A mum who has been shielding with her children sine March has decided to bring a little festive cheer to her kids and neighbours by putting up her Christmas decorations three months early.
Caroline Gabe, 46, from Caewern, Port Talbot, has been under strict lockdown for six months because her son, Theo, five, has severe asthma after a battle with pneumonia last year.
“Since March me and the children have been shielding,” she says. “We haven’t been as far as the park, and I’ve got to admit it has been a gloomy year.”
So to help cheer the family up and give her neighbours a much-needed lift, the mum-of-three decided to get the Christmas decorations up super early.
Having spent the year buying outdoor lights and installations, some from as far away as the US, Gabe decided to put them all up last week, on a whim.
The impressive collection includes 3,000 fairy lights, sparkling snow, an 8ft inflatable snowman and a light-up Santa with his reindeer. It took around eight hours to put up.
Gabe also has a festive T-Rex on order from the US, which will arrive later in the month.
And in the living room, children Jack, 23, Harry, 12 and Theo, five, now have a full size artificial tree with fake snow to enjoy for the rest of the year.
The former care worker, who had to give up her job to shield, estimates she’s spent just under £1,000 on the decorations, which she has been collecting for months.
Gabe says some people driving past the house have shaken their heads in disapproval at the decorations going up in September, but many of her neighbours have thanked her for bringing Christmas cheer to the street.
“I’ve had so many people talk to me about them. It has blown me away,” she says.
“It’s just been something nice in a horrible and surreal year. I just thought it would brighten the community up.
“The kids were smiling. People were coming up to the house and smiling. It has been lovely.
“Every year I am always early with the Christmas decorations. But this is even early for me.”
Gabe believes the decorating has helped to give her family the cheer they need during a difficult year.
“It's ridiculous what we are all going through. It can get you down. I’ve been so anxious, but as soon as I put the decorations up, it just lifted my spirits.
“It's just a bit of normality; crazy normality mind, putting your decorations up in September.
“Christmas is a fantastic time of year - even in September.”
Additional reporting SWNS.