ICONIC: Much-loved Bay Christmas display on light up trail
AS A LITTLE girl living in Oakey, Sharon Sadler remembers family trips to Toowoomba to see all the shop windows beautifully decorated for Christmas.
While the tradition has sadly faded away over the years, it is one of the main reasons the Hervey Bay resident's family home is one of the most-loved in the region during the festive season.
The Christmas display at 24 Vicki Parade become an icon on the Light Up the Fraser Coast Trail map for the past 19 years, with a different themed window display each year, Mr and Mrs Claus photo boards, lollies and reindeer food.
The most popular part of the display being several Elf on the Shelf toys, hidden in the window and around the garden for children to find, which are changed daily.
Sharon said some children came every night during December to find the elves.
"It's one of the things that people talk about, which is really lovely because we do it just a little bit differently to other houses.
"There is a sign to say how many there are and the numbers and the elves change every night," Sharon said.
"It's really amazing to see the children's faces light up when they see all the different things in the window, they are always very happy and love coming.
"That's what it's about at the end of the day - putting a smile on people's faces and forgetting about all the worries in the world and just enjoying it."
A very humble Sharon doesn't like to be dubbed the Mrs Claus of Hervey Bay, but the Christmas decorations inside the home all year round, plus the completely stacked sheds, say otherwise.
Adding to that is the pure joy and passion the Sadler family have for Christmas, which is what brings their spectacular lights display to life.
"I really do love Christmas in every aspect," Sharon said.
"I think sometimes people just find Christmas to be really a chore, whereas they don't look at the spirit and the meaning behind it all.
"I think for us it means being together and for the one time of year where you can just really enjoy things and not focus on the bad things in the world.
"If we can make someone smile and lift their spirits over the Christmas season then our job is done."
The Sadlers' Wonderland display will be switched on for the first time on December 1.
Other Fraser Coast residents planning to light up their house for Christmas are encouraged to register their details with council to be part of the Light Up the Fraser Coast Trail.
Phone 1300 79 49 29 to nominate your house, go online and fill in a nomination form at frasercoast.qld.gov.au/festive-fraser-coast, or pop in to your nearest library or Council administration centre to pick up a nomination form.
The addresses of participating houses will be displayed on an online map that will be available from the Council website so people can create a Christmas lights trail and visit as many displays as possible across the region."
Nominations for the Light Up the Fraser Coast Trail close at 5pm, Friday, November 22, to give Council time to create the maps so they are available from Monday, December 2.