Christmas bug has bitten early for this Gympie wonderland
THE Christmas bug has bitten Geoff and Jenny Stolberg early this year, as they begin the long process of transforming their Gympie home back into a festive season wonderland by December.
Mr and Mrs Stolberg first combined traditional decorations with innovative sculptures and designs to deck their halls with holiday cheer last year, and it's something they say will be "bigger and better” in a couple of months' time.
An invitation to view their tremendous display costs $15, including food and drink, with proceeds going to community charities.
"The kitchen's completed but that's the only one at the moment. There's going to be millions of trees, we don't work with singular here,” Mrs Stolberg said.
"This is a fundraiser for charity and it runs during December, and basically it's invitation only because we can't have the public wandering through.
"It's very well-supported. I only started it last year and it's going to get bigger and better. It's everywhere, the ping pong table is full of lights, the whole barbeque area is absolutely inundated with lights. Geoff has an archway and an entrance through the backyard.”
The couple's foray inside follows nearly 30 years of lighting up the exterior of their house, an operation which extended to neighbours' houses through the cul-de-sac where they live.
"In 1988, the first Christmas lights were introduced to Australia and we paid $100 for one set of fairy lights,” Mrs Stolberg said.
"We put them outside and people from all around Gympie came and looked.
"Every year after that we bought more and more, and we lit up this house and every house in our cul-de-sac, and we would win the neighbourhood Christmas lights competition, and donate the prize to one of the schools.”
Featuring a "flying saucer tree”, paper-mache plumb puddings, an inverted Christmas tree that looks like a chandelier and even giant bon-bons orginally from Big W, the Stolbergs' new operation still takes a whole lot of devotion.
But it's worth it when they hear their infectious Christmas spirit has spread to the community.
"We had so many people come in last year and say this really started their Christmas spirit and joy for the season,” Mrs Stolberg said.
"I've got people booked in already.”
"When we did the lights people just loved it, people had such a great time, that's what it goes back to,” Mr Stolberg said.