Zlatko Salaj, a 67-year-old Croatian, has created a ‘Christmas Story’ for himself. Not a story to tell, but one to show the world. His Christmas Story is actually his home, which he decks up in lights and colors every year around the holidays.
The former telecommunications engineer owns a country estate in Grabovinca, located in central Croatia. The entire estate is decorated at this time of year. Thousands of visitors come by to view the spectacle created by Salaj and his family. When he started this practice in 2002, Salaj had a modest 70,000 light bulbs that were put up on all the shrubs and trees across his 17-acre estate. When people asked him how many he would put up the next year, his reply was a 100,000. In this way, the lights and decorations kept growing in number. This year, the number has upped to 1.2 million Christmas lights. Not just ordinary ones, he has lights shaped like Santa Claus and reindeer. The festive spirit of his decorations is contagious and attracts children and adults alike from all over the region.