Switch on those Christmas lights in celebration

FAMILY AFFAIR: David and Janean Richards in 2013 with their three children Aidan, 13, Madelyn,6 and Caitlin,10. They set a world record with their Canberra light show. Photo: Melissa Adams, Canberra Times
FAMILY AFFAIR: David and Janean Richards in 2013 with their three children Aidan, 13, Madelyn,6 and Caitlin,10. They set a world record with their Canberra light show. Photo: Melissa Adams, Canberra Times

LET there be light ... inside and out.

About this time every year, families dust off stored decorations and begin the task of installing their festive light show.

Homes festooned with illuminations in the lead-up to Christmas have become part of the festive tradition, with neighbours competing for the best show.

It all began 100 years ago, when Californian resident Frederick Nash organised the Christmas Tree Lane Show in Santa Rosa Avenue.

Most Western countries are now on board with the idea, with Australians embracing Christmas lights illuminating suburban streets by the 1960s.

COLOURFUL: These days there are websites which chart suburbs and streets with the best Christmas lights display. Visit christmaslightsearch.com.au

COLOURFUL: These days there are websites which chart suburbs and streets with the best Christmas lights display. Visit christmaslightsearch.com.au

Some families have turned the tradition into a community benefit; in 2013, Canberra couple David and Janean Richards set a world record when they strung up 500,000 Christmas lights to raise money for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and Kids ACT.

These days there are websites which chart suburbs and streets with the best Christmas lights display.

Everything from nativity scenes (complete with baby Jesus in a crib), three shepherds, neon Christmas trees and simple flashing lights vie for attention on lawns and around homes as families drive by.

RUDOLPH: Everything from nativity scenes, neon Christmas trees and simple flashing lights vie for attention on suburban lawns.

RUDOLPH: Everything from nativity scenes, neon Christmas trees and simple flashing lights vie for attention on suburban lawns.

A word of caution: before installing your lights, inspect the bulb and electrical wires for any sign of damage or wear and tear.

Don't attach the lights or electrical leads to or near overhead powerlines, power poles or street lamps.

Working safely, set your imagination in motion to produce a light show to make your street proud.