CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Neighbour sends note to Christmas lights house: ‘Your display is so bad I’m moving’

Tony South received Christmas card with 'seasons greetings' crossed out

29 December, 2016 — By Dan Carrier

The display at Tony South’s house in Highgate

THEY have become a landmark must-see over the Christmas period – a free lights display held by a household in Highgate in their front garden.

But the Christmas lights show, in Hillway on the Holly Lodge estate, has fallen foul of one grumpy neighbour who has sent the family behind the festive display a card saying it is so bad they are planning to move.

Tony South, whose family have lived in Hillway for more than 60 years, told the New Journal of his shock when he received a Christmas card with a festive message crossed out and a letter instead telling him what an eyesore his work is.

Mr South said: “I first started doing this around 10 years and have gradually built it up. I have four children and it was at first for them – they love it, and I love doing it. They are always pestering me, asking me when I will start getting them up.”

Christmas lights highgate complaint letter

The display – featuring snowmen, Father Christmas, reindeer and other festive images – is so popular Mr South gets gifts dropped off for him.

But this year he received the card with a very different message.

He said: “People leave chocolates and thank you cards, so when I opened this one card up just before Christmas I thought it must be some one saying thank you. I was totally surprised – I really couldn’t believe it.”

The card, which had its festive greetings crossed out in thick black pen, told Mr South that his display “…had really taken the biscuit,” and that the anonymous neighbour was “appalled by the current eyesore of your Christmas display. I am currently looking to relocate as a result, God only knows what you must have in store for St Valentine’s Day.”

Mr South, who also hosts a fireworks display on November 5th for all of his neighbours, is unrepentant. He said: “I would love to know who it is and what sort of person would do this. “They are only up for the Christmas period and the fireworks lasts only an hour once a year. I hope some one comes forward and explains why they are so upset by it. I’ll personally help them move – I’ll even pay for the removals van.”

Mr South added that he took a lot of time and care over the decorations.

He said: “I know some people do some Christmas lights in a rather tacky way, but I take care and make sure it is well designed and colour co-ordinated.”

Other Holly Lodge residents are more supportive. Martin Morton, who is also chair of the Camden Civic Society and a former Conservative councillor, said the vast majority of Mr South’s neighbours looked forward to seeing the lights go up.

He said: “It is very festive and seasonal. We are used to it. and it doesn’t last for very long. It sounds like a bit of a miserable old codger who complained, and to say they are going to move – well, they must be bonkers.”

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