Lights on for Santa
Friends and family call them Mr and Mrs Claus.
Keith and Lynda Barrett are giving the community the gift of light.
They've spent about six weeks decorating their home with 60,000 Christmas lights and have done this every year since 2002.
The Barretts say thousands of people visited their former Lanier Place home during December and they're hoping to get similar numbers at their new residence, 16 Madigan Place, Glendene.
It's not just children who are excited by the lights.
The Barretts say they see people from all walks of life outside their gate including youth who've parked chairs on the sidewalk, the elderly, adults and even busloads of tourists.
"It was Lynda's idea. I call her the Christmas Fairy," Mr Barrett says.
"We put it together the first year and we started picking up bits here and there and we added to it each year."
They take pride in thinking of themes for their front yard.
This year it consists of a nativity scene, a singing Santa, a playground and an inflatable merry-go-round.
No surface is left untouched, they say.
They estimate their display has cost them around $20,000 over the years - plus an extra $150 for the month's electricity - but say it's worth it to see the joy it brings.
"For some families money is tight so they can't do lots of things or get lots of presents," Mrs Barrett says.
"This is something that costs them nothing and the smiles on their face is priceless."
They're not the only couple to spread the Christmas cheer.
Barney Singh has been decorating his in-laws' Glen Eden home at 41 Rua Rd with his wife Amy, nephew Shane and niece Shanyia for about 10 years.
Last year they took a break to go to Fiji for three weeks which seemed to disappoint a lot of people, Mr Singh says.
This year they're back and bigger than ever.
The couple started decorating the house in October to coincide with Diwali and Guy Fawkes. Mr Singh says they decorated their home one year and then the idea snowballed. They've never put a figure to their efforts but say the money is irrelevant.
"It's for the community. I think they get more out of it than we do," he says.
- Western Leader
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