Couple Paulo Rodrigues and Rick Van Der Galien und
Couple Paulo Rodrigues and Rick Van Der Galien under the ball they had custom made.
  • Couple Paulo Rodrigues and Rick Van Der Galien home in Brackenfell, Cape Town, was crowned South Africa’s best-decorated holiday home in 2019.
  • Their home received the most votes out of entries across the country in a Business Insider South Africa holiday home competition.
  • The couple, who spent roughly ten months planning the display, raised over R15,000 for animal shelters in the area. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

It took couple Paulo Rodrigues and Rick Van Der Galien roughly 10 months to perfect the design of their Christmas light display at their home in Brackenfell, Cape Town, before spending another month putting up all the decorations.

This year - the first time in seven years that they put up their display - their home was named South Africa’s best decorated holiday home - receiving the most votes out of entries across the country.

In total, over 12,000 people voted on Business Insider South Africa’s Facebook page over two weeks for their favourite decorated home. 

You can see all the entries here.

The couple, who completed the display in mid-November, had to open the gates to their property much earlier than planned after someone drove past and shared a photo of their Christmas lights on Facebook.

“We were chilling at home when we heard people gathering to take photos and saw roughly 50 cars with people outside - and that just from one photo shared on Facebook,”  Rodrigues told Business Insider South Africa. 

“The response has really been overwhelming. Last week Sunday we had over 800 people visiting the property on that day alone.” 

Couple Paulo Rodrigues and Rick Van Der Galien hom
Couple Paulo Rodrigues and Rick Van Der Galien home in Brackenfell.

With the help from their neighbour Susan le Roux and Rodrigues’s mother and brother, they hand out sweets to children visiting their impressive display every evening.  

Rodrigues and Van Der Galien encourage visitors to make a donation towards animal shelters in the area, and the couple said they have been able to raise R15,000 already. “It gives me so much joy making the payments to the shelters every day, knowing that we are helping to buy food and pay for veterinarian appointments for animals in need,” said Rodrigues. 

Paulo Rodrigues, Rick Van Der Galien and friends d
Paulo Rodrigues, Rick Van Der Galien and friends dressed up to welcome visitors.
Neighbour Susan Le Roux and her cat Marmite who ca
Neighbour Susan Le Roux and her cat Marmite who came to help guide the visitors every evening.

Rodrigues, who is a restaurant manager, said he had a dream to decorate his home since he had a small lighting display seven years ago. 

Also read: This Cape Town police station has been decorated with Christmas lights for the past five years

Since then he has been ordering lights from overseas every year, and this year put up over 2km of lights. Rodrigues, who works at night, worked on the display during the day, and Van Der Galien worked on it during the evenings when he got home from work.

“It really was an incredible team effort and we’ve learnt so much about each other which made us love each other just so much more,” Rodrigues said. The couple got engaged in April 2018. 

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Next year Rodrigues hopes to expand the display and include “a few surprises”. He has already ordered another 700 metres of lights. 

He said one of the highlights of the holiday lights display was when a couple got engaged under the massive ball he had custom made. 

“Since then we’ve really encouraged everyone to come to get engaged at our Christmas display,” Rodrigues said. 

“Because that’s what Christmas is really all about: to realise how much family and friends mean to you; to celebrate the love we have for each other.” 

Rodrigues and Rick Van Der Galien’s home in 16 Dennegeur Street, Protea Heights, Brackenfell, Cape Town, can be visited every evening from 20:00 to 22:00 until January 3 when they will start dismantling the display.

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