Deck the truck out for holidays
CHRISTMAS is always a special time of year, but for three-year-old Macklyn Manzelmann, it's extra special because Dad's truck gets decked out in more Christmas decorations than you could ever imagine.
"She loves it,” Brisbane driver Leon Manzelmann said of when December comes around and he decorates his truck for the festive season.
"There's the high-pitched squeals and screams of excitement, that ear- deafening girlie scream (when she sees the truck).”
Leon said his daughter was now at the age where she understood who Santa was and what "Dad's truck” was.
Decorating the truck for Christmas started in a street in Mackay, where he used to live, about five years ago.
"The street goes all out with Christmas decorations and lights and wins competitions,” he told Big Rigs.
"I have a mate who lived in the street who helped them out and he hit me up about it one day.
"The truck's got 6.8 million lights on it and he asked if I'd be interested in delivering Santa Claus.
"I thought, for the kids, why not?
"We did it one Christmas Eve and it's grown from there and actually turned into a thing.
"The street is just packed out, there's hundreds of kids there and they donate money to the local rescue chopper.
"The kids are just going ballistic, in awe.”
Leon said he saw it as a good thing for the community.
"It's grown into something that I thoroughly enjoy,” he said.
"My three-year-old girl loves it and the other kids love it too. That's what I love seeing, that's what makes me happy. I'm a pretty easy guy, if they kids are happy then I'm happy.”
While he said photos of the decorated truck didn't do it justice, it was a sight to behold.
With Mr and Mrs Claus seated on the decked-out trailer, along with the elves, Leon's also got a snow machine mounted there too.
"I've got LED lights, a laser machine now on the top of the tailgate, as well as some Christmas trees and reindeer that wish you Merry Christmas,” he said.
"I couldn't tell you how many lights we have on it. I've never really thought about it, I just look at the spaces we could have them that doesn't look too tacky.”
He's got dreams and plans for the future too.
"I want to get a shipping container that we can lift on and off that will fold out like a big stage and kids can just walk up and see Santa, but that's a dream that might happen one day.”
Unfortunately, work dried up for Leon at home in Mackay so he relocated to Brisbane just before the end of 2016.
That also meant he didn't have anywhere to showcase his decked out Christmas- themed truck.
"But don't you worry, I'll find somewhere for it,” he said.
"I put some tinsel on it last year for the kids when I was just driving around but I'll find somewhere that will appreciate what we can offer.
"I don't do it to get paid, I do it because I like seeing the kids happy and it's free for everyone.
"Unfortunately, there are some kids who aren't as lucky as others but they still get to see this.
"Hopefully it can put a smile on their face and make their night.
"That's the big picture for me.”