The winners have just been announced for the annual 4KQ Christmas Lights competition and people are planning their Christmas lights tours around the suburbs as we speak. We chatted to Laurel, Gary and Mark from the 4KQ Breakfast Team about all things Christmas.

The camaraderie between the trio was obvious, the banter was free flowing and the love of Christmas very apparent. We grilled them on their favourite aspects of the festive season and asked them the big question — have they ever attempted to enter the 4KQ Christmas Lights competition?

What does Christmas mean to you?

Mark: Christmas to me is all about family. I’ve got two little kids who get so excited about Santa coming. Waking up on Christmas morning and tearing into those presents is amazing. The day really does change when you have kids. And part of that is getting out and experiencing the Christmas Lights up close and as a family, we love to have a good look at them.

Gary: Christmas is also about family for me too, but my kids are a little older than Mark’s, so for me it’s special… it really is a time where we all can get together. And we know as they get older, it may get harder and harder to get us all together at the one time. So now I really appreciate every Christmas.

Laurel: It’s the same for me. My kids are between the ages of Gary’s and Mark’s and I’m the one that drives Christmas in our house. I’ve actually got a Christmas box which has my Christmas DVDs which we all have to sit down and watch every single year, even if they moan and groan about it. And I always decorate the house, even if we go away for holidays. We’ve also been lucky enough to have spent a few Christmas Days in New York but I’ve got to make sure the traditions are still happening. We still have to watch the DVDs, we still have to go see Christmas Lights and they still have to have the photo on Santa’s knee. I insist upon that. Every single year.

But it’s come to the stage where I actually have to bribe them to do this for me. Since they’re teenagers now, they’re just not that impressed about sitting on Santa’s lap. But you know, the amount of mothers who line up with their teenage kids is actually quite surprising, so we’re not the only ones. And yes, I imagine this going on until they’re 50.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Gary: We tend to be down the coast over Christmas but we always get the tree up on the first of December and spend time with my in-laws.

Mark: We have one tradition that we always always stick to and that is to have a real live Christmas tree. We get them from over at Ashgrove, and even though the prices keep going up every year, I will not be deterred. It’s not even about the look of it, it’s more about the smell of it. The whole house just smells beautiful for those three weeks and it’s a really important tradition. In fact the kids have started coming over and helping me choose what tree we’re going to get. If you google ‘real christmas trees Brisbane’, you’ll find that this is the only place that does it and they actually get them shipped up from Victoria. They look beautiful and smell beautiful.

Do you hang Christmas Lights? Have you ever entered the Christmas Lights competition yourselves?

Laurel: I’ve always done a certain amount of Christmas decorations, more so on the inside of the house. As far as outside, it’s usually pretty simple. At our place, we’ve got a huge wall out the front of our place which makes it really difficult to decorate. Plus there is a massive Norfolk Pine in the backyard and I would absolutely love to decorate it but it is almost impossible as it’s so huge. My aim is to one day see a star up there on the top.

Mark: We’ve always been more of a viewing family, rather than participants, but we’ve just moved into a street in Hawthorne and everyone in the street does it, to the point that they’ve come ’round and offered to do our house for us. Our is the shabbiest Christmas-decorated house in the street and we are feeling a lot of pressure to step up our Christmas game.

Gary: My daughter is one of the judges on the Christmas Lights and she loves it and has done it for about two years now. She really enjoys checking it all out. But honestly, we’re more of an internal lighting family.

Laurel: But now with the technology, it is so much easier. So really there’s no excuse for us. And it is so good that the 4KQ Christmas Lights are now being synchronised to music! It’s like a whole new world of Christmas Lights. It’s amazing.

Do you have a favourite Christmas dish?

Laurel: I’ve got three that I always prepare traditionally. We always have turkey. And every year, I make my grandma’s fruit cake and plum pudding from the family recipe.

Gary: I have a weakness for fruit mince pies. I am constantly on a 24/7 diet but if someone puts fruit mince pies in front of me, I just make a piggy of myself.

Mark: Mine is definitely the ham and in my house, I am master of the ham. No one else is allowed to touch it except for me. And Christmas doesn’t really start for me until you open that ham and start eating it. And to be honest, we actually start eating it before Christmas now. So why wouldn’t I love the ham?

To see the full list of 4KQ Christmas Lights winners, finalists and honourable mentions, click here!

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