Going big on yuletide cheer

19:38, Dec 12 2013
Lorraine Newlands
CHRISTMAS FRIENDS: Lorraine Newlands puts the finishing touches on the decorations for yet another year.

Lorraine Newlands loves Christmas so much she drags her "grinch" of a husband into installing thousands of dollars worth of decorations.

Every December, Mrs Newlands decks the halls - and indeed the outside - with a vast array of yuletide cheer.

This includes a 6-metre-high inflatable Santa, similarly massive snowmen and dozens of lights.

"Christmas is always a special time for me. I love the stories and the traditions - snowmen, reindeer, all that," Mrs Newlands said.

Her decorative project began about 12 years ago, after she moved from Ireland to Timaru.

"I didn't know many people ... Christmas was a bit lonely, and it was different having it in the summer," she said. "I wanted to bring a bit of Christmas cheer but, like everything I do, it goes too far."


The double garage served as the storage room for the decorations, which increased in size and cost every year. Mrs Newlands said her four children, aged 7 to 17, help in the project.

"They've always loved it ... you're only young once, why wouldn't you get into the spirit?"

It could take more than a week to install the decorations, which included dozens of "mini-Santas" populating the living room and hallway.

"Each year, it gets harder to find the time to do it," she said.

When husband Greig was asked about the family's efforts, he was less impressed. "I would rather dig my eyeballs out with a teaspoon than be involved," he said.

"He's just a grinch," Mrs Newlands replied. "He says he doesn't like this, but every year he climbs up on the roof and does all the wiring and installations."

However, she conceded he might have a point about the seasonal influx in unexpected visitors.

"There are so many of them ... sometimes, it can take a good 20 minutes to actually get past them to get to the door," Mrs Newlands said.

"But it's only once a year, and it's great to share the Christmas spirit with others."

What are her plans for next Christmas? "Oh, it can only get bigger," she said.


Have you decorated your home for Christmas? The Herald is making a list of those doing so, which will be published.

Email: matthew.littlewood@timaruherald.co.nz or contact us on our Facebook page. 

The Timaru Herald