From Musician Elves to Flashing Santa Claus: Australian ‘Christmas Addicts’ and Their Breathtaking Decorations | Australia News
Outside Tracy Soward-Amalfi’s home in Moranbah, Queensland, an old kennel turned into a cane house sits near lollipops, mints, and North Pole lights.
âI’ve been in love with Christmas my whole life,â she says. “I am already starting to plan Christmas 2022”.
Tracy is one of thousands of self-proclaimed âChristmas Addictsâ who gather on social media groups to share tips, tricks, and photos of their increasingly elaborate merry displays.
This year, Tracy renovated an old horse-drawn carriage accessory into a festive and enchanted Christmas sequel, featuring a nutcracker soldier and glittering reindeer.
âMy parents made it a special time with the familyâ¦ to share and create memories,â says Tracy.
âFor some it’s a dark time, but by being caring and cheerful you can really have a profound impact on people. I love making Christmas lights because it brings joy and happiness, not only to our own children, but to everyone in our town. “
Tracy is not alone. Christmas Mums Australia – a group she frequents – now has over 49,000 members since its inception in 2017. It has received over 5,000 messages in November alone.
As Christmas approaches, the group receives hundreds of messages a day, as the members catch up on how they are doing on their merry march to December 25th. Many spend hours building their displays from cut-out or recycled pieces of furniture, lights quite woven through their extravagant decorations.
A woman has been putting up her Christmas decorations since July of this year because it “gave [her] something to do. “” Decorating pandemic, “she calls it.” Most of us live and breathe Christmas all year round, “explains another.
From its humble beginnings, Christmas Mums has evolved into a hub for heated discussion and debate: Do people still hang candy canes from their Christmas trees? where to find gold glitter Santa hats in Perth; or what to buy from a 74 year old mother who “has it all”.
The group is one of the many pages that have developed in recent years. Many party fanatics join a chain of them to maximize ideas and inspiration.
Chrisy Nut created Outdoor Christmas Decorating Down Under two years ago. The group now has over two thousand members and three rules: be kind and courteous, no hate speech or bullying, and no spam.
Chrisy has 17 Christmas trees on display throughout his house this year – some with bare branches, others decorated.
âI don’t care if you have a bare tree or a stick for a Christmas treeâ¦ it’s beautiful,â she said. âYou can have the most elaborate displays and it’s also beautifulâ¦ everyone’s Christmas is different. “
Suffering from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, Chrisy says Christmas is her “coping mechanism” which, sadly, only happens once a year.
âMy house sparkles, but not from the cleaning products, the glitter,â she says.
Her entire Summerland Point home is a beehive of balls, angels, and garlands in December. Virtually every corner is filled with Christmas items – from flashing Santa Claus to life-size snowmen.
âI have life-size polar bears, penguinsâ¦ musician elves. It gives me peace. It’s my choice – my only real escape, âsays Chrisy.
âI’m waiting for a huge candy nutcracker that I’ve paid for all year and I’m already thinking about next Christmas. I’m going to make a full candy theme and give the polar bears and penguins a rest.
Two rooms in his four-bedroom house are devoted to Christmas items, while a solarium houses more commercial rooms. âYou can just walk past the car in the garage,â Chrisy laughs.
“But if my house brings joy, it’s fabulous … we need happiness.”
Astrid Hocking is a regular in the group, and many others. She’s been decorating her Macquarie Lake home inside and out since October. It’s now complete with a Santa Claus mailbox on the front for local kids to send mail.
âMy husband is very happy to personally take a lot of time writing and mailing them a response,â she says.
For 25 years, Astrid’s Christmas tradition has been to place all of its decorations at the foot of the tree at the beginning of November. Whenever family and friends come to visit us, they are offered an ornament to choose from and the tree slowly fills up.
âI’ve been celebrating Christmas since I got married. It wasn’t big for my family growing up, maybe that’s why I made a conscious effort to make it special, âshe says.
“People say ‘when is the tree going to come up’, and parents and grandparents gather from other suburbs to see our decorationsâ¦ everyone wants to come to our house.”
While no one else in her street decorates like her, Astrid doesn’t care.
âI think somehow people stop and smell the roses for a while,â she says. âPeople talk to their neighborsâ¦ most Christmas people tend to be nicer and I like that too.
âAt Christmas, everything seems more special.