display.
Naturally, the number of lights head into the thousands and there are hundreds of items including trains, houses, elves, Santas, ice-skaters and even an ice-skating rink.
There are statues of reindeer and a wireless computer-operated system that can beam Christmas songs into your car radio as you drive past. It can even synchronise different lights to flash in time with the beat of carols. There’s inflatable snowmen, bubble-making machines and a 16ft Christmas tree plonked outside the home.
“It’s definitely an addiction,” Alex Richards told the Manly Daily this week.
“After a few nights, each year it’s set up, I will be telling myself it’s a bit dark and ask myself what can I do to improve it. The expectation is it will always be bigger next year.”
During the six-week period the family has their home lit up, Mr Richards said the electricity bill came to about $4500. He has the same response to anyone who criticises the amount of power required for the six-week display.
“If anyone complains look at the number of people here … there’s thousands of people here who are not at home and who are not consuming electricity at the same time.”
Mr Richards, an IT director, said there had been sacrifices to fund the lavish hobby.
“It has been an expensive exercise but we wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said.
The family collects charity donations from the thousands of people who come to watch the display, and many local charities including the Day of Difference have benefited.
Home spends $250K on Christmas decorations
Richards family Christmas lights: 32 Sorlie Rd, Frenchs Forest