Bloke spends £27k on Christmas decorations to turn home into festive wonderland

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Meet Britain's answer to Clark Griswold who's spent £27,000 on Christmas decorations to turn his home into a festive wonderland.

But Lee Gilbert's enthusiastic approach to festive decorations puts even Chevy Chase's famous National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation character to shame.

The 58-year-old store assistant started spreading Christmas cheer on November 4 by putting his impressive decor up.

His living room has been taken over by a carnival inspired Christmas village which costs £15k.

Lee has seven Christmas trees dotted around his home in Evesham, Worcs.

He said: “When I noticed Christmas decorations are being put up early in shops, I thought why not?

“It is my favourite time of the year so I didn’t have to think twice.

"I've always loved Christmas but never in a million years thought my collection would be so big.

"But I wouldn't have it any other way.

“I’ve spent ten years collecting props for the village which now takes over my living room."

Lee was flabbergasted when he saw the Christmas shops in Florida in 2010.

One item in his basket led to another and he ended up with £500 worth of decorations.

Lee said: "It all snowballed from there!

"The shops in the US are unbelievable, they are as big as our supermarkets.

"The first item I bought was a Disney bauble of Pluto.

"My Disney collection has increased over the years – I now have a Disney gallery of lights.

"And lots of Disney baubles!"

Christmas mad Lee visits Florida every other year and now brings a spare suitcase to bring back the festive goods.

His main tree which is in his living room is decorated with memories from his trips.

Lee has spent over £1000 on Christmas trees alone.

He has a tree on each side of his front door and multiple in his living room along with the Lemax village.

He said: “I love Disney and I love fairground rides which is a lot of what you can see in my home.

"Every year there is new Lemax products and I can't resist.

"There’s fair ground rides including a carousel and rotating swings.

“They also say carnival catch phrases such as ‘roll up, roll up’ and ‘scream if you want to go faster’."

Lee has used eight days of holiday to decorate from 3:30am until 7:30pm.

The village has been complete with houses and toy shops.

He said: "It is like a military operation.

"My mind is on overdrive and I can barely sleep as I am thinking about what to put up first and where to put it.

"So I get up and start decorating at 3.30am – this way I can do it in peace whilst the dogs are asleep.

"If I was to start any later, I'd be up until 3am decorating so at least this way I can relax on the evening and unwind.

"All of the decorations are stored in a cupboard under the stairs – which is hard to believe as there is so many of them.

"But with my retail experience, I am very good at packing stuff away neatly and efficiently.

"It takes a lot of time and dedication to make sure my house is full of festive cheer.

"I am working every day in December except for Christmas and Boxing day so now was the perfect time.

Lee has spent approximately £10,000 on decorations for his 7 foot 5 artificial tree.

Many baubles have become collectable items as they are purchased from bespoke stores in Florida, US.

One of which is a Shamu whale bauble – now worth £600.

He said: "I have seven trees in my house – one of which is a limited edition Disney tree.

“I visit America a lot and they have Christmas shops open all year round so i’ve collected quite a lot of glass blown baubles.

“Each one tells a story as they have the date and where we got it from.

“At the end of the year, the shops in the US – smash them all making every bauble with a date on – a collectable.

“The tree is a constant reminder of all the happy memories we’ve created.

“Our home is very cosy and atmospheric.

“Anything could happen outside but when we are indoors, we feel safe and warm with the flashing christmassy lights.”

Lee’s neighbours are wowed by his efforts.

He said: "I often see little children walking past and pointing with their mouths open.

"They are in awe with all the lights which is great because I am too.

“I really hope our lit up home makes families who walk by feel happy.

"I usually take my decorations down at the end of February so I am chuffed that they can stay up for four whole months this year!

"Surprisingly, my electricity bill is just an extra £100.

"LED lights are great economically plus we only have the lights on of an evening."

COST BREAKDOWN

  • LIGHTS – 980
  • BAUBLES – 7640
  • 7F5 Christmas tree – £600
  • TINSEL £80
  • LEMAX VILLAGE – £15,000
  • ADDITIONAL TREES – £610
  • DISNEY BAUBLES – £300
  • LIMITED EDITION DISNEY ANIMATION TREE – £300
  • DISNEY GALLERIES OF LIGHT – £1000
  • VILLEROY AND BOCH – £300
  • OUTDOOR LIGHTS – £1000

TOTAL – £27,810

  • Christmas

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