Most teenagers would prefer to spend their weekends hanging out with friends or just simply relaxing, but 17-year-old Dylan Brown spent his spare time in November decorating his house with Christmas lights.
For the past few years the horticultural apprentice has taken responsibility for bringing the Christmas spirit alive at his family’s Horsley home, putting up all the lightshimself.
‘‘I’ve done it now for the past three years, so my parents just let me go. They have some say, but I don’t really listen. I have my own plans with it,’’ Dylan joked.
He estimated he had used 1000metres of multi-coloured fairy lights this year.
His motto was the brighter the better and his favourite part of the exercise was seeing people drive into the dead-end street to check out his efforts.
There’s a sentimental touch to the set-up as well. Standing proudly in the front yard are figures of a present, a sleigh and a Santa that were made and hand-painted by his grandfather.
They used to adorn his grandparents’ garden during the festive season but when his grandfather passed away, his grandmother thought Dylan could put them to better use.
‘‘So we’ve just put a fresh coat of paint on them and I drilled in some rope lights so people could see them better at night,’’ he said.
Dylan is one of many Illawarra residents who have already entered their illuminated houses in the Light Up Our Christmas competition through the Mercury’s free iPhone app.
This year, every entry wins a buy-one-get-one-free Greater Union Wollongong or Shellharbour movie pass, with one lucky entrant winning a $1000 prize and five others receiving a $250 Greater Union gift card.
To enter, simply download the app, hit the ‘‘report’’ then ‘‘assignments’’ buttons and send through a pic of your house in the ‘‘Light Up Our Christmas’’ section. Entries close at 11am on Sunday, December 15.