The art of brightening up Christmas for all

16:00, Dec 20 2013
Best new entry in the Light Up Christmas competition
WINNING APPROACH: Bluff woman Linda McLiskey hangs out with Santa outside her home, which won the best new entry in the Light Up Christmas competition.

An effort to brighten up Christmas after a death in the family has brightened up the festive season for many.

Linda McLiskey's Bluff house was the winner of this year's Professionals Light Up Christmas competition.

Ms McLiskey began lighting up her Boyne St home "years and years ago" after a family member died right on Christmas.

"I wanted to brighten up Christmas. The kids really enjoyed it so it just got bigger and bigger," she said.

From a couple of lights and decorations here and there the whole thing expanded to a point about six years ago when she really began pulling out the stops.

However, this year was the first time she had entered the competition, she said. "I've been doing it a few years but this is the first time I've entered the competition. I didn't think it was good enough [in the past]."

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Thousands of lights and festive decorations adorn inside and outside her home, with displays complete with moving parts for kids, and adults, to play with.

"It takes about three to four weeks' preparation."

Each year she tried to have a different theme, she said.

This year was an inside-out theme, with Santa and his mate Kiwi hanging on the front porch by a fireplace having a cup of tea.

The toughest part each year, aside from untangling all the lights, which she described as "yuck", was having to replace missing bulbs.

"You just lose so many in the Bluff winds, I'm having to buy new ones each year usually."

It was all worth it to see the look on people's faces, she said.

"It's just, you know, the time of year when everybody gets together. The children love it."

bridget.railton@stl.co.nz

For photographs of this year's Christmas lights, go to page A20.

The Southland Times