THE spirit of Christmas is alive and well throughout Gympie and the lights adorning homes are a shining example.
Entrants have shone for this year's Sunshine Mitre 10 Light Up For Christmas competition.
Judging was tough but it was Gympie couple Ray and Trish Doel who won best decorated home category with their 29 Sproule Rd entry.
After 10 years of decorating, they know what it takes to create a smashing display.
"We love Christmas and the look on people's faces (when they see the lights)," Mrs Doel said.
The Doels began putting lights up mid-September, but it was a challenge for the couple; both work full-time.
Nights and weekends were the only time available to put things together.
"It was a full-on job getting it up and running but it's worth it when people come and look at the decorations," Mrs Doel said.
Mr and Mrs Doel were never concerned with winning, they just wanted to spread joy and the meaning of Christmas.
Mrs Doel said she noticed there have been fewer Christmas lights in Gympie over the years and they wanted to start the tradition again.
"It's about trying to get the spirit out and getting people to put the lights up," she said.
The couple spread the word, along with People's Choice Award winners Suzanne and David Jamieson, who were also runner-up for best decorated home at 50 Barton Rd.
With 22 entrants in the competition, they got their Christmas wish as there are more lights in Gympie than previous years.
Mr Jamieson said he thought the standard was high. "It does your heart good," he said.
The Jamiesons invested six months in their display. It took three months alone to build the sleigh.
It was a huge step up from the three strands of bulbs they started with 14 years ago.
"It's about the reaction from adults and kids... we've had people who've never seen Christmas lights," Mr Jamieson said.
"The more lights the better."
The best decorated newbie category was won by Crystelle and Michael Anderson, with a stunning first-time display at 7 Centenary Close entry while Wises Rd was crowned the best decorated neighbourhood.
Best House - Suzanne and David Jamieson
Best New Decorated House - Douglas Rose
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