Mum Puts Up Christmas Decorations Early To Bring Family Joy After Tough Year
With 2020 proving to be less than perfect, one mum has decided to give her family a much-needed boost by putting up her Christmas decorations - yep, some three months before December.
Caroline Gabe, 46, has been shielding with her three children since March, and said putting the tree and decorations up was a way to 'brighten up' the community after a tough year.
And she's no doing things by halves, either, as the display includes 3,000 outdoor lights, sparkling snow, an 8ft inflatable snowman and even Santa and his reindeer.
Caroline has spent the year buying the outdoor lights and installations - some from as far away as America - but decided to put them all up last week on a whim.
The former care worker had to give up work so she could shield, and has been under strict lockdown for most of 2020 as son Theo, five, has severe asthma after a pneumonia battle last year.
Now she hopes the festive display will not only bring joy to her family, but also to her street.
Caroline, who is also mum to Jack, 23, and Harry, 12, said some people have driven past her semi-detached home in Caewern, Port Talbot, Wales, and shaken their heads in disapproval.
But she's not fussed in the slightest - saying many of her neighbours have thanked her for bringing a bit of Christmas cheer to the street.
Caroline said: "I've had so many people talk to me about them. It has blown me away.
"It's just been something nice in a horrible and surreal year.
"I just thought it would brighten the community up.
"I've got two younger children and it has really put a smiles our faces.
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"Every year I am always early with the Christmas decorations. But this is even early for me.
"Since March me and the children have been shielding - we haven't been as far as the park - and I've got to admit it has been a gloomy year.
"I thought 'bugger it' - I'm going to get the decorations up.
"The kids were smiling. People were coming up to the house and smiling. It has been lovely.
"Christmas is a fantastic time of year - even in September."
Now the family and their neighbours have a full display to see them through the rest of the year, with Caroline estimating she's strung up around 3,000 lights.
There's also an 8ft tree, snowman, reindeer and a 6ft Santa, along with lights all over the grass to make the lawn look like sparkling snow.
Inside has been given the same treatment, too, with an artificial tree already up.
Caroline also said she has a festive T-Rex on order from America, which will arrive later this month, having reckoned she's spent just under £1,000 on the decorations - which took her around eight hours to put up on 7 September.
She added: "The neighbours, they think I'm crackers.
"The majority of them love it. You get the odd car going past and you see them shaking their head, but I just laugh. It makes me want to put more up!
"It's ridiculous what we are all going through. It can get you down. I've been so anxious, but as soon as I put the decorations up, it just lifted my spirits.
"It's just a bit of normality; crazy normality mind, putting your decorations up in September."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS