Christmas lights and decorations may have been packed away for another year, but for one Woonona family, the spirit of the season is still going strong.
Michele and William Harvey - along with a very supportive family, and especially their six-year-old grandson Lewis Sargent-Wilson - raised almost $9000 for the Leukaemia Foundation this Christmas through their popular Peppermint Circuit lights display.
When Lewis was seven months old he was diagnosed with an acute form of leukaemia and needed a bone marrow transplant from his two-year-old brother.
To say thanks for the generous community support they received during Lewis's treatment, the family started putting out a donations bucket along with their lights display in 2009 and since then, their takings have doubled each year.
The 2012 total of $8782.10 easily eclipsed last year's $4300, with $1500 donated on Christmas Eve alone.
Mrs Harvey, the driving force behind the operation, said she was overwhelmed by the "kindness and generosity" of thousands of Illawarra residents who visited her street in the lead-up to Christmas.
"I can't thank people enough for contributing to this cause, which gives people suffering from blood cancer and diseases opportunities which they might not have had," she said. "Our street knows only too well the heartache a family faces when one of their members is stricken with one of these dreadful illnesses."
She said she was particularly grateful to her Peppermint Circuit neighbours, who had happily contributed light displays of their own and put up with large crowds and heavy traffic in their quiet cul-de-sac during the festive season.
Leukaemia Foundation southern region community relations manager Mark Rigby said the impressive fund-raising effort would cover the costs of a patient transport vehicle in the Illawarra for six months.
"To see a family that is willing to be out there every night, collecting money and handing out lollies, let alone a street that is willing to join in and pay extra for their electricity costs to put on the lights, is just amazing," Mr Rigby said.
"And it's great to see so many kids involved because it helps to show that Christmas spirit isn't just about what presents you are going to get."