A CHRISTMAS display that lights up an entire street can be seen from space, according to neighbours.
While that may not be true, you can see Karen John’s dazzling decorations from the M4 snaking through the south Wales corridor.
The first thing you notice when you visit the mother-of-two’s family home in Cwmrhydyceirw in the Swansea Valley, is the heat emitting from 91 sets of Christmas lights.
The next thing that catches the eye is her husband, Stephen, dressed from head to toe in a turkey costume while he works a snow machine for the dozens of children mesmerised by the spectacle.
The outsize festive display has become an annual fixture in Gwernfadog Road, but it almost didn’t go ahead this year after Karen’s father died suddenly.
But Stephen, their children – Reece, 17, and Chloe-Angel, 16 – insisted the show had to go on.
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With the help of other relatives they managed to deck out their house, including the roof, and front garden with the lights in just a week.
In previous years, it has taken a month to create, and neighbours living amid the blaze of light love it.
Adam Jones, 29, who lives opposite the display, said: “It lifts my spirits every time I turn the corner into the street and see it. It looks so impressive.
“Our Christmas decorations are going up at work on Tuesday and I can pretty much guarantee that the bank’s lights won’t be anything like as wonderful as Karen’s.
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“The whole family has pout their heart and should into making the lights look so fantastic. Full credit to them.”
On a clear, dry night, dozens of locals flock to the Johns’ house to admire the brightly-coloured flashing lights.
Another neighbour, Jan Ellis, 65, a retired carer, said: “The lights are an absolute joy for us all in this street and beyond. You can see them from miles away up on the M4.
"Whenever I see them, I know I’m coming home.
“I was sad when Karen told me they wouldn’t be doing it this year, so it’s an extra Christmas treat to see them go up after all.
“They are a wonderful family and they make everyone super-proud to be living here.”
Karen said she first started decorating her house with bright Christmas lights 17 years ago when Reece was a baby.
The 36-year-old said: "He has autism and he loved the lights and over the years it just grew into a winter wonderland for families to come and take pictures in the garden.
"All we ask for is a small donation to a local charity.
“Everyone around here knows Stephen as 'Santurk' because he dresses up as a turkey each year and wears a Santa's hat.
"Bless him, he spends four hours every evening standing outside in the cold working the snow machine for local children to enjoy."
This year marks the third year of Karen raising money for the children's charity Ty Hafan.
Her festive lights have so far raised almost £3,000 for the charity.
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"I'm really happy that I've been able to do it. It's been difficult but I'm happy to be able to provide for the community and raise funds for Ty Hafan.”
A considerate neighbour, Karen switches the lights off at 8.30pm every weekday evening so people can sleep and at 10.30pm at weekends.
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