A Keith campaigner is prepared for his electricity bill to double as he gets ready for the return of his massive festive lights display – but he says it is all for a good cause.
Callum Stuart is currently spending every waking hour transforming the residence he shares with his grandmother in Seafield Park into a show-stopping festive display.
Scores of people of all ages travel from far and wide to gaze upon his masterpiece each year, which garners thousands of pounds in donations for local charities.
The Christmas extravaganza will be brought to life next Saturday and can be seen from the A96 Huntly road every day between the hours of 4pm and 10pm during the festive season.
‘Definitely worth it’
As households face surges in energy bills amidst the cost of living crisis, Mr Stuart says hosting the display this year is likely to double his electricity bill.
In previous years, his energy bills have totalled £50 for the festive season.
However, the 23-year-old creator says this year’s display could set him back around £120.
Mr Stuart stressed the added expense will be worthwhile in supporting local charitable causes.
He said: “Although it is going to cost a bit more to run, we feel it is worth it.
“Whenever we raise for charity, it is definitely worth it, even if it does cost us a wee bit extra.
“I would imagine it will be roughly double, however, in saying that, despite there being so many lights it doesn’t cost a huge amount to run in the first place. It is nothing major.”
New additions to this year’s display
With just eight days to go until the much-anticipated switch-on, Mr Stuart says spectators can expect to see a few new additions.
He said: “It’s been a lot of work but it will all be worth it once they are on, I’m sure.
“I try and start pretty early. In January I do some repairs but the last few weeks have been pretty constant trying to get stuff up and carry out repairs from last year.
“There is always a certain percentage of stuff that doesn’t work so you have to make new things and make repairs.
“There is a bit of an expectation every year to add a wee bit more so we’ve added a few wee bits.”
He added: “People come from far and near. My aunty goes out and she hands out wee gifts to some of the kids and speaks to them and finds out where they come from so that is quite nice to hear where they have come from. Some come quite a difference.”
“I won’t be looking forward to it on the day but once everything is on, if I see everything working, I’ll be delighted. I’ll be able to relax after that.”
Supporting local charities
Since 2015, Mr Stuart has spruced up his home in Keith.
Each year, the 23-year-old decorates the bungalow and garden with a host of unique festive lights and handmade creations constructed from recycled materials.
This year, proceeds from the display will be distributed to the Beeches ASFL (additional support for learning) department at Keith Primary School, Loch Park Day Centre in Drummuir and Keith Community Christmas Lights.
Mr Stuart says this year’s recipients are causes close to his family’s heart.
He added: “We try to stay local and try to keep the money as local as possible and the three that we have chosen all have pretty close connections to the family, one way or another so it seemed quite appropriate.”