CHRISTMAS can be an expensive time of year, but visiting winter attractions doesn’t have to break the bank.
One family in Leeds is helping to spread the festive for free.
Dom and Heather Hodgson, along with their daughter Scarlett, aged 7, have been transforming their home into a one-of-a-kind Christmas light display for the last five years.
Dom told Sun Online Travel: “It started after I saw Christmas Lights synchronised to music on houses in America, and I thought: ‘That looks fun’ and ‘I would love to do that’.”
In 2018, the Hodgson family decided to turn their daydreaming into a reality.
Dom added: “The first year was terrible – it was just a few lights in the window – but I was really proud of it.”
Read More on Christmas Travel
In 2020, the Hodgson Family Christmas Lights turned into a Christmas spectacle thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With Christmas activities and attractions in the local area closing because of the virus, Dom and his family decided to open their home to the public.
He added: “We took the fence panels down, so people could park up and watch the display from their cars.
“That year, we worked with West Yorkshire Police to make sure we did this as safely as possible.”
Back for its fifth year, the Hodgson Family Christmas Lights will feature over 40,000 lights, which are all synchronised to a festive playlist.
Dom added: “One of my favourite things is the tree. It’s six and a half metres tall, and it has 5,000 lights on it. The other thing I like is the Christmas light tunnel.”
The family has also introduced a new attraction for 2023, the Selfie Elf.
There visitors will be able to take selfies inside one of the Christmas Light displays.
At the walk-through Christmas Light display, families will also be able to interact with some of the features too.
Dom added: “You can press buttons, which move things in the display.
Meanwhile, for anyone who finds Christmas Lights overstimulating, the family also runs Sensory Sessions.
This is where the lights are dimmed and quieter background music is played.
Dom has also made the family-run Christmas attraction as wheelchair-accessible and pram-friendly as possible by cementing a path in his garden.
The Hodgson Family Christmas Lights is completely free to visit – with Dom and his wife Heather even handing out free bags of 10p sweets, as well as cups of tea and coffee.
He laughed: “I spend more on Haribo than the electricity bills.”
In recent years, the tiny northern attraction has built up a cult following among festive holidaymakers.
Dom added: “People from Manchester, York, and Wakefield travel quite far to come to our Christmas Light display.
“We have become a tradition for many families. There are families who met at the lights, and they come back every year – that means a lot to us.”
While the Christmas attraction is free, the Hodgson family asks visitors to donate whatever they can spare to the Martin House Children’s Hospice.
The Hodgson’s have already raised over £50,000 for the hospice, and they hope to raise a further £5,000 by the end of the year.
In addition to buckets of loose change dotted around at the attraction, contactless donations are also available.
The family also has a JustGiving Page, which can be accessed here.
The Hodgson Family Christmas Lights is set to open on December 1, 2023, until December 24, 2023, on 35 Orchard Road, Leeds, LS15 7LP.
In early December, the Christmas lights will be on display from 6pm to 8pm, with the display starting earlier towards the end of the month.
In the, Dom hopes to move his Christmas Light display into a disused shop in a nearby shopping centre to bring even more festive joy.
The family-run Christmas attraction has received plenty of positive reviews on its . page
One person wrote: “Well worth a visit, fantastic lights and songs, and they’re also raising charity.”for a fantastic
A second added: “This was amazing, it was the best house show I’ve ever seen. My daughter loved it, and we will be going back to see it again.”
In addition to the Christmas Lights, the family also runs other events throughout the year including displays on Halloween, Easter, Diwali, and Remembrance.
Here are the best free family-friendly Christmas attractions across the UK.
Here are the 25 best ice rinks to visit in London and the South East.
And, these are the best Christmas markets to visit in the UK.