FAQ

Candy canes in a rowWhen can I see the show in action?

Just check the schedule.

 

Why do you do this?

Lots of reasons, actually. I like the technical side of it — figuring out lighting plans, being creative with decorations, music synchronization — because I’m a geek at heart. But mostly I do it for the expressions on the faces of neighbors and friends who stop by — especially the little kids.

 

Is your light bill insane?

During the show month (mostly December), it’s not that much higher than normal. Limiting the amount of time the lights are turned on and using energy-efficient light strands yields a low increase in our light bill. Generally, our December power bill is roughly $30 higher than normal.

 

How do you make the lights synchronize with music?

Computers do all the work. I use software and controllers from Lightorama and radio broadcasting transmitters from EDM Electronics.

 

I like your decorations. Where can I get some?

The candy cane fence is custom-made by yours truly. Each candy cane has 400 lights on it — 200 white, 100 red, 100 green.

The giant light tree is based on a kit from ChristmasLightShow.

Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Reindeer sit on a custom platform cut for our roof.

The light-up gifts under the giant light tree are a Costco purchase from years ago.

The ornaments that adorn the front of the house were scooped up in recent years from Target.

The C9 lights (the large glowing ones on the house) are affixed to frames and supports custom-made, again by yours truly.

 

This must have cost you a fortune.

Let’s not go there, mmm-kay? Actually, it is most certainly not a nominal cost. I use quality-grade materials, but I also use basic things when appropriate. The dollars are significant, but I’ve spent far more time on the display than capital.

 

You are extremely brave, getting up there and putting those lights up on the house.

Here’s something ironic…I hate heights. Big time phobia. While I can participate in it somewhat, none of this happens without some very gracious, non-height-fearing friends that do that work for me.

 

I really like the music. How do I get a copy?

Download them.

 

How many lights do you have plugged in?

At present, we have over 30,000 lights in use. ¬†There are over 19,000 on the big “light tree”, and over 8,000 in the candy cane fence.

 

Just plug it in and go?

No. There’s a good bit of… no scratch that…there’s a LOT of planning that goes into a display of this size. There’s a lot of electricity involved, so having quality and properly-sized electrical circuits to support our display is very important. We use 8 dedicated 20-amp circuits to power our display. Unless you’re familiar with wattage, voltage and amperage calculations, please don’t go home and plug in this many lights to your house without consulting a qualified electrician.

 

How do you plug all these things in?

With extension cords, of course. These are no ordinary, store-bought extension cords though. They’re custom-made (by me), cut to lengths as needed for the display. It becomes necessary when you use about 150 extension cords, totaling roughly 1/2 mile in length. It helps me keep things rather neat and tidy, both when the lights are up and when they go into storage.