Photo credit: DRP
As Eurozone worries continue, Christmas cheer can easily depart from the property market. Houses across the continent have had their Christmas lights dimmed to cut costs, with Spanish councils in particular clamping down on displays.
In Madrid, 600,000 fewer lightbulbs have been used this year to decorate the city, reports the Daily Mail , saving 15 percent on last year's electricity bill by reducing it to £2.13 million. Meanwhile, nearby Cuenca has imposed a curfew on Christmas, turning lights off at 10pm instead of midnight. Athens, too, has an overall decorating budget of just £170,000, equalling the amount spent in 2008 on the city's tree alone.
But festive spirit can still be found as some property markets rally from the global recession and homeowners invest in increasingly expensive lights and displays. To bring back some seasonal cheer, here are the 10 most extravagant Christmas decorations around the world:
"The King of Christmas Lights"
Photo credit: PaulToole.org
Paul Toole's property in Somerset has become a popular place for pilgrimage. Tourists and visitors come from across the UK to see the 36 year old's bungalow, which regularly holds 20 minute computer-controlled displays, featuring music, a ferris wheel and 40,000 lightbulbs. At the centre, "a 20ft-tall tree that is made of solid lights", reports The Telegraph .
Brazil's record-breaking tree
Photo credit: Beckstei
As Brazil's economy outperforms Europe, its Christmas display reveals a country brimming with confidence. Decorated with 3.3 million lights, Rio de Janeiro's Christmas tree has been famous since 1996 as the largest floating Christmas tree in the world. Weighing 542 tonnes, the 85-metre construct is towed across the lagoon so that residents in each neighbourhood can enjoy the spectacle.
The Wilson's display of goodwill
Photo credit: Herald-Mail.com
In Chambersburg, USA, The Wilson Family are serious about the season of goodwill. Adding 80,000 separate beams of light to their home, they have decorated the property in memory of Colbie A. Daywalt, who passed away from cancer, aged seven. The Herald-Mail explains that all donations from visitors are given to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The White House
Photo credit: @JuraKoncius
Unveiled to the world last week, the White House decorations for 2011 are the epitome of extravagance, featuring white chocolate gingerbread models of buildings and replicas of the Obama family dog, Bo, in every room. There are 37 Christmas trees in total.
Runton Road's yearly race
Photo credit: Slideshow Bob
While the UK property market may appear glum, in Dorset the outlook is bright. Every year, Runton Road sees a string of houses competing to host the grandest Christmas display. Gardens and rooftops are ritually decked out with inflatable and illuminated ornaments. According to The Daily Mail , the street "even has its own official ceremony to turn on the lights".
Swansea raises the roof
Photo credit: Orange.co.uk
In Swansea, Sylvia Pope has adorned her ceiling with baubles – 1,700 in total. She started decorating the property in September and will continue until she finishes on Christmas Day. Orange reports that she "is now considering leaving them up all year round".
"The Christmas House"
Photo credit: DRP
In Belleville, New Jersey, this property has become known as "The Christmas House" for local residents. The home shows off its impressive array of lights as New Jersey announces plans to have over 22 percent of the state's energy provided by renewable sources within the next ten years.
Rudolph, the two-storey reindeer
Photo credit: Curbed.com
This two-storey reindeer has adorned the front of one American home, spotted by real estate watchers Curbed . But with cheap US homes attracting more and more overseas buyers, novelty inflatable animals are not the only thing on the up.
Baubles bigger than a house
Photo credit: Curbed.com
Other oversized lawn decorations are available for ambitious US property owners. While some states still see many homes underwater, those without fear of foreclosure (Fannie Mae and other lenders have suspended them for the holiday ) may choose to purchase these giant gold baubles for $20,000 – although at that price, it is currently cheaper to buy a brand new home altogether.
Cost-cutting in Chicago
Photo credit: DailyMail.co.uk
Chicago's most famous decorated home is now a house owned by Chet Cybulski. His property is lit up every year with extravagant lights and sparkling trees, but was upstaged recently when his next door neighbour followed suit with a lower-budget option. Fortunately for international investors, foreclosures mean that lower-budget options are available throughout the property market.
Would you like a new home to light up your Christmas?
Browse our dazzling listings of houses, apartments and other overseas property: