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  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.
Eric Adem

Keeping Organized?

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Hey, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to keep organized with this crazy hobby of ours? One thing that I do is keep a spreadsheet of all my lights, along with their unit and channel numbers, total channel count, number of white/green/red strands, the status of the effect (design, build, light, mount, etc.). This helped me to have a total number of lights I needed to order this year. I also keep this spreadsheet on Google Drive so I can have access to it when I'm out and standing in line, pumping gas, whatever. Those extra few minutes here and there are helpful... Anyway, let's share some tips on how to stay organized and if you maintain a spreadsheet, what info you keep in it. Eric Adem

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I keep an excel spreadsheet. Columns in the spreadsheet include Controller #, Channel #, Description (ie mega tree, mini tree, roof), # of lights, color, calculated amperage, actual amperage from amp meter, installed yes/no.

I also keep a list of projects and the % complete I am with each and how much it approximately cost me.

I keep the spreadsheet on a jump drive in my briefcase so that it's always with me.

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A digital camera is also a must.  Take pix of your setup for next year.  It will also help when you have a complex area that you spent hours on figuring out just how to do it.  I use the photos for setup help all the time.  Ditto on the spreadsheet too.

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When I was new to this, 8-10 years or so ago.  I did EXACTLY what you did.  Spreadsheets of lights, extension cords, down to length, 3-ways, etc.   I could tell you to the BULB, how many lights I had.  And to the foot how many cords I owned.

 

Then my display got big.  Bigger than I'd expected.  Like a crack addict, it got outta control.  No not a "family oriented" analogy I know, but it fits.  Our hobby IS an addiction.  Forget what the neighbor has, we feel the NEED to be better than we were last year. 

 

My channel map is a crude pencil drawing of my house and another of my yard.  It shows me about where to put that tree, reindeer, etc.  The boss (AKA Wife) has the final say.  It's usually not off by much, few feet at most.  Then I just plug it into whatever channel is indicated.

 

I stopped the spread sheets 3-4 years ago.  I can tell you at that time, I owned over a mile of extension cords and over 40k lights.  Specific numbers?  I really no longer care.  I'd rather be putting them up, or enjoying them with the family, than counting them.

 

I just want to improve over last year.

 

My advise, don't focus on what you already own.  Focus on what you SHOW!  Yes the data on cord/light count is nice.  But does it really matter?

 

I know your next question.   How do I plan for next year?

 

Simple.  I look at what didn't go out this year. 

 

I only use a few lengths of cords.   50', 22' 3-way, 18', and 8' 3way.  One or two odd lengths mixed in but that's the basic build up of my cord inventory.

 

Last year I noted I was low on 22, 18's, and 8's.  Guess what I bought more of this season? 

 

I know my display, you know yours.  USE that knowledge, what do I need for next year?  Would that look better over there?  Do I need a 50' cord instead of a 40?

 

Questions you need to ask yourself.

 

I find by using a 50' er's as my default, that I can plan out my needs quite well.  Keep in mind that I decorate an area 120' X 130' plus the house.  That's a lot of ground to cover.  I bought extra AL controllers JUST to save on ext. cords.

 

Your area is certainly different.  But no different than anyone here. 

 

Next year?

 

All said and done, your display is now up and running.  What do you do?  The SAME thing we all do!  Critique!  That looks good, that sucks, that needs more lights, this needs less lights.  We're our OWN judge!  So, make mental notes, more lights on that bush, throw that display in the trash, buy this, etc, etc.  Granted we're limited by money or time, most times both!

 

Your call keep the spreadsheet or not.  But do assess what value it has to you. If you keep it, be prepared to update it every time you make a purchase, or discard an item.  THAT was my reason for stopping mine.

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it's all about what works for you. if you shop after Christmas sales, I recommend notes there so next year's planning and building good according to plan. in our house, budget runs all, so if I don't have the lights to increase the show. I'm sol. either way, what works for you, May not work for the next guy. but I agree on notes and pictures for setup. if you kind of duplicate your last year show, then you get done that much faster.

We have the twins as new additions to the show this year so it was pretty much copy of last year, but I had mental and real notes to make setup actually smooth... except for adding a San device to my arches which I spent the data straight fixing my first mistake.

= Chris

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I am kind of with Scott on this one.  I don't have a huge display, but it does take up a TON of time.  And keeping spreadsheets, files, notes, etc on paper just seems like more time to dedicate that I don't have.  Like I said, it's a small display and with certain dedicated uses for controllers (mini-trees, mega-tree, etc) it's easy for me to make mental notes and picture in my mind how it is going to look, then just figure out what songs I want and get to sequencing.  It's funny how you say we are our own worst critic - there were a couple things I was unhappy with last year, and some changes along with some new additions I think will make for a better display.  I don't think I'll ever go super huge with my display (I am at 32 channels right now) - I may take it up to 64 at some point in the near future, but unless I move, that will probably be all.  Some good tips here, I am startind set-up this weekend (I hope).  Can't wait!

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Exactly my point.  What works for me, Python, donbaldi, or Chris, may not work for you.  And that is perfectly fine!  What I do works for me.  THIS is what works for Python, Don and Chris.  Guaranteed it WON'T be what works for YOU! 

 

But that's the beauty of this site.  Take an idea from this guy another from that guy, put them together and you have something that works for YOU!

 

We can guide you.  Tell you the mistakes we've made, and you will STILL make your own.   Because we did too!  Bottom line is, what gets YOUR lights up the fastest.  Like many here, I have a deadline. I MUST be lit by Dec 1st.  No if's and's or but's.

 

Whatever YOUR deadline is.  The question is, "how do I get there?".  No easy answer.  What works for some of us may/may not work for you.  Most of what we do is trial and error.

 

Is keeping a spreadsheet of your inventory the best use of your time?  Granted it is "nice to know" information.  But is it worth the time?  Sounds like I'm trying to turn you off of it. 

 

No. 

 

I'm only asking that you look at what is important to YOUR display.  Period!

 

Sorry Python for stealing your thoughts, guess great minds think alike!

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