Leeds family display 7,500 Christmas lights and music every night over festive period for charity

A Leeds family is displaying 7,500 lights on their house in the run up to Christmas to raise money for charity.

Friday, 4th December 2020, 12:01 pm

The light display in Crossgates, Leeds, is a moving display of Christmas lights that are synchronized to music.

From 5pm to 8pm every night in December, the Orchard Road house becomes “something a bit ridiculous” with a show to raise money for Martin House Children’s Hospice which the Hodgson family have raised over £40,000 for over the past five years.

Dad Dom Hodgson has spent a full year planning for this year’s lights, having started last October and getting all elements built and programmed himself.

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7,500 Christmas lights in Crossgates, Leeds (photo: Dom Hodgson)

He said: “It’s been a terrible year for us and many families in Leeds so we decided to go bigger and not only have a bit more of a family project to do during the lockdowns but also try and bring a bit of joy to the community with something a bit ridiculous.

“Based on the reactions so far, I think we’ve succeeded.”

Dom’s daughter Scarlett, aged four, “absolutely loves the lights” and spends the first hour after school dancing to the music ranging from Christmas staples, classics and Frozen, played outside.

He added: “Scarlett tells everyone they’re her lights, though I didn’t see her contribution when it came to soldering them.”

Scarlett Hodgson enjoys her family lights (photo: Dom Hodgson)

The family did have plans for a big switch on and more interactive elements of the display but due to the pandemic these have had to be put on hold until next year’s display which the Hodgsons have already started working on.

Dom said: “Everyone says they wouldn’t like to see my electric bill but it’s actually really reasonable because they are LED lights so it should cost about £50 to run for the season.

“We’ve been working with local police to try and make our display as COVID safe as possible and so rather than do a single 30 minute show each night.

“We’ve added an extended time of 5pm to 8pm with a small break in between each song, we’ve also removed our fence panels and created a new fence in our garden to allow smaller visitors to get up close and be able to see from far away and our donation table has hand sanitiser (and haribo) available for all.”

Dom used to volunteer for a children's charity in Leeds and saw the direct impact that Martin House had on the children, parents and siblings and so decided that if he was ever to raise money it would be for them.

Daisy Mankee, Regional Fundraiser for Martin House, said: “Dom has been a dedicated supporter of Martin House for a number of years, raising more than £40,000 since 2015 with increasingly innovative and demanding challenges.

“His Christmas Lights Display is yet another example of his unwavering commitment to the hospice; the babies, children, young people and families that we care for.

“And it’s made all the more impressive by his determination to raise money in a way that keeps everyone safe and socially distant. We can’t thank him enough.”

The display has over 7,500 addressable coloured lights including a 13ft tree with 2,400 lights alone.

The lights take two weeks to put up on the house including testing and replacing time for things that don’t work as planned.

The dad-of-one said: “I like to stand and watch every evening and appreciate actually achieving something this year.

“Some people go to the pub, some people go skiing as a hobby, our hobby is creating a display that hopefully brings joy to hundreds of people over the holiday season.

“We hope the display brings joy to the community in a difficult time and no matter what the weather does, we can guarantee at Hodgson Family Lights, it’s going to be a ‘Light’ Christmas.”

Dom said his neighbours have been very kind to let them play Christmas music on repeat throughout November and December and he is making a conscious effort not to keep them up with it.

He added: “It’s the Hodgson’s Christmas lights aka ‘I’m glad I don’t live next to that house!’.

Donations can be made either at the display or by clicking here.