Home of $50,000 of decorations

Redwood house turned into Santa's workshop

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 13:48 21/12/2012
Brad Maxwell
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ

CHRISTMAS DELIGHT: Brad Maxwell puts the finishing touches on his Christmas-themed house before it opens to the public tonight.

Brad and Janice Maxwell
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
WHITE CHRISTMAS: The Maxwells' bathroom is now a festive display.

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Brad and Janice Maxwell begin turning their Christchurch home into a Christmas wonderland four months before the big day.

By the time Christmas comes around, their home will be filled with more than $50,000 worth of Christmas decorations, while the garden will feature more than 60,000 lights.

Brad Maxwell said the family's obsession with Christmas began about 18 years ago.

''The first time, in [1994], we just started with the usual Christmas purchases, then just kept adding more and more,'' he said.

''My wife just loves Christmas. She just got the bug and it's grown from there.''

Decorations fill almost every spare space in the house, including inside the oven and throughout the bathroom.

The Maxwells start planning their home's Christmas transformation in September, and begin putting up the decorations in October.

It takes ''right up until the last minute'' to put the decorations up, and a week to pack them up again.

This year, the garage at their Redwood home has been transformed into Santa's workshop, while another room has become a snow cave.

Maxwell said the family lived ''very carefully'' while the decorations were in place.

''It's good fun getting to this stage and the excitement of the next. Four days of people enjoying it really helps make our Christmas,'' he said.

''By the end of it we're probably a little bit over it, but we wouldn't do it if we didn't enjoy it.''

Almost 4000 people viewed the house last Christmas, raising $5000 in donations for the CTV family trust.

''We had a lady come in last year; she was 100. She left in tears, saying it was the most amazing thing she'd ever seen,'' Maxwell said.

This year the family are collecting donations for the Brain Injury Association, after family friend Cameron Jones, 19, died in February at Christchurch Hospital following a motorcycle accident at Timaru's Levels Raceway.

"He was just one of those young men who was really, really nice, Maxwell said.

''It would have been his 20th birthday on Boxing Day, so we've got all his friends coming around to celebrate his birthday.''

The house can be viewed at 4 Willowview Dr, Redwood, from 7pm today until Monday. People who visit are asked to make a donation.

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