Bright lights and festive cheer at a house like no other

2015-12-24 11:55

Pretoria - For 22 years, 150 000 lights have burnt brightly at the Danville Liggiehuis in Pretoria when, as a Christmas treat, the lights are switched on for the month of December in a decorative display that lights up Millar Street.

But that's not all.

The house is open and food parcels handed out to those who are less fortunate. On some days, even Father Christmas is known to drop by to listen to the wish lists of children.

The initiative is a family project run by the Van der Merwes, the owners of the house. The family has a team of nine to assist them in the month-long task of decorating the house. 

The lights are switched on from December 1 to January 1 from 7pm to 11pm. Santa Claus joins the festivities from December 6.

The mammoth task of decorating starts in November. While the project was led by Brenda van der Merwe, she has since handed it over to her daughter, Jacomien, after suffering a stroke two years ago.

Jacomien van der Merwe said despite her mother not being able to take charge of the project, they still had to ensure that smiles were brought to the faces of others.

Putting smiles on faces

“The smiles we see on their faces are just amazing,” she said. “There are so many people really in need. There are 950 families that get given food parcels.”

The food parcels handed out are donated by ordinary members of the public who visit the house.

“We are unable to give the children the exact gifts they ask for but we at least give them a gift to put a smile on their face. Christmas is about giving and not expecting anything in return. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they receive the gifts and food parcels is just wonderful,” she said.

“There are 150 000 lights and decorations around the house. It takes us the entire month of November to get the house ready. We then collect the food from people that come to visit the house and we then hand them out to the families before Christmas,” she said.

Thousands of people visit the house on a daily basis to marvel at the decorations with young children posing for pictures in the colourful garden.

But what about their electricity bill?

It costs the Van der Merwes an additional R800 but, they say, the bright lights are worth it.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.