Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

It's Halloween but Ulster woman has Christmas illuminations up

Anna Marie McArdle outside her west Belfast house bedecked in festive lights yesterday
Anna Marie McArdle outside her west Belfast house bedecked in festive lights yesterday

Today may officially be Halloween but for one west Belfast household Christmas has come early.

Anna Marie McArdle (42) is so crackers about Christmas she has had her festive decorations up for a week already.

Mrs McArdle, who runs a local taxi company, has her Christmas tree up and dozens of illuminations, including a giant Santa Claus, signpost to the North Pole, icicles and rope lights outside her house on Amcomri Street, just off the Falls Road.

This weekend she is hoping to add the final touch - reindeer and a sleigh for the roof and a climbing Santa for the chimney.

The electricity bill tops £45 a week but Anna Marie thinks it's money well spent.

" I just love Christmas, love it. We've no children ourselves so we don't mind. I love seeing everyone come round to see the lights.

"I always have them up before Halloween, every single year. When the kids come round trick or treating I ask them to sing a Christmas song because Halloween is too spooky."

Mrs McArdle also decorates inside her house to resemble a grotto and some local children really believe Santa lives there.

She said: "Some of the smaller kids actually think Santa lives here and we get Santa letters through the door. Some of them are quite heartbreaking - I remember one year reading a letter about a wee boy who wanted his mummy and daddy back together for Christmas."

Anna Marie has her Christmas cards written and ready to post and has had her presents wrapped since September.

And her Samoyed dog, Nischa, is given a festive make-over and has a set of reindeer ears specially for the big day.

The decorations will stay until January 6.

Added Anna Marie: " I wouldn't keep them up all year round because then the novelty would wear off. It's a big thing when you put them up and take them down - I wouldn't want to ruin that."

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