lights

A Christmas party

We started December by going to a wonderful Christmas party, thus delaying our start of the 2017 advent calendars!, so here are some of the photos from the night…

Santa beside a 'Santa stop here' sign

Obediently, Santa stopped by…

There were lots of Christmas treats to eat…

CHristmas doughnuts, Christmas tree watermelon and muffins beside a Christmas candle

Some gorgeous decorations, including a bunch of mistletoe

Array of CHirstmas decorations, including mistletoe and a Christmas tree

Outside were some pretty lights

Christmas light display photos

And the star of the night, of course, was Santa!

photos of Santa at a party

Santa gave lovely cuddles to Charlotte, the little elf.

The cost of Christmas decorations

Lego Santa, surfboard and Christmas tree in Melbourne

Lego Santa, surfboard and Christmas tree in Melbourne

My family had a great time last year checking out Melbourne’s Christmas sights. And we’re planning to do it again soon.

We equally love Christmas lights and displays on homes, both in our area and elsewhere we manage to visit.

Benefits of Christmas lights

So what is so good about seeing all those lights and decorations?

  1. it’s fun!
  2. they can be very beautiful, and we all need beauty in our lives and to remember to appreciate beauty rather than being so busy all the time
  3. it is a great way to spend some family time, and that is valuable. I still remember Christmas decorations on the street near my uncle’s house form when I was very young – it was a clear sign that excitement was on the way!
  4. Christmas can often bring out the best in people – they tend to be kinder, more generous and remember to show appreciation to people who serve all year – and if decorations and lights help bring that about they are well worth it as peace and kindness is what the world desperately needs at the moment
  5. walking around looking at lights gets people moving, out of the house and interacting with others
  6. it encourages people to visit public resources and appreciate their cities and town centres
Some of the Melbourne Christmas displays from 2015

Some of the Melbourne Christmas displays from 2015

Costs of Christmas light displays

Obviously, every Christmas decoration costs money. And wide scale displays cost a fair bit, especially if you factor in the electricity costs to run a light display.

I was surprised to read recently that it costs about $3.78 million to ‘fund and promote’ the Christmas displays in the Melbourne CBD. I hadn’t really thought about how much it cost before.

It’s a lot of money, and if you add in that most (all?) local councils also spend large amounts of money, it seems somewhat decadent to spend it on decorations rather than spending more on other causes (like homelessness and health care).

So it is worth spending that much money on one month?

Cutting the costs

I love the lights and displays, and I can see benefits to having them. But I am struggling with spending that much money on them.

So for what it’s worth, here are some suggestions from me on how to cut back those costs while still celebrating the Christmas magic.

  1. cut back on marketing and PR – most people know the city has displays without having to be told in a marketing campaign so this seems a large expense for little return. And even then, maybe use designers and marketers rather than big agencies to keep costs lower
  2. invest in solar panels to power more of the decorations – and other things throughout the year of course
  3. swap decorations with other local councils/cities so that they get more use and the costs are minimised
  4. sell tinsel and baubles etc after Christmas to recoup some costs and reduce decorations reaching landfill. Or donate lots of them to hospitals and other child-centric places so they can give Christmas cheer next year
  5. only put large decorations on every second pole so the impact is still there but at a lower cost
  6. consider the necessity of ‘VIP events’ or what is included at them  – the city paying for food for lots of VIPs doesn’t help the city or the locals very much
  7. rotate decorations so each set is used again after 3 or 4 years
  8. get public involvement. For example, a big wall could be covered with kids’ drawings of Christmas trees instead of paying for fancy displays

How else could cities and councils cut back on their Christmas savings without cutting back on Christmas cheer?

Christmas lights in Melbourne, 2015

I love walking around on a summer evening looking at Christmas lights!

This year, we walked around our local area with a group of friends which was a lot of fun. The biggest hassle is juggling going out when it’s dark enough to appreciate the lights with getting the kids to bed at a reasonable hour (given how tired they were for the end of school year anyway).

Anyway, I didn’t get my photos edited in time to share them before Christmas. So here are some of them now…

collage of Christmas lights

 

front yards and fences with CHristmas lights

 

 

December and summer have arrived!

The first of December – that means summer is here and Christmas is not too far away now (unless you’re an excited three year old anyway!)

What do you do to celebrate the start of December?

We put our tree up as a family, while listening to carols of course. And being such a beautiful evening today in Melbourne, we went outside and looked at Christmas lights in our street before the kids went to bed (a bit late!)

Christmas lights on an Ashwood house

Some local Christmas lights that we enjoy watching each year

Santa, music, lights – Glen Iris has it all!

We went to Ferndale Road last night and saw Christmas lights and Santa.

