This winter people across Wales are going bigger and better than ever before to celebrate Christmas.
At a time where we all need a little joy in our lives the lights are brighter, the decorations more elaborate, and the good deeds more generous after a year like no other.
But one family really have gone above and beyond with their annual display after spending a whole year getting ready for this moment.
Known to their neighbours as the ‘Christmas House’, the Lucas family in the village of Govilon, near Abergavenny, started getting ready 11 months ago when they planted 17 Christmas trees in their garden ready for the year.
They also built a log cabin for Santa as well as making room for the towering snowman now sitting in their garden. And it’s all to raise money for a charity close to their heart after four family members were diagnosed with autism.
Dad Darren Lucas, 54, said: “We have been planning it all year. We’ve been putting them up since October. We are on our fifth week at the moment and we’re not quite finished.
“In January we planted Christmas trees all around the garden – 17 of them. We built fences, we built a log cabin.
“People think we are mad but we want the garden to look like Christmas. People known us as the Christmas house.
“We didn’t realise how big it was until we started to light it all up. My son, all year he’s been scouring the internet looking at America where he can find unusual things.
“Last night people were queuing for two hours. It’s the biggest display in south Wales I think.”
The festivities comes after the family’s success last year with their Christmas display created by Darren, wife Tracy, and children Shane, Shannon, Billie Jo, Tiffany, and Jamie.
This year, however, the spectacular sight isn’t the only thing they have been busy with since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. From delivering food to those in need and dressing up in costume – they’ve done it all.
Darren said: “Three of my children are autistic. We have been saving money for a family holiday for us all but because we couldn’t go they decided to spend it on food and went around delivering potatoes to people who needed them.
“They bought costumes and dressed up and went around cheering people up.”
This year the family are raising money for the One Life Autism Support Group in Ebbw Vale after collecting £1,400 in donations last December for a local young boy diagnosed with a rare of cancer.
As well as support a local charity the support group is one close to Darren’s heart.
Darren said: “We know what it’s like – we know you have to fight hard for yourself.
“When I was a kid there was nothing – I went from children’s home to home. I was labelled a naughty kid, bullied, everything, but today we are able to fight and get support for my children.
“These lights are a symbol of hope to try get the message out there never to give up keep fighting.
“People have been so generous – it’s amazing. We had five tins given to us and we have filled them already – it normally takes weeks.
“We don’t realise how many people autism affects. We’ve had autistic children and adults come here most nights.”