By Jess Grieveson-Smith
A Christmas mad gran – who has spent £30k turning home into grotto – celebrates 10th year opening home to kids, despite husband being real life Scrooge.
Betty-Ann Jones, 76, has decorated her home with more than 2,000 different decorations – leaving husband Keith with only the toilet free from the festivities.
Festive Betty, from Pontardawe, Wales, loves Christmas so much that she’s spent more than £30k decorating her home over the years, and for the past DECADE, has opened it up for the local community too.
From a 7ft sleigh to 73 snowmen in her living room, every inch of Betty’s home is full of festive decorations.
Whilst Betty is dubbed ‘Mrs Christmas’ by the locals, husband Keith, 76, is nowhere near as festive, and Betty even claims he’s a real life Scrooge who thinks her obsession is ‘bonkers.’
But after spending the last 50 years dedicating her time to Christmas, Betty previously claimed she was finally hanging up her stockings after claiming she’s getting too old to put all her decorations up.
Yet, once the season came around again, Betty truly couldn’t resist and is now celebrating her 10th year of running her grotto.
Betty, a grandmother of three, said: “Keith is sick to death of the house being a Christmas grotto.
“I have spent over £30,000 on my collection which sounds crazy but it is over a long period of time and I do have over two thousand decorations now.
“I love the festive period which is why I start it all in August
“All photos on the wall have been replaced by stockings, one for each member of the family, and like it or not, even Keith has one up there.
“My husband hides upstairs. He once said that it was all a load of rubbish. Even my son thinks I’ve lost the plot.
“This year, he’s been spending more time hiding in the downstairs loo than anywhere else – as that’s the one Christmas-free space this year!
“But I have decided that this is the last time we’re turning the house into a grotto.
“I was up the ladder 100 times or more one day which is too much when I’m this old.”
Betty currently has around 14,000 lights indoors, with a reindeer amongst other decorations adorning the front of her house.
In a personal landmark, the couple have now raised over £100k for charity as they charge people for looking around their home.
Betty said: “I started back in 1989, and my collection has grown from then.
Christmas decorations from Florida, from Las Vegas, and all the different Christmas Markets in Germany.
“I once bought a 6ft Santa from there, and brought it all the way home with me.
“My friends think I’m mad but there you go.”
Over the years, Betty-Ann has opened her home to hundreds of local children. Asking for a charitable donation, she’s been known to let families experience the thrill of her home, and has even let Father Christmas take up residence in her sleigh in the living room.
Giving out warm punch, she’s a neighbourhood favourite, raising money for Macmillan, and for various local causes including a boy seeking treatment in America.
The pensioner said: “I do it because I love Christmas and seeing the kids’ faces as they experience our very own grotto.
“I’m going to make sure this is the best one yet as it’s my 10th anniversary of running my grotto at home.”
Keith added: “She’s bonkers – she might as well close the door and leave it there for next year.
“It is a happy house but for the winter season, the toilet is my only place of refuge!”