As they have every year since 2009, John and Brenda Blackett have gone to considerable expense to transform their home on Sydney St in tiny Takapau into a large-scale Christmas lighting display, this year using 30,000 individual lights to decorate their home.

"The colour theme for the house this year is white, red and green, while the gardens and decks are trimmed in different various pops of colour," said Brenda.

"It takes us around six or seven weeks of planning and checking, and double checking. The weather can delay the process, but we get there in the end," she said.

But this year was a tall order, John said.


"Like many other Christmas folk, we found that when you get your lights back out for the festive season, your lights just give up going - even though they were fine when we put them away last Christmas. It's a never-ending cycle of repair or replace."

One of the main reasons hundreds of families from all over the region make a pilgrimage to the couple's home every year is to visit Santa's Cave, where children can have their photo taken with the big jolly man in his sleigh, designed and built for the couple by Athol King.

Every child who visits Santa receives a free toy but, for something new this year, they will also go in a draw to win a giant teddy and a Christmas Sweet Treats Train set.

Another new addition this year is a festive garden out the back.

But one regular attraction will be missing this year.

"Our usual teddy-bear display has taken a break," said Brenda. "They number more than 1200 now, so we will have to somehow create a new area for them as they have outgrown their present home."

While the couple do accept donations to help pay for the lights and are grateful for any toys or other items to give to the children, it is free for anyone to admire their work and for youngsters to visit Santa's Cave.

Instead the couple say they go to the lengths they do because of the pure enjoyment it brings to locals and visitors.

"It's all worth it when you see the joy on the children's faces because after all, that is why we do this every year," said Brenda.

"And we do it because we believe there are grown-ups out there who love it just as much as we do," added John.

The Takapau Christmas Lights house will be lit up every night from now until Christmas Eve.

Santa's Cave is also open to visitors between 7.45pm-10pm every day from now until Christmas Eve.