UK electrician spends more than £10k on 30,000-bulb Christmas display at his home

An electrician spent more than £10,000 on a magical display of Christmas lights with 30,000 bulbs to create 'Santa's garden' at his home.

Dad-of-two Nigel Watkinson, 56, first came up with the idea 21 years ago when he decorated a friend's garden with string lights and children could go into a greenhouse to meet Santa.

In the two decades since, he has spent around £500 a year on lights and raised around £20,000 for charity.

Nigel, who lives in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, spent an additional £700 on lights this year and was gifted more, which were worth the same, so 260 sets of lights will illuminate the garden.

This year's display is in memory of his dad, Brian, who died earlier this year aged 75.

The garden measures around 40m by 20m, and Nigel said his favourite moment is seeing people's reaction when they emerge from a side alley and set eyes on it with 2,000 people expected to visit this year.

This year EON have agreed to waive leccy bills for the month.

Nigel said: "I started putting them up in August.

"I work on it every weekend and had an opening last weekend for people who donated lights.

"It stays up until Christmas Eve and then I spend all of January taking them down.

"I've spent around £500 a year on lights for 21 years.

"The first year we put lights up and a friend sat in a greenhouse dressed as Santa.

"During covid we did it on an appointment basis with six people, and we've stuck with appointments.

"There are paths around the garden.

"We probably raised £20,000 in 20 years.

"I'm not allowed to have lights out the front.

"There are 30,000 LED lights and it probably costs around £100 a month.

"We're expecting 2,000 people, mostly from Scarborough but a friend came over from York last year.

"It's in memory of my dad who died earlier this year.

"One part of the garden has lots of reindeers, unicorns and snowmen.

"The vegetable patch is decorated with light-up foxes and rabbits."

A model railway line has homemade lit-up Christmas trees beside it.

Nigel said: "It is all really low wattage.

"I spent every weekend working on it since August.

"I just love doing it.

"What gives me the biggest kick is seeing people walk out of the side alley.

"It opens up in front of them, everyone says 'wow' when they see it.

"Watching people's reactions is my favourite part."

Nigel said: "It's running until Christmas Eve.

"In January I'll spend all month taking it down."

Next year he plans to raise funds for Marie Curie, which helped his dad.

This year cash will be donated to St Catherine's Hospice.