'It takes a week to put up the decorations but it's really worth it'
FOR the Carter family, Christmas is far from just putting up a tree or draping some tinsel over a door frame.
That is because they not only decorate the outside of their house with lights – they create an entire festive village inside their living room.
And this is despite the fact dad Les, 57 – a senior technician at Derby's Rail Vehicle Engineering Limited – and his wife concede that daughters Lindsay, 34, and Emma, 26, have grown up.
Les, of Oakover Drive, in Allestree, said: "We moved here 24 years ago and that's when we started putting up the lights outside."
"Lindsay's birthday is on December 8, so we started out making a fuss because of that."
But Lindsay said she had not always been impressed. She said: "I used to walk past because I was so embarrassed in front of my friends."
The tradition started when they came with a coach house model and a coach with horses to go with it.
And the collection has since snowballed – with the family buying most of the parts for their village from garden centres.
Les said many of the buildings cost anywhere from about £70 each.
He said: "We try and pick them up in the New Year sales, when they cost a bit less, but we can't help adding to the collection each time we see a new piece we like."
It takes a week for them to set up the miniature village, of which Lindsay usually takes charge. Les said: "Some of the rides play different tunes so we can't have them all going at once, or it would drive us mad."
The outdoor lights take him two days to hang up. Les said: "I like them to look elegant, not just any-old-how."
To cut down the costs, Les said he had knocked down the number of hours he lights everything up, both inside and out.
But he said he still had standards to keep. He said: "Some people regularly stroll past to take a look every year."
Marjorie Ellis, 72, who lives opposite, said: "Their display is brilliant – we love it. It's absolutely fabulous and we really look forward to the view every year.
"I think Les is brilliant to do it. When our family come to visit they love it too and can't wait to see it."
Les said: "The worst bit, though, is putting it all away in January.
"It takes a whole weekend and we are running out of room in the loft to fit everything up there!"