It's Christmas time and one of the finest traditions in Belize is bedecking one's home with Christmas lights.
Almost every home that can afford to - has a little splash of special lights, but some folks take it to a whole other level!
So is it sharing Christmas cheer or an artistic endeavor? - And who pays those light bills?
That's what Monica Bodden asked one light designer:
Monica Bodden Reporting
Fred Smith - Home Owner
"Let me say that a lot of peopler were here. 'Mr. Smith, I love to see how the home is decorated.' And I just smile because I'm getting praises for something that I am not the person."
Smith says, it is his wife - Myrna Smith - who is the mastermind behind the captivating Christmas decorations at their residence.
"I believe it's the teacher in her - that artistic part of it that comes out. She knows exactly where to place the lights, and she constantly - when she goes in the evening to turn on the lights - she'll be fixing something that maybe doesn't please her. She goes out; she admires her handiwork and so that's it."
It takes up to 3 days to get everything up and going.
"This year, because of concern, sometimes I'd go and peep to see where she is normally in the yard setting up, and I think it's about 3 days. She started probably in the evenings when it is cool, and put up what she can. We have a male friend who comes on Sundays to help her hang the lights that are up around the eve. So more or less, that's it. I'll say 3 days to put everything together."
"Looking on from the outside, they could only imagine how much thousands of dollars is being spent on the house. Is that so?"
"No, most of the things - I didn't really realize that some of the things that she says she has for the past 16 years, at the conclusion of everything, she takes them down, labels them, and she has some big barrels that she packs them in. She has the barrels on a stand. So, this year, minimal, maybe she bought a light that was blown and replaced it. I don't think that she spent more than $200 - $300 dollars in replacement. But the bulk of the things, all the years she has had them."
The lights are disconnected at around 10 o'clock every night to curtail on electricity costs. But even so, there is still a huge increase at the end of the Christmas season.
"Do you guys see an increase in your electricity bill at the end of the season?"
"Definitely, right, I'd say, 'Please, help me. At a certain time, turn off the lights.' As a good wife, she does."
And just across the street at their neighbor's house, The Vasquez's - too are fully lit. It takes the Vasquez's about 2 weeks to get all their decorations functioning - They begin at the end of November.
And an electrician is called to make sure they have the proper breakers and to ensure safety. Albert Vasquez, who is the mastermind behind his outstanding decorations and does everything all by himself- told me he does it because of the love he has for the Christmas season.
He began the tradition when his oldest son was born - who is now 16 years old. Many people - even as far as the districts- make special trips to see his house display.
And to curtail on electricity - he too turns off his lights at 10 in the night time.
If you have photos or video of any house in your area which you think is really outstanding - like that one - you can email an image of it to us at [email protected] - that's s-e-v-e-n - spelt out in letters...