until Christmas!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How long does it take you to put up the display?

A: Approximately 40-50 man hours spread over the course of 5-7 day period.  My wife and two kids get into the act of hanging lights on the trees, moving the ladder to put up the roof lights and of course... getting all the decorations out of the attic and then storing them again when January comes.

Q: How much does your electric bill go up in December?

A: All in all, that varies, but because the lights are on a computer timer and we have set hours, it probably only adds about $100 to our bill.

Q: How may extension cords are involved?

A: Well, we use enough cord to reach from the ground, to the top of the Empire State Building with cord left over.  More than 40 - 40 foot heavy duty cords alone are used, and that's not even counting light duty cords.

Q: How may lights are involved?

A: That's a tough question to answer... let me get back to you.  I need to count.  One, Two, Three, Four, Five.........

Q: Where do you store it all?

A: Believe it or not, most of the displays fold up to a manageable size so they fit nicely in our attic.  The larger displays that cant make it up there live on the walls of our garage when not in use. 

Q: How do you broadcast the music?

A: We broadcast a low power FM Radio Station for people to tune into so they don't have to roll down their windows to hear sound.  It also keeps our neighbors happy.  Such unlicensed low power stations are now permitted under FCC regulations.  On the weekends we play our FM station thru external speakers (though not too loud) so if you are walking by, you can hear the music.

Q: How do you control the lights?

A: There are three types of controllers used.  Most of the lights are on 2 16 Channel Light-O-Rama Showtime Contollers.  We also use X-10 Home Automation which is a computer controlled system.  This ensures that the other lights come on at dusk and turn off promptly when the shows are done.   The X-10 software (HomeSeer) figures out our longitude and latitude and adjusts the sunset time accordingly.  The other controller used is a Digital Decorating Instant Light Show.  This comes with 19 different "shows" built in and each 60-second show cycle is followed by 30 seconds of steady-on lights.  Currently, this show controls our tree of mini trees located in our back yard. 

Q: Why do you do this?

A: I think you can thank my Father for that.  He taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.  Seriously, my dad always did a great display of solid color C-9 bulb trees, along with window candles and some of the old fashioned plastic Santa Claus' and candles.  We also had this great hand made star we used to put on our chimney - I think my brother has that and may need to fight him for it!  We had to rewire it a few times during it's life and repaint it metallic silver, but it was a touch that our display wouldn't be complete without.  I think the attention to detail and the comments from our neighbors made me want to do something special when I "grew up" and had my own house.

I also have to be honest... there is something very cool about watching cars queue up in front of your house to see the display, along with watching the faces of the children of the neighborhood as they take it all in.  I like to call our display "tastefully tacky" and think of it as the "North Pole" thru a child's eyes.

Q: How much did all this cost you?

A: This is a gift to our community... and I never tell anyone how much I paid for their Christmas Present.


Q: What's in store for next year?

A: You'll have to wait and see... I can tell you this... it will be cool!

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As Seen/Heard:

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