WITH Christmas just around the corner, two siblings are getting into the spirit of things by taking their rivalry to the next level – for a good cause.
Clayton Reimers and his sister Lisa Cloutman are just two of many people across Perth dressing up their homes with Christmas lights – but their festive season has a more competitive edge.
The duo has been raising money for Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation collectively for the past seven years.
Clayton, who raised more than $15,000 in total over the past five years at his Aubin Grove home, said he had begun putting this year’s display up on October 1 and was hoping to hit the $10,000 mark this year.
“I start with an indoor display through October and prepping for events in December and then outside in the first weekend in November and keep going until I can’t do any more,” he said.
“I never get all the decorations up.
“This year, I am also doing a display in the garage as I have run out of room everywhere else.”
With thousands of individual lights and hundreds of props and ornaments including snow and bubble machines, nutcrackers, dancing Santas and blow-up moulds, Clayton said he loved seeing the faces of the people who visited his home light up – as well as raising money for a good cause.
“I have never had sick or unwell children but have had family members who have and if I can help in any small way I am more than happy to do so,” he said.
“It’s great getting the community spirit to come alive and watching the children and their friends play without a worry in the world.”
North of the river, his sister Lisa has been putting lights up at her home in Alkimos for four years.
She has been raising money for the last two years – including almost $7000 last year – and is also hoping to get $10,000, a target she believes is achievable.
She started decorating her home a little earlier this year after having two surgeries.
“This year we are aiming for the stars, we would be ecstatic to raise $10,000,” she said.
“Normally it takes either one month of really smashing it out with long hours or a couple of months taking things at a slower pace.
“However, this year I have had two surgeries due to a fall at work, which has meant that we needed to take things a lot slower, so we actually started decorating in September.
“According to my husband, there will be more than one million lights.
“Our displays go into our garage, our study and our bedroom, which we have vacated to accommodate our partitioning and a handmade, realistic looking fireplace.
“We also have a lot of other handmade displays which include giant neon candy canes, a giant gingerbread house and a life-sized sleigh.”
With the PCHF set to gain up to $20,000 from the duo, it’s now a matter of which side of the river can raise more money.
According to Clayton, whose lights last year and again this year will honour little Anita Board who died following a crash at Perth Motorplex, the answer to this question is easy.
“Obviously south, as I have beaten my sister Lisa in every year that she has been fundraising,” he said.
As for Lisa, she believed while the south may have an advantage in raising money, the north had the better lights.
“We live in Alkimos which is more than 40km north of Perth and while it is growing at quite a fast rate, the residential housing south of the river has been established for a lot longer,” she said.
“So I would say that getting donations in a well-known and established area would definitely be much easier.
“That doesn’t matter to us though, it just means we will work harder – at the end of the day every cent counts.
“Plus my brother’s own children have seen our lights and said ‘aunty Lisa, don’t tell Dad this but we think your lights are better than his.’
“They made me promise not to tell him but I can’t help myself.”
So who has the better lights and who can raise the most money?
That’s up to you.
Who will win the battle of the Christmas lights – north or south?
WHERE: 267 Lyon Rd, Aubin Grove
WHEN: Until December 27 from 7.30pm-10pm with special fundraising events on December 15 and 22.
WHERE: 22 Newbury Way, Alkimos
WHEN: From December 4 to 26, from 6.30pm-10pm, with special fundraising events on December 8 and 15.