Light show a labour of love
Covering the outside of his house with Christmas decorations started small and snowballed, says Blenheim man Mark Wilton.
It started with a simple string of lights and a window silhouette. Ten years on and Mr Wilton doesn't want to know how much he has spent on lights, signs and Santas.
"It became a slight obsession," the father-of-four said. "I wouldn't like to add it up because it would be too scary."
Having children stop outside his house at the corner of Redwood and Cleghorn streets and marvel at the display was reward enough, Mr Wilton said.
His own children were pretty happy, too.
Only daughter Sheridan, 11, said getting the decorations out marked the start of Christmas.
"It's really exciting," she said. "We all help in our own little way."
Sheridan's favourite decoration was the Santa at the front of the house that she repainted this year.
Mr Wilton said he would like to see more people get into the Christmas spirit and decorate their gardens.
"It has dropped off in the last couple of years. It would be nice to go to a street where everybody was quite competitive. That really lights the street up."
And it doesn't cost as much as you might think.
"That's the most commonly asked question," Mr Wilton said. "It's dearer to run the spa pool than the lights. Most of our lights are LEDs, which are cheaper to run, last longer and are a lot brighter."
The outdoor light show was pretty much a three-month project, he said.
"That's from the time I start to when I pack everything away."
Mr Wilton was sure neighbours had heard him cursing at tangled Christmas lights in that time.
He was looking forward to seeing other outdoor decorations over the holidays, he said. His family always take a night to drive around Blenheim to watch the other Christmas displays.
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The Marlborough Express