Young children’s excited giggles echo into the night as a family stops to take photos in front of a Santa lights display.
Each year, the Haines family in Fish Hoek transforms their home with Christmas lights, opening up their front garden for the enjoyment of the local community.
This year, a Santa letter box has been added to ensure that all Christmas wishes are delivered to Father Christmas.
“We had the first letters go in yesterday, a little boy who drove here specifically tonight to drop some letters in there because it was past his bedtime.”
“So, these letters will be sorted and sifted out and sent to Father Christmas, and we’ll see what Father Christmas can do to grant some Christmas wishes,” Matthew Haines explained.
On Saturday, December 3rd, families arrived shortly after 19:00 to admire the light display and partake in the mini-festival of pizza and other goodies for sale.
Haines, who is from California in the United States of America (USA), says that displaying Christmas lights has always been a tradition in his family and in the USA.
Around 200 000 individual Christmas light globes adorn the front of his house this year.
“We’ve been doing the display at this house since 2017, starting with 10 or 15 strands of lights.”
“And then it got a little out of hand,” he chuckled.
“It grows a little bit bigger every year.” This year, we produced approximately 200 000 individual little globes.”
Haines says the cost of keeping the lights on each night varies and takes around 11 units per night.
“It varies depending on the rates and tariffs and whatever Eskom wants to do, but it is usually around R180 per night.”
“Last season, it took about 11 units per night, and I’m sure it’ll be a little more this year because of how brilliant Eskom is.”
He added that the Christmas lights were imported from the United States and were mostly purchased at flea markets.
“The majority of it is second hand, and the reason for that is that we prefer the old vintage look to the new LED look, and it’s all from the United States.”
The display has since evolved, with a walkable pathway created and designed.
“That’s how the idea of taking pictures with Santa evolved.”
“You can see how much fun everyone is having, especially the little kids, it’s just such a rush for everyone.”
His mother-in-law inspired the Santa letter box, and the actual letter box is a recycled antique ash basin, he adds.
“My mother-in-law was here for one of the Christmases, and she thought it would be a fantastic idea to have a letter box for the kids.”
“So we began looking for old post boxes online, and my wife discovered it.” It’s actually an antique wash basin with a soap tray on the side.
“We had it painted, and my wife wanted it to look like a 1950s or 1960s New York post box.”
Every Sunday through Thursday, from 20:00 to 22:00, and Friday through Saturday, from 20:00 to 23:00.