A family tradition of lights and theatrics

It's hard to imagine a Christmas lights display more impressive than the Sanders family home at Mangerton.

Everything from the laser lights to the illuminated water features has been created with a splash of theatricality - hardly a surprise given the architect, Steve Sanders, is an amateur actor and theatre lover.

"Our son and his friend started it when they were young," he explained.

Where to see the Illawarra's best Christmas lights

"They used to draw up a garden plan and put lights on it and we bought a few sets, so that was 17 or 18 years ago."

It's a tradition that has grown, the front yard now designed with Christmas in mind.

The entire set-up incudes over 100 separate features and takes about three weeks to create, not to mention the countless hours that go into programming the Christmas carols and lights into half-hour 'shows' that run each night.

Visitors can also donate money for medical research organisation the Garvan Institute into the family letterbox. Last year it raised about $1800, Mr Sanders said.

So far the Illawarra Mercury's Light Up Our Christmas competition has received more than 60 fantastic entries.

Visit illawarramercury.com.au to find the list of addresses so you can take a tour of the region's best light displays. Entries close at 4pm tomorrow.

Pictured: Lincoln Mitchell, 3, and Layla Mitchell, 5, who are neighbours of Steve Sanders, stand outside Steve's Christmas wonderland in Phillips Street, Mangerton. Photo: KEN ROBERTSON

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