Display of 40,000 lights may be a winner

By Sam Boyer

Come Christmas time, this is the most dazzling house in the street.

With more than 40,000 lights, the house is guaranteed to turn heads. But is it the best in the Bay?

Shane Spalding has been decorating his Highlander Place house every December for the past six years as part of the Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Lights Trail.

In three of those years, he's had stellar outcomes, winning the competition once, placing second and had a consolation prize as well.

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It's a mammoth job putting the decorations up each year, but Mr Spalding says it's worth it.

"I had an add-up last year. I'm pretty sure I've got over 40,000 up. It could be close to 45,000.

"I've got 112 sets up at this present time and I've still got another 25 sets in the garage I haven't put up yet. I've still got, dare I say it, another 10,000-plus I haven't put up," he said.

In addition to the lights, there's also reindeer, santas riding bikes and skateboards and a santa in a moon, as well as flashing lights and stars and decorated palm trees.

It takes about three weeks to retrieve all the decorations from their many storage spaces and sort them out. But the preparations start much earlier than that.

"I think about what I could do differently all the time, and then it comes to October and I think, 'I better start getting ready'.

"There's a couple of cupboards, they're dedicated to them. There's at least five [cupboards], but you'd be surprised how they pack down."

And come November they start going up and the fun can begin with carloads of light-seers visiting every night, Mr Spalding said.

"It's all for fun. I love doing it. Quite often I'm out checking bulbs and people will talk to you. There are a few who know my house," he said.

The Spalding household is at 1 Highlander Place, Welcome Bay, and is part of the Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Light Trail.

Get your copy of Tuesday's paper for the Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Lights Trail map

- Bay of Plenty Times

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