Last year, Karen decided to ask those who'd like to have a photo taken of themselves outside her Winter Wonderland, to make donations to her Just Giving page in aid of Tŷ Hafan.
Here is Karen’s story:
“It all just began as my annual Christmas decorations. I would always start decorating outside early to give myself some much-needed time, but this year was different. I decided I would start even earlier than ever, in early November, just to try to spread some Christmas cheer. I kept a phrase in my heart, ‘let the light shine in the darkness’, and that’s just what I tried to do.
“I’d been outside a for few days organising my very own Christmas Winter Wonderland and people from my neighbourhood were already starting to stop and ask me if they could take photos of themselves with my display. Then one passer-by suggested I put a bucket at the front of the garden to cover my electric bill, but I wasn’t in it for the money. It just didn’t feel right.
“I’ve been putting lights up outside of my home for my children ever since they were babies as my son has autism and he is fascinated by lights. Each year the display and the attention around it kept growing. Therefore, taking everything in and seeing the children’s reaction to the display, I realised that these children and families really are benefiting.
“I have quite a large Santa and Snowman which both sit on my bench so I started to invite local children, one at a time, to have a photo taken of them sitting next to Santa and Snowman.
“The reactions of the children were out of this world so I then thought that perhaps other children could benefit too.
“So I set up a Just Giving page with a target of £100 and chose to donate the funds to Tŷ Hafan! I added the link to my social media channels and before I knew it, the Wave radio station was interviewing me, a few days later me and my display was Wales Online!
“The idea really took off, so much so that I put a donation bucket in the garden which, incredibly, generous passers-by were still putting money in despite me having to stop the photo opportunities, due to lockdown. The final total fundraised was just under £700!
“It really has been an incredible experience and journey to be able to give some joy to Tŷ Hafan families. As the days begin to lengthen and our world starts to lighten with the onset of Spring, it’s uplifting to know how much of an impact those lights of my very own Winter Wonderland in the midwinter darkness has had on Tŷ Hafan.”