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Lighting up Christmas

John Garofano is the man addicted to Christmas lights, with close to 100,000 lights adorning his home this year.

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At last count there were 120,000 lights across three levels of the house and stretching along the front fence. The 120 lighting cables run about four kilometres in total and are entwined around scaffolding and fed electricity through 100 transformers.

There are lights resembling dripping icicles, a cross on the chimney, Mary and Joseph, two skating penguins, a dancing polar bear and Santa, who sings Jingle Bell Rock when a button is pressed.

This is the Roselands home of John Garofano - and, because of the recent wet weather, the lights aren't all up yet. The boat in the front yard is yet to be adorned.

Shining stars: John and Raeann Garofano.

Shining stars: John and Raeann Garofano. Photo: Janie Barrett

There's only one inflatable Santa, though; the family had a bad experience with a four-metre Santa Claus a couple of years ago when the internal compressor caught fire and Santa went into meltdown.

''It's like an addiction,'' John says. ''I'm a big kid. I enjoy the accolade. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it.''

His wife, Raeann, doesn't entirely share his passion.

At Friday's official turning-on ceremony Mrs Garofano allowed her husband his moment of glory.

She said: ''I get a bit annoyed when all the lights come out of the shed and he brings them into the house to untangle them all. It took two days just to get them ready. During the day the house looks a bit of a mess but it's only for four weeks.

''The singing Santa gets a bit annoying. The kids keep pushing the button but when he goes inside at night he's unplugged.''

All up the lights cost about $9000, take about 80 man hours to install and almost as long to take down.

It's all for a good cause - the Children's Hospital at Westmead is the beneficiary, through donations at the display.

When their son, Robert, was four the couple was told he had cancer. ''We spent Christmas Day in hospital and have never forgotten the way they looked after him,'' Mr Garofano said.

The neighbours opposite decided not to bother with their lights after the second year, saying the display put theirs to shame.

Then there are the motorists who stop but leave their lights on. Mr Garofano has had to help jump start a few with flat batteries. One question everyone asks: What is his electricity bill like? Thanks to low-energy LED bulbs, the display adds only about $120 to the bill.

Clique