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lightsofillinois

Am I Just Abnormal- Losing Intrest

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I have been doing animated displays since 2008 and I am now just starting to loose interest in doing holiday lights completely. I just feel that it’s becoming too commercialized and too many people are doing synchronized displays that it’s no longer something that’s one of a kind. Almost like when inflatables came into production it was such a cool thing to have that everyone would envy the owner, now you see them all over the place. I’m not getting jealous of the larger displays and losing hope because of that, it’s just that I don’t think it’s worth the time to put everything up to put up with: nightly police visits, angry neighbors, a 14 year old who lives in the next town over trying to put down my show with threatening notes in my donation box, and the vandals. I was recently given the opportunity to be featured in the latest 2012 Best Buy holiday gift ads which I respectfully declined, and today I get an email asking me to be part of a show starting in 2013 about holiday light displays which I have respectfully declined. What do you think the problem is?

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Honestly I wish I had those problems... :). No donation box here though. If I have 3 cars at once I get excited. LOL

I have the same feelings though. This only my second year and it took a lot for me to get my butt moving to set up. Just don't want to deal with the problems that come with it. For example the show has been down more than running so far because of rain. Saving my electric bill though.

Being a main road I never talk to people who stop as I'm not out there especially being cold like it is. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in my county who is doing an animated display. Around the corner is a huge static display though. Every year. This year he is allowing people to walk through it. I heard many complaints about it from neighbors during voting time last month. That's because of people blocking driveways and the road.

You are not alone.

Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk 2

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In your post you seem to worry a lot about what "others" are doing. More lights, inflatables, some kid in another town.

Why did you do this in the first place?

In our case it was never about what anyone else did. It was all about the 1000's of smiles we see each year from kids and old alike.

As you, we have declined being on shows. After talking to them they are always heading for the "crazy Christmas guy" type thing and that has never been what we are about. Our display is not about us, it is about the decorations and the joy that 1000's get from them each year. That is what keeps our interest each and every year.

You have to do what makes YOU happy. If worrying about what everyone else is doing spoils the fun for you than don't worry about them. If you just don't get any excitement from the 1000's that you bring joy to each year then you need to hang it up.

Look for the real reasons you are not excited anymore and either do something about them or bring it to an end. Life is to short to not be happy with what you do.

Good luck with your decision. I know it is a hard one to make.

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No, your not abnormal.

I am in the same ship as you. Christmas has gone commerical big time I used to love Christmas time & decorating up 2007 when I was doing static/Mr. Christmas. Since going musical I gained some folks & lost other folks. I miss the camera flashes most & that no longer happens. (Maybe) once a year someone has taken a video since 2008 of the display.

I started doing decorating back in the 70's & then in 1997 I got the chance to see what I can do with a house we rented & not just an apartment. On a number of occassions each year folks would say "there is a glow around the house, like an halo". Peoples hearts were touched, people hearts were relaxed......(they said the display really helped & it gave them Christmas Spirit).

True I do the decorating for my family & I, but in all honesty after hearing what I heard I thought "wow the display is helping bring back the Spirit of Christmas, it is bringing back the joy in ones heart, it is basicly removing stress. All my display items I selected were aimed at helping others to relax & to chill- out so to speak. I did not want them to walk/ drive away with just a temperary "buzz", but with relief, with joy, with happyness. Judging by the response I had in 2007 I would say folks left totaly satified.

In 2008 after going musical people got a buzz but the heart was not changed.......& the buzz continues, but I noticed people are not looking at the display like they did 2007 & back , no sir, these days people view it as just another "commericalized display", & leave with a smile yes, but that is about it.

I basicly sold some controllers & scaled back this year, & I may very will use the controllers next year, but I may make it so that it looks good static & if neccessary use the musical part once a week.

I do not even have the desire to sequence like I did for the 1st 3 years. Listening to Christmas music (600 times the same song) almost all year takes away from the Christmas Spirit (for me pesonaily). I am going to get back to where I once was & get that real joy into my life & others who view the display.

So no you are not alone.

Again that is just how I feel & may not reflect how other feel or believe.

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I think it is the negativity (police, neighbors, punk kids) that has you down.

