2015: A year without a Christmas light display

I’ve been doing animated musical Christmas displays for over 8 years.  This is my first year off in a while.  While I do think it’s important to take a break both physically and mentally from the work of putting up a display, it feels a little odd, and I miss the visitors that used to come by and visit us.

As for not decorating at all, i just couldn’t do it.  I HAD to put up some lights.  Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it, right?  Out current house in a large subdivision and many people have decorated this year.  It’s so festive, I needed to get some of my lights in storage so I could play along too.  I couldn’t do a whole lot as the front of the house and yard are pretty small.  I did break out a few controllers and decorated a little, just to keep in the spirit!  Maybe I’ll post some pictures once I’ve completed everything.

 

Christmas of 2014 is our last year before hiatus

Well, 2014 will be the last year we put up a Christmas display, at least for a year or two.  Our lives are changing and we now need to take a break from the time and work committment necessary to put on the kind of display we know everyone looks forward to every year.  A big thanks to everyone that encouraged us, to our patient and kind neighbors, and all the families that made this a Christmas tradition and made our holidays brighter in return!

We’ll run our program like normal this year and look forward to all the visitors.  Lights will be on until January 1st.  Come by and see us!

Lesson on Wind Strength

So, when I design new elements for my display, I’m very concious about the elements and what conditions my display will be subjected to in the central Indiana area.  We have a wide variety of weather during December that could be anything such as rain, snow, sub-zero temperatures, and high-winds.

Each element is given great thought about how it will stand up to these conditions, and I personally like to make sure I over-engineer things for that margin of safety.

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Well, this year I learned a good lesson.  We had incredibly high-winds for an extended period of time on January 26th, 2014 (It had been too cold to take the display down).  During the overnight hours, the wind actually pushed back this 200 lb structure around 20 feet and then turned it sideways to the wind.  The next gusts that came through, torqued the structure by twisting it and it collapsed with a loud cracking sound.   The whole thing was caught on my surveillance video.  It’s incredible the amount of force wind can put on things.  Fortunately, this was in the side yard by itself, so no one was hurt and it didn’t damage anything else in the display.

Originally, I had designed this sign with eye-hooks on the side that allowed it to be staked to the ground to anchor it in place, so that little cross-bracing was needed.  For the last two years, my thinking was that this structure was so big and heavy, that the stakes were unnecessary.   I was wrong.  The flat screen acted like a big paddle, directing the air, and “catching” during the gusts.

I’m still deciding whether I want to rebuild it, or go in a different direction for the projector screen.

 

UPDATE: I haven’t built a new one yet.  I repaired the broken legs and put it back together for our 2014 season.

Lights Down for 2013; Plans for 2014

Well, because of the constant snow and cold temperatures this winter, it took us until March 1st this year to get all of the lights down from the house and out of the yard and back in storage.  Here in central Indiana, we’ve had a near-record snowfall amount, so many things were buried and frozen to the ground until we could pry them out.

We are beginning our planning and building for 2014, which I believe will be a growing year for us.  Our 2013 musical show was very similar to our 2012 show with some minor differences and some shuffling around of some of the show elements, so it’s time to kick it up a notch.

For 2014, here are some of the ideas that are swimming around in our heads:

  • RGB Spotlights – Currently we only have red and green that all use 80-100 watts for each light.  We’ve purchased new LED lighting and are in the process of building our own lights.  Stay tuned for the “How-To” for this one.  Even I am curious how it will turn out.
  • A new character – I cant say much about this yet, as I’m still formulating what he’ll look like, and whether he’ll be a virtual character, or made up of lights.  Should be very cute though!
  • New Songs – I plan on choosing many new songs and beginning programming this summer.  As opposed to my typical way of getting the lights up and THEN start programming.
  • Lighting for our house outline – I’m looking into ways to outline our rooflines that are easy to install and maintain, and that give a clean neat appearance rather than draping and sagging.  Ideas are welcome!
  • More website upgrades and Christmas games!

Let me know if you have any other ideas or suggestions for our show!

New Web Site

Hi all.  We’ve moved once again after our latest provider started putting too many restrictions on our site and eventually just turned it off.  We should finally be in our final home and I’ll begin (once again) to start replacing all the content we had on here at one time.  Hopefully it will stay here this time.

 If you have any questions or would like to see specific content come back, let me know on our contact page.