Belfast Telegraph

Christmas comes early for Belfast festive fan Paul

Belfast man decks home out in 6,000 LED lights

By Kate Buck

This is the Northern Ireland home that has been turned into a Christmas grotto - two months away from the big day and even before Halloween has passed.

Paul Moneypenny (29) has put up three festive trees in his Belfast property - decked in more than 600 individual ornaments, including Swarovski crystals, and more than 6,000 LED lights as he gets in the yuletide mood.

In addition to the trees, he has adorned his front window with no fewer than 1,000 lights, with another 1,000 upstairs.

The Christmas enthusiast is well practised as he does the annual festive display at his workplace of Nobletts on North Street.

Paul told the Belfast Telegraph that he fancied himself as the "Willy Wonka of Christmas".

"I just love it," he said of the festive season.

"If it had been for buying clothes or going on nights out I think I would feel really bad about it, but every year when I bring it out I just add things to it and it makes me happy," he said.

"I could be living in Beverly Hills with the money I've spent on these three trees, but I don't think you can put a price on it and I think if they look good, then I don't care.

"I know it's not everybody's cup of tea and some people will say that it's too much or it's too over-the-top or it's too bling.

"But I work in the interior home industry and everybody likes something different."

Paul said he first fell in love with decorating his house because he wanted more free rein when he was growing up to go bigger with the decorations in his childhood home.

"When I lived at home I wanted to do a more over-the-top Christmas than my mum and dad did, so I was always pushing, even though they didn't want it," he explained.

To find the perfect decorations, Paul and his partner travel throughout Europe to unearth new pieces for their collection.

He said: "There isn't a garden centre in Northern Ireland that me and my partner haven't been to.

"A lot of the nice wee key pieces are from high street stores, but there are nice little personalised pieces that you might see if you look closely, with some pieces that we've collected across Europe."

He would usually have his Christmas decorations up even earlier, but said that this year work commitments had got in the way of his usual early preparations.

He explained that he would usually have his home ready for the holiday season by early October so he can enjoy the hard work he puts in.

His mum Sylvia (51) proudly applauded her son's efforts and said it's a pity that more people don't get the chance to see them.

"I think it's wonderful. I think he's really gifted and I just want to see what he does every year," she said.

"I just think it's a shame it's behind a wall and that no one gets to see it."

Paul's top tip for your Christmas decorations is to look for new things to decorate with.

He said: "Fill the tree to capacity with things that you wouldn't normally put on it.

Don't throw anything out like home furnishings, because you can reuse them, and don't go for the obvious set of 30 baubles, because you can do so much more."

Belfast Telegraph

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