I have one grinch neighbor and she alone put a real bad taste in my mouth.

On the first night seeing the kids smiling, and people happy corrected my attitude.

My only advice to you is think of the positive you are creating for the people and let the haters hate.

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I don't know but if some girl with black hair comes along and tells you that you need to direct a play, DO NOT let her hold a football while you kick it ;)

Seriously, sounds like burn out. Put everything away for a year or two. I wouldn't sell anything though. Just give yourself a break.

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I agree with Karen, Burnout. I would hang on to your stuff and take a year off and then see how you feel. I have decorated for the last 21 years, the last 8 animated. It is a huge undertaking for me. One that starts in early Sept. and with fingers crossed lights up on Dec. 1st. This year however, for a number of reasons I decided to take the year off. It was a very hard decision, a decision that I could have never even considered in years past. One of the underlying reasons was the growing perception that I have had in recent years that the display is being taken for granted, that viewing is a right and not a privilege for onlookers, a tradition for thousands of families without any thought of how it came to be or whether it might not return next year. After all, It's here every year, growing bigger and better each visit, why wouldn't it always be here?

Well here it is Dec.7 and the word is out, and I have to say, I am overwhelmed by the out pouring of concerns about my health, offers to help in the future, and thank yous from strangers. My websites guestbook filled with entries,many voicing their regret that they hadn't thanked me before now. So, standing in a garage which this time of year is always emptied of lights, I find myself unboxing, checking and reboxing 350,000 lights with a renewed anticipation for the 2013 display and a realization that time passes, things change and people change, but my love of this hobby this obsession, though tested at times, will always be apart of who I am.

My advise, take a year off, I did.....

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We are hoping to get it all set up this weekend, one more setback and we might take the year off. I am ready to get my house in order and I have all of this Christmas stuff everywhere. If the cast of hoarders showed up I would have a hard time convincing them I should not be featured.

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I was very excited about putting up all my decorations this year. I even hired extra help as I am getting up in years and it's very physical to put up this display. Even with my hired help and the help of two neighbors I spent three weekends and another five days getting the display ready. Not to mention the numerous hours, days and weekends preparing. Granted this is a small display compared to the ones many of you put on with your thousands and thousands of lights. After everything was up I was totally exhausted and I kept asking myself why do I do this, and when am I going to stop this, it is getting to be too much. Then came all the visitors, kids and wonderful compliments. People told me they come by every year to see what is new. Even the mail lady and the UPS driver stopped to tell me they bring their kids and grand kids by numerous times during the holiday. Even the trash pick up guys told they love my display. Now I have 15 orders for items to make for others (which i have been doing custom orders for over 5 years) and some great suggestions of cut outs to add for next year. After a few weeks of rest and just enjoying the display I feel reinvigorated and full of excitement for next year. I realize our small community really enjoys the display and I love to hear the reactions of the children. I decided next year I will start a little earlier and hire some help again. Hopefully I can continue to do the display for many more years. My neighbors and friends both young and young at heart really do appreciate all the hard work. My enjoyment comes from their smiles!

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there are many reasons to put up a huge christmas display.. it means many things to many people, none of them wrong... some people enjoy the deisgning,the buildout, the excitement of it.. some enjoy the finished product, others are out there trying to out-do the house next door or across town, some want to see chidren smile and dance on the sidewalk to the lights.. others want to bring back the christmas of old and outfit their homes as such... some put up outdoor decorations so that Jesus as he watches down sees that you are thinking of him and celebrating his birth... yet others do it to carry on a family tradtion.. and thats just the start of the reasons... but one thing in COMMON with ALL reasons is it is designed to make you, and / or others happy.. to share...

I have put up christmas lights since I was 7 years old and had 1 lonely string of Glow-brights on a front bush... the neighbor man across the street that had the house of envy of all came across the street, complimented me on my Lights and handed me another set so I could do the bush on the other side of the picture window too... that started it for me..

it sounds like one of the things that brings you enjoyment is having a "cool" display.. something different... Yes animation is main stream now.. you can buy a light show in a box from lowes now..

