Thousands across the Hunter would have seen and shared her website and social media page to track down the region’s best Christmas lights, but who is the woman behind all the hard work?
Her children are grown up now but, every year, when the calendar ticks over to November, Charlestown mum Lisa Lambert says this is the year she’ll forfeit the Christmas Lights duty.
However, her posting on social media the list of homes that feature the best Christmas displays in the Hunter has become her own family tradition, one her children refuse to let go.
It’s a ritual that started when the youngest of her three children was six years old. The other two were eight and 11.
The year was 2009 and Lisa accepted the challenge of collating submissions and publishing the ‘Christmas Lights in the Hunter’ Meta (Facebook) page.
“When my kids were little, we would drive around looking for houses and since I was a freelance web designer at the time, I just created the page, first from memory, then the website,” she says.
Her inspiration stemmed from a very special family she’d met in Rathmines, which although they shared the same surname, had no known connection with.
The address was 64 Hampstead Way, and many people across the region will remember it as The Lamberts’ Christmas Lights, a spectacular annual display featuring 150,000 lights that attracted thousands of spectators each year.
“She retired and moved to Queensland last year,” Lisa says.
“It was such an amazing display that took so much hard work every year.
“It would take them two months to set up and they did it for 18 years.”
Collating the Lamberts’ lights and hundreds of other addresses is a labour of love, although Lisa says she will soon retire.
“Every year when the last week in November comes around, I say to the kids ‘not this year’,” she admits.
“My youngest is 19 now and he still says ‘oh c’mon mum’ and before I know it, I’m being sent messages with addresses and photos for the website.”
This year the page has faced a new set of challenges.
“The changes in Facebook algorithms means they are trying to get you to pay for advertising and it’s harder to do this just as a community service,” Lisa says.
“I also work so I’ve had to wind back my contribution of time a little. There are so many great displays.”
For Lisa, the Christmas Lights tradition began much earlier.
Her mum used to take her to Tingara Heights to see Christmas at Graceland every year.
For more than a decade, the address was a must visit location during the festive season.
“Anyone who’s around my age from the area will remember it, it was amazing,” she says.
“The lights were moved to the Hunter Valley when that home stopped displaying. They now make up the Hunter Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens.”
For more Christmas inspo:
Get all the latest Newcastle news, sport, real estate, entertainment, lifestyle and more delivered straight to your inbox with the Newcastle Weekly Daily Newsletter. Sign up here.