For over a decade, a Maltese man and his family have set up elaborate Christmas decorations at their home in England to raise money for charity.

With a three-metre-wide Nativity scene, LEGO and Playmobil displays, Christmas lights and a hand-painted mural featuring Disney and popular Christmas characters, the family has been growing their extravagant decorations every year.

“We want people to stop and come in and experience it all,” Ian Pulis told Times of Malta.

Born in England to Maltese parents, Ian and his wife, Michelle, both 45, have been setting up a contained Christmas experience in their front garden in Hemel Hempstead for over a decade.

“The whole family helps build it,” Ian said, as he and his father usually begin construction in September while their sons – Oliver, 16, and Stanley, 13 – start building the attractions, such as LEGO models, in August.

Part of the Pulis Christmas experience.Part of the Pulis Christmas experience.

Months later, the family is ready to turn the lights on in their front garden in late November, leaving them on for five hours each day from 4.30pm.

“The kids love it. I thought that as they got older, they wouldn’t help as much but now they help a lot more,” Ian said, as both of their sons have grown up with the Christmas tradition.

Speaking to the BBC, Ian said: “I don’t think we quite envisioned at the time what we took on, because now we’re really famous round our way where people just expect us to do our lights, and it has just got bigger and bigger.”

In the process, they have raised nearly €20,000 for a local hospice charity.

However, the tradition began purely by accident, the couple explained.

“Every Christmas, we would buy a few more decorations until someone told us to do a bit more and to do it for charity,” Michelle said.

A large Nativity scene that the family displays every year.A large Nativity scene that the family displays every year.

So, around a decade ago, Michelle and Ian began building a scaffold-type structure that would allow people to explore their Christmas passion while also opening a donation box for Rennie Grove Hospice Care.

The choice of charity was easy for the couple as Michelle had used the hospice’s care during a stint of breast cancer, the charity helping them get through the tough experience.

A hand-painted mural featuring Disney and popular Christmas characters.A hand-painted mural featuring Disney and popular Christmas characters.

Since their yearly donation drive began, the family has raised over €19,000 for the charity.

“It’s an amazing feeling… the charity is very special to us,” Michelle said, emphasising how important donations are for such charitable institutions to survive.

Supporting the Pulis family are several businesses that, due to rising energy costs, have made financial contributions to the decorations for the past two years: The Kitchen Depot, JW Carpentry, Shire Homes Hemel and All Local to Hemel.

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