So.. do something different, unique and new.. everyone is going RGB now, maybe you go TOTALLY old school for a year or two.. or a display that can morph from completely 1950s to 2005 to 2013 and beyond.. one minute it looks like "a christmas story" the next minute. its the girswolds.. then its LOR-MANIA.. then its RGB pixels.. then its a Megatron on your roof... - something others arent doing.. a completely alterable display based on your music, your feelings etc..

Burn-out is entirely possible. I went through it myself.. yes I went through a few years of depression.. HOWEVER I did learn that even though after 2009 my Largest display ever I felt completely fried.. guess what, 2010.. it was a relief to feel free at christmas-time.. well at least for october, and november.. come december as cars came by slowing down looking for the lights.. and when others asked "wheres the lights?" I kind of missed it a bit.. come 2011 I was pretty depressed in general.. however I was really starting to miss the long hours, the overnights at my local 24 hour coffee shop sequencing.. the hammering, nailing, sawing, soldering, splicing, and wiring come october....

enter 2012, I knew somehow someway I was going to do something... I bought a CCP off a forum member and stuffed it in the basement.. come late september I started to pull out of my general depression.. why?? one big reason was I started to feel that sparkle-eye, goose bumpy feeling once again as I realized even though october 1 is late, I was going to have a Christmas display... all new, all different, like none other.. no not as big , not as many wires.. and such.. but yes a display!... and guess what it feels good to be back!

if I were you, I would think about a 2 year cycle... Every 2 years you run a BIG well thought out display.. asnd the in between years you run something different.. static lights? inflatables, blow molds.. static displays dont take near the sequencing, wiring, and set up time.. one year static, one year animated.. it keeps your guests interested, you have 2 years to dream up, program, and build something that IS unique and different and have FUN at it..

-Christopher

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I love doing it and then being out and wishing the folks who come by a Merry Christmas and the Childrens faces and the Joy of Christmas, yes it's work, we changed a lot this year but so worth it to get a Merry Christmas from a child out the window to You.

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I just had a though about this on the way to school the other day. I will graduate soon and plan on getting a much higher paying job. Eventually I'll move out of my upstairs apartment and rent it out to a second tenant. I'm sure I'll be looking for a new home. But it got me to thinking that wow! There might not be a Leechburg Lights display after I graduate, or sometime in the next 2 years. I feel lots of mixed emotions about that. One of them is definitely a bit of relief. But I also thought about the new challenges of owning a new home with a blank slate. Not to mention that I face a pending go/no-go deployment (keeps getting pushed back or canceled). Taking a year off like Bill has done can do wonders, and gets you excited for trying something new.

I've been kicking around how to change up the display for 2013, to arrange it differently because the format has gotten boring to me. Surprisingly I had a wonderful revelation today while taking videos of the show. So now, once again, I'm renewed with excitement.

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I too wonder why I spend (too much) money time and energy every year.

Then I see a small child bouncing in the seat to the music with a big smile on her face or the group of teen agers dancing on the sidewalk and remember!

Take a year off!

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I just wanted to say that you do not need to go musical to bring joy/smile into ones life. A well setup static display will do the same thing. I drive past a number of streets totally "dark" so to speak & it looks "dead" wth no Christmas lights, but if I drive past a road & see a number of houses with Christmas lights I turn around & drive down it. (The lights attracted me).

So next year maybe run a nice static display for that year & take time off from sequence.

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You just have not had the right person come up to you and remind you why we do what we do. Yes it's hard work and more and more are doing it. But there are way more not doing it, because they cant

or cant afford to, so they get pleasure from ours. So for every sour grinch, remember the hundreds of happy faces you create. But also by all means if it is making you miserable or unhappy, take a year off.

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Why blame any negativity on the police?Cops don't make laws,they only enforce them.And,trust me on this,if it weren't for certain blankety-blank neighbors.you would never be contacted by the police.

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I agree with many responses above.

- Who cares what other people are doing. Do what makes you happy, and hopefully (and likely) that will make others happy too.

- I've been doing this a long time. 10 years computer-animated this season. About 3 more of what I'd consider a 'large' display, and about 5 before that where others still considered us the 'big Christmas display in the neighborhood". I've never, ever cared about what other displays are doing. I might borrow (steal?) ideas from them. I might decide I don't like it, and will do something different. But I've never, ever cared about being the biggest or the most popular.

