James and Sarah Petterson with their baby daughter Rachael aged three months of Harrison have their Christmas lights timed to a carols 'mega-mix'. Photo: Melissa Adams
In February, when most people had packed up their trees and stored their fairy lights away for another year, James Petterson began a time consuming festive project.
The Harrison property manager designed and then assembled an enormous Christmas light display enveloping the home he shares with his wife, parents and baby daughter, and synced the lights to music that passersby can tune into on their car radios.
Canberra Christmas Lights Map 2012
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It is a "mega-mix" of modern versions of Christmas Carols, and the lights covering Mr Petterson's house flash in time with the yuletide tunes.
Mr Petterson used about 28,300 LED lights, more than 10,000 cable ties and 2 kilometres of wiring to create the display, and spent about 20 hours a week on it throughout the year.
He switched the whole system on this weekend and will keep lighting up his house every night until the New Year.
Mr Petterson said he was unconcerned about the loss of privacy from people peering at his house at night.
"That's one of the parts I love, just going out the front and talking to people, and saying hello," he said.
A man with a passion for music and lighting, Mr Petterson completed a TAFE course in electronics more than a decade ago, and he said he created the sound and light show with the support of his wife, Sarah, who has finally had the chance to see the fruits of his labour.
"She's amazed, she's finally seen what's been in my head all year," he said.
The whole display cost Mr Petterson about $3000, but he made significant savings by buying lights secondhand and making much of the infrastructure himself.
He used LED and low voltage lights, so expects his electricity bill to increase by only about $100 for the Christmas period.
Mr and Mrs Petterson are building a new home Bonner and hope to be living there with daughter Rachael next Christmas.
He said he already had some "cool plans" for his next Christmas lights display, but would start preparing later next year, re-using some of the decorations he had already made.
"We'll have our own house so that'll make it a lot easier, because I can actually put some stuff into the building process which will make my life a lot easier and set up and pull down a lot quicker," he said.
You'll find the Petterson's Christmas light display at 27 Ningaloo Street, Harrison ACT. Tune into 99.5 fm and watch the lights dance to the music.