David and Margaret Van Tongeren will have a down-scaled Christmas house this year – sort of.
Instead of filling their home with delicate festive figurines, Christmas themed train sets, ornaments and trinkets, the Van Tongerens will limit their annual decorations to the outside of their Alford Forest Road house and grounds.
It will allow for people to be socially distanced and still make for a spectacular festive scene. One to delight young and old alike.
The outside fixed lighting decorations are already around 50 to 60 percent done, David said.
But there will always be some fine-tuning to do in the lead up to December 1 when the gates are open to the public.
Even during December there were changes often made, he said.
The Van Tongerens enjoy making people smile at Christmas and did consider cancelling during the second covid lockdown.
But along with son, Ross, and his partner Barbara Newton, came up with a plan to help keep them, and their many visitors, covid-safe.
There will also be display lay-out changes on past years, with sleighs being loaded on to the garage and house roofs and a variety of Christmas scenes set up in the house windows looking out for people to view on their tour around the garden.
There will also be some shed displays visible from the doors.
People on site will be required to wear facemasks, sign in using their QR code or the visitor book, use hand sanitiser and social distance from others.
And unfortunately there will not be any candy canes given out as in the past, Margaret said.
The lights will go on each night from December 1, between 9pm and 11.30pm and anyone can visit and take in the visual display set up with family help – preferably without touching.
The couple regularly have new decorations in their extensive assortment of LED laser lights, musical displays, movie projectors, inflatables, rope lights and figurines of all shapes and sizes. This year there were mostly figurines, which would remain in storage until next year.
However among the decorations on show there is Father Christmas and Mrs Claus (appropriately wearing facemasks), a Christmas at the beach themed setting, a reindeer woodland, Nutcrackers, miniature sleighs, giant sleighs, Christmas trees, candy cane lights, twinkling light, giant baubles and a giant six foot tall ferris wheel.