Getting in the Christmas spirit: Home light show attracts crowds

Samu Hohti and his daughter Niina design a dazzling Christmas light show for their home in Kouvola each year. This year's centennial spectacle contains over 20,000 LED lights and a pyramid on top of the garage that emits 100,000 red and green laser lights.

A house in the eastern Finland city of Kouvola's Anjala district is attracting a lot of local attention this dark and wet Christmas season, after its residents covered it in hundreds of strings of Christmas lights - writes

"A busload of people stopped in the driveway to have a look on Thursday. Sometimes there are so many cars driving by that it's hard to get home," says the man behind the illumination, Sami Hohti.

Hohti says the police drive by often, while others leave gifts in his mailbox.

"A group of day care children left a box of chocolates, and another time there was a box left there from 'elves'," Hohti says.

Light in the darkness

Hohti designs his home light show together with his daughter, Niina, each year. He says he starts assembling the light show every year well before the Christmas season, in October at the latest. Hohti says his son-in-law has been a big help, and together they spend two or three weeks hanging the strings of lights and assembling the various pieces.

"We've always got a different theme in terms of the colours, whether there's more red or blue. This year we've got a Finland 100 theme, with more blue-and-white lights in the front yard. The back yard has a wider variety of colours on display," Hohti says.

The strings of lights require 24 separate power sockets, but Hohti is careful to keep the extension cords as short as possible. He turns the lights on twice a day: from 6 to 9 am in the morning and again from 3:30 to 11 pm in the evenings.

A 30-year tradition

Hohti has been lighting up his home with Christmas lights for 30 years. He says he does not miss the days of incandescent light bulbs one bit.

"When one lamp in a string of eight didn't work, you had to twist each bulb, one by one, until you figured out which one was burnt out. It was usually the last one you tried – not a nice job when you are standing in the rain or freezing temperatures. But, fortunately, those days are history."

These days his display relies on LED lights, which are also much more energy-efficient. Last year he says his electricity bill was only 20 euros more during the month that his home shines with Christmas cheer.

"I wait until after the holidays, when they are discounted 70 percent. Then they are nice to buy. You can buy metal frames from the shops, too, but I prefer to make them myself, so I can determine what kind of shapes to use," Hohti says.

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