Every year for about the last 10 years I have driven past the Christmas House on Shands Road, on the outskirts of Christchurch. Hidden behind thick hedges and with only a few lights framing the outside, the Christmas Light Show draws crowds from late November to the end of December.
But, until this year, we had never been.
This year, with my youngest now being 6, I decided we would definitely go. The gates open at 8:30pm, so promptly on time we joined an already huge crowd of people getting in.
Parking is on both sides of Shands Road, with road crew helping people park, cones everywhere and the speed limit reduced to 30km p/h.
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I presumed there would be an array of lovely Christmas lights, we’d wander round for 20 minutes, and go home. There certainly were lots of Christmas lights, but so much more than I ever expected!
The gates lead to a huge open area with containers/sheds bordering the edges. Massive lights that flash along with the music adorn the tops of the buildings. In the center, a feature display has merry go rounds and ferris wheels with cartoon characters, and a really cool train set.
Each of the containers/sheds is themed, and not necessarily around Christmas. One was filled with mickey mouse characters, another Santa Clauses, another snowmen. Some move, some look very old. I’m sure it must have taken many years to gather all these toys and lights, and they must have been sourced from all around the world!
My favourite exhibition was the halloween cabin. Creepy witches and skeletons playing music, dolls with turning heads and red eyes!
A large road leads from the main area, with numerous little huts and cabins lining it. Even a pirate ship with treasure and skeletons.
Allow at least an hour to wander around. The children are fixated by the various exhibitions, staring for ages at the packed displays.
The crowds are huge though, so if you’re bothered by large crowds packed into tight spaces, with the accidental pushing and shoving that comes with it, then try visiting earlier in the season. We went on the 23rd and the crowds were intense. The cars were parked all the way from the Christmas Light Show house to the Shands Road roundabout!
Honestly, I’m not sure we’ll go again next year. I’m sure they’ll be adding new exhibitions each year, so in a couple years, it might be fun to go again. I’m glad we went though and definitely recommend if you haven’t done it yet.
Cost: $5 per child, $10 per adult. Cash or eftpos.
Location: 650 Shands Road, Christchurch
- Thousands of lights, dozens of exhibitions
- Huge crowds
Amazing experience, very busy 90%