Santa & Christmas lights in Glen Iris

Santa on a balcony and triangle tree lights

30 Ferndale Rd, Glen Iris has quite a lot of lights in the front yard and over the house – and they are synchronised to music! The music was a bit quiet to hear it in the park over the road where we sat, but the lights were still pretty.

24 Ferndale Rd, Glen Iris has a few lights on the fence and candy canes along the path and a HUGE Santa in a chair on the upstairs balcony.

What was cool was sitting on a park bench and being able to admire both houses while we had a picnic tea 🙂

We’re counting down to Christmas – in lights!

Christmas countdown and lights

Christmas countdown amongst lights (not great quality – sorry! We weren’t expecting to see lights so only had a phone to take images with.)

We saw a very impressive Christmas lights display last night – we hadn’t gone looking for it (still  a bit early to expect to find many) but this one stood out so we detoured and checked it out.

One things that particularly stood out to me was a Christmas countdown – in lights!

Sitting in a front window of the house, we could see a count down clock for the days, hours, minutes ans seconds to go until it is Christmas! In red of course, it would be fun to watch as it clicked over to 1 December or Christmas Day!

Have you ever seen a count down clock as part of someone’s Christmas light display? It was a first for me!

Sad end to beautiful Christmas lights

Christmas house decorationsAfter 47 years of setting up an amazing Christmas light display for the community, a man in Prairie Village (Kansas, USA) can’t do it this year.

Mike Babick thinks it’s because neighbours complained (lights too bright in their homes? too much traffic in their street? who knows why) but the council has made a ruling that says he can only do such a big display if he calls it an event and pays $1500.

How ridiculous.

He made no money from it, he brings happiness to many and probably inspires community interaction and involvement. All good things but some bah humbug doesn’t like it so it’s gone for everyone.

And an interest and passion of one man is gone, too.

I’m very sad about this – wish I had been to Prairie Village  sometime before now to have seen Mike’s display. I had heard of it but not planned a holiday there sadly.

Does this sadden others too? Anybody got any ideas on how we can make this better?

 

So many Santas in one Burwood place!

We drove down Burwood Highway in Burwood (suburb of Melbourne, Victoria) last night expecting to see some great lights.

We could see the lights from a distance so easily found 378 Burwood Highway (not too far from Middleborough Rd) which has various lights up high on a garage roof and the roof of the house.

Santa reindeer in lights on roof

From the sign out the front, we realised we had missed seeing Santa there by about an hour. However, there were other elves wandering around inside and a couple of fairies even did a dance routine a bit later!

Inside their yard, there are not as many lights and decorations as we expected BUT there were  so many Santa on display! Along one wall were man-sized Santas (and a couple of other characters in Christmas garb). Along the second area was an incredible display of Santas – on trains, in parachutes, sitting, standing, with presents or without, with sleighs and reindeer (didn’t notice any with boomers unfortunately) and even some in snow globes for the white Christmas feel. You could spend ages there looking at each one in detail…

Santa's elf with some Aussie kidsThe elves are happy to pose for photos with people, and with the huge throne in a corner, I assume photos with Santa are also welcomed when he visits.

If you’re in Melbourne, I’d definitely say visit Burwood for a Santa display like no other! 4 Santas for this spot 🙂

Find out about other Victorian Christmas lights

Ashwood Santa and lights

There are 2 sets of lights worth seeing in Ashwood, Victoria now…Santa and christmas lights in Ashwood, Melbourne

Arthur St (don’t know the number but on your left coming from Huntingdale Rd, about 400 m form the corner) has a huge Santa out the front and some nice lights.

Corner of Ashwood Drive and Baryn St has lots of lights including reindeer leaping along the roof, blue archways and Santa parachuting.

Being close together (and not far from lights in High St, Highbury Rd and Burwood Hwy), I’d say 3 santas and well worth a look (they’re also not well-known yet so traffic isn’t a problem!)

Dancing lights in Bendigo

Last year we were in Bendigo leading up to Christmas and saw some awesome lights. Not only did they look good – they actually danced in time to music on the radio!

Good enough that we’re planning to drive to Bendigo specifically to see these lights this year!

Address was 11 Greenfield Drive Epsom (north of city centre from memory).

Ashbury

For lights in Sydney, I recommend First, Second and Third Streets in Ashbury. Our kids enjoyed them – and so did we to be  honest!

Bundy lights

We travelled through Bundaberg, Qld and they have some cool lights on display.

Driving through Branyan, Svensson, Avoca, Thabeban and Gin Gin was lovely with all that Christmas cheer and colour.

Maybe 3.5 Santas unless you live near Bundy then definitely 4 Santas!

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