Vandals smash family's Christmas display

KAROLINE TUCKEY
Last updated 10:54 23/12/2013
Xmas vandals

SHOW WILL GO ON: Hayden Wilson and Sandra Bailey, with Laren Christeller, 1, are disappointed decorations were stolen from their Naenae home.

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Vandals who smashed part of a Christmas lighting display at a Naenae house have left the owners bewildered by the destruction.

Hayden Wilson, 22, has put the Christmas lights up at his parent's Barton Gr house since he was 16, and adds to their extensive collection every year.

Early one morning last week their five-year-old neighbour knocked on the family's door to tell them a set of giant lit-up candy canes from the garden were scattered broken across the pavement in a neighbouring street.

"It was kind of stink," said Wilson.

"It's the fact that they have smashed them; if they'd taken them for themselves I could have handled that." 

"We do it for our neighbours and the kids that are around, there's a lot of people that appreciate it, so it would be missed if we took it down."

Mr Wilson puts the lights up each year for his birthday on November 26, and during December a steady stream of people stop at the house to see them.

"Families come past at Christmas, and it's a good way to catch up, it's evolved into something pretty cool."

A staff discount from the hardware store where he works helps with the cost, but he estimates most years he'd easily spend upwards of $600 on new lights. "The transformers have got smaller over the years, so you can pack more into a power board, so it's been able to get bigger and bigger.

"I like how you can transform a house for the holidays into something that's completely different."

His mum, Sandra Bailey, runs a childcare group for preschoolers at the house and says the children adore the decorations.

"You hear people's comments outside each year, and we just absolutely love it; inside it's like a disco because of the flashing lights outside.

"But then when you have people doing this . . . it's really disheartening, and it ruins it."

In a previous year a small Christmas tree disappeared mysteriously from the yard, so the display has had to be redesigned to be less vulnerable, Mr Wilson says.

"Originally we had reindeers in the front yard, by we found them pulled out one day, so now they are on the roof.

"We tend to put just little things in the garden, but I never thought the candy canes would get nicked."

The family have even created a sturdier Christmas tree.

"It's a bit harder to steal a 4.5 metre tree - it takes three people to put it up."

Despite initially deciding to take the display down for the last time this week, Mr Wilson says he's now determined to not let the vandals ruin it for everyone. "It's not going to stop me - you have to do it, people love it."

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- Hutt News

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