CHAPEL-EN-LE-FRITH, England — The Hanging Gate Pub has a jaw-dropping electricity bill at this time of year: $1700 a week just to keep the lights on.
Of course, these aren’t your typical lights. More than 35,000 Christmas lights dangle from the ceiling and twinkle on the walls.
Every square inch of this pub is covered with something festive: walls and ceilings swaddled in batting to look like snow, felt snowflakes, candy canes, sparkling ribbons, stuffed polar bears and penguins, and more snowmen than you can count. The hallway to the bathroom has been turned into a magical forest, holly and spruce stapled to the walls and ceiling, with flashing lights guiding you in.
The numbers are staggering. Around 6,000 glass ornaments are hand-tied with five miles of string, and 40,000 staples to keep it all up. Pub owner Mark Thomas and his wife Samantha have been decorating the Hanging Gate at Christmas for more than a decade. They add to their collection every year Mark Thomas estimates they’ve collected about $40,000 worth of decorations.
It’s so festive, some families even book their tables a full year in advance. “Same date, same time, same table,” he said.
While local families love it, it can be a challenge to work at the Hanging Gate. Waitress Lisa Pearson, who helps hang the decorations every year, is just over five feet tall. For her taller co-workers, it’s a daily challenge simply serving food. “They’re just banging their heads on everything, getting tangled up in wire,” Pearson laughs.
In the end, it’s worth it, Pearson says. “When families come in and we surprise them with this, it’s just a great start to Christmas.”