- Somone above mentioned that nobody takes pictures of animated displays. I would argue that's because many people program their animated displays with hardly anything going on at any given time. We have dozens of people taking pics of our display each season.

- I'm not sure what "it's too commercial" means in this context. Too many lights? Too many blinking lights? RGB lights? Pop songs being programmed? Whatever it is to you, then make sure that your display isn't like that.

This hobby is expensive, tiring at times, and a time-sink. If you don't love it, than it's ok to leave it. Most of us start getting crazy ideas about what we're going to do next year, because seeing everyting working and people jazzed up coming to see the display makes them happy.

I'm curious why the police are there every night?

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Don't let the bastards get you down- John Wayne . If and when my display gets vandalized like some in my area , I will put more motion sensor lights and other measures, including a spot lighted sign that lets all know We wish all Merry Christmas and there is nothing you can do to stop Christmas Spirit in the Hearts of everyone !!!!!

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- Somone above mentioned that nobody takes pictures of animated displays. I would argue that's because many people program their animated displays with hardly anything going on at any given time. We have dozens of people taking pics of our display each season.

The reason people don't take pictures is we take the opportunity away. Just because we can flash the lights all the time doesn't mean we should. We do a one minute sequence where we do the voice over below. We then turn on the lights all white, all green and then all red about 20 seconds each. We leave some background music play during the sequence.

"Photo op time. Have your camera ready. It's hard to appreciate the true beauty of the lights when the flash. We're going to take a minute to turn the lights on and leave them on." ....... "Time to move on with the show."

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That's a great idea!  Never thought about doing a short sequence somewhere in the show with everything on and maybe some long transitions.  I may even put it in the beginning, middle and end.  Thanks for this one!

 

Steve

Edited by s8830906

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Glad I could help.  I just wish I had more LED's so I could leave a bunch of lights on after the show in static mode.

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It is easy to become burned out at this if you let it get to you.  You have to enjoy doing it or else it is nothing more than work in another form.  I too started my display in 2008.

 

I almost did not do my display this year due to my health being poor (arthritis, tendonitis, bad back, and bad knees) as well as the economy has work being almost non-existent around here for the last couple of years and everybody is struggling to make ends meet, including me!  I was at real odds with myself as I know that many of the people around here love to come and see the display as I live in a very remote town of approx. 1000 that is an hour and a half away from the nearest large size town/city.

 

I had a little girl ask me when I was going to turn on my lights and she got upset when I told her that I might not do it this year.  Made me realize that I do this for me but that it also does mean something to others around.

So 3 days before Thanksgiving I started to set up everything.  I finally got all the display out around the 6th of December even though I had been running the show since the 1st.

 

I am glad that I have done it though as so many people have stopped me to tell me how much they enjoy it as well as the paper did an article about it as well.  And it has reguvenated my spirit (although my back and knees may argue with that) and is worth it.

 

But if you need some "down time" then by all means take a year off and think it over.  This is not a hobby for everyone even though many get into it and go all out in the beginnig till they realize that it is a lot of work and takes more than just a few hours or days to do.  If you work on it a little bit during the year though it does make it easier to enjoy it once you get the display up and running instead of having to tweak things all the while that you have your display up.

You need to enjoy this as much as others do too.

 

Good luck with whatever decision you make and hope you and your family have a great and merry holiday season.

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   I am new to this forum, but I have been decorating for Christmas long enough that I have lost count of the years. For me it is something I enjoy, every season its something different and everything is hhand-made. There have seasons that fall into everthing everyone has posted. After many seasons of a large static display, one year the only thing that had lights on it was a writh hung on each lamp post on either side at the end of the driveway. With the help of friends a large animated display was next. After that I went back to a small static display.

 

   Why do I do it that way? I think it is whatever mood my creative alter ego is in. I love making things, it just so happens that a lot of them end up as part of my Christmas collection. I agree with everyone--- do what makes you happy. Hopefully, it will make someone else smile--- and that is all the joy you need!!

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