The Rānui housekeeper that lights up Christmas

Edith Molyneux is more than a housekeeper at Rānui House. She is Rānui’s very own Christmas angel.

For more than 14 years, Edith has been looking after the 26-apartments at Rānui House, ensuring the facilities are spick, span and safe for those who call Rānui home.

“Residents tell me that I’m older than the furniture,” Edith jokes. “I say, no, that can’t be right!”

Edith’s journey at Rānui started with a two-week job to help out a friend. Fourteen years later, she’s never looked back. Over the years she’s seen thousands of families pass through the apartments – some happy, some lost, but all full of hope. With her friendly, positive outlook and a wicked grin, Edith has enormous empathy for those she serves.

“Some days can be harder than others. Some days people just want to talk, and there have been days I get on the bus to go home and just cry to let it out. These people I meet can be in such difficult situations but yet they still manage to find joy. They’re trying to do what they can, and they’re in good hands.”

For patients and families, Edith has become a pillar of stability in an uncertain time, a new member of an extended family. She is more than  a housekeeper – she is a familiar face, an ear that listens, a friend who cares. Edith starts every day at 6.30am. Hard working and dedicated, she begins her morning by sanitising Rānui House and setting up the Housekeeping trollies. Every December, she decorates Rānui House’s halls for Christmas and each year she adorns her own house with strings of festive lights – so much so that she is infamous on the Christmas bling circuit.

“Christmas is my favourite month, it’s very memorable to me,” she smiles. “On December 24th, my house is open to everybody to enjoy.”

It takes Edith about a month to set up her Christmas display.

“After work, I go to Kmart and buy something then put it straight in the garage to hide it from my husband,” she laughs. “He’s always surprised by what I’m buying this time of year”.

Then on 30 November each year, Edith turns her lights on. While families can drive by for most of December, on the night before Christmas kids and adults can take a wander around Edith’s display.

The inspiration for her Christmas bling began when her own daughter, then aged three, tried to climb the fence to see the neighbor’s Christmas lights. She promised her daughter next Christmas they would hang their own lights, just like their neighbors do. What began as a lit-up window has gradually reached outside, onto the roof, and down the front lawn.

Her daughter, now twenty-one, returns home to see Edith’s lights every December.

“It’s a happy, happy time,” she says.

This year, Edith plans to spend Christmas with friends and family.

“In the Philippines, Christmas is very big to us, so I’ll celebrate it on Christmas Eve,” she says. “I’ve got lots of friends coming to eat, have a chat…and on my husband’s side we do Christmas Day with them.”

And then, she laughs, it’s back to work again…to the job she loves.