Mum spends 12 hours turning house into giant Christmas grotto three months early

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A mum-of-three spent 12 hours putting up a huge Christmas display in her garden, more nearly three months before the big day.

Caroline Gabe, from Neath Port Talbot, Wales, has vowed to do it every September from now on.

The ex health worker has added an 8ft blow-up Santa, a huge illuminated Father Christmas and about 4,800 warm white lights to her display from last year that made headlines as far away as the US.

This is along with 3,000 fairy lights, giant inflatable snowmen and sparkling snow.

When asked why she did the display last year, Caroline explained that she did it to cheer up her neighbours after "a horrible and surreal year" under Covid.

"And things haven't really improved much this year either, have they?" the 47-year-old said to Wales Online this week.

"If anything it's been just as bad, what with coronavirus case figures back on the rise – what is more, I also lost my cousin Julie to cancer back in the spring and she was always such a lover of Christmas.

"So this time round I've put up the decorations in her honour too. They remind me of her and I know she's looking down right now and loving it all."

Caroline added that the seasonal scene took her 12 hours to set up, with the grand switch-on taking place on Saturday night.

"You wouldn't believe how many people have come to see it already – they've been driving all the way down from the Rhondda.

"It's nice to put a smile on others' faces and it also brings me and my kids a lot of joy."

And 2021 won't be the last time she does it either.

"No, I've got the bug now, so – pandemic or no pandemic – every September from now on is going to be Christmas come early."

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