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  • Christmas 2017 countdown has begun. Most people reveal their displays the day after Thanksgiving. 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.
  • 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.


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zman last won the day on September 8

zman had the most liked content!

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44 Excellent

About zman

  • Rank
    Learning all Trades - Mastering None
  • Birthday 07/06/1960

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
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Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
    The one I help to create every December
  • Location
    Woodinville, Washington, USA
  • Biography
    Jack of All Trades - Master of None
  • Interests
    Golf, Sports, Wood working, and of course Christmas!
  • Occupation
    Technical Relationship Manager
  • About my display
    Growing all the time.

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1,874 profile views
  1. Christmas Expo 2018

    They announced the location of Christmas Expo next year. Mesquite, TX (Dallas) Check it out: http://www.christmasexpo.com/
  2. Newbie Help

    Howdy and welcome to the forums! We have a very active group in the PacNW and meet once a year in May for a big gathering, we call it CLAP. That is in Olympia/Lacey. Then a smaller swap meet in July in Port Ochard. Send me a PM with your email address we can add you to my database and inform you of the meetings. I have been contemplating a "Beginning Lighting Workshop" session for our CLAP meeting, or possibly as a one off on a Saturday afternoon in the later Spring. It would cover items like making your own extension cords and a lot more. I only use SPT2 cord (now) and vampire plugs to create all my AC connections. I still use good quality 14/3 to create my power grid. I have literally miles of the stuff I use. The vampires are easy to use. However it may be easier to just buy socket cord. You can find different spacing from 6-8-12". Mclendon's is a great resource locally, or vendors online. With pre-fabbed socket cord, it still uses SPT1. You just need to know that with SPTx there is 2 (actually 3) types. Typically though SPT1 and SPT2 are what us decorators use. I standardized on SPT2 because it is compatible with the lamp cord extension cords you can find for pennies at time. Then I keep a stock of SPT2 male/female vampires to make custom cords as needed. If you decide to make your own socket cord, be sure you have something like a QuickGrip mini bar clamp. As if you remove the protective pads, you can use the squeeze grip to help you push the backing onto the socket and cord.... Just know you have a lot of resources locally....
  3. Douggg, you make a few good points. On my display website, in the How-To, I have some historic material I presented at Christmas Expo 2015 on this topic. Work together with your Charity. They want to ensure that they are being represented accordingly, i.e, proper signage, fonts, colors etc... This is on your website, voiceovers, and any signage in your display. They want to understand what you are doing, and how. They can also potentially provide additional advertising and volunteer help. The idea of a pay point is a good one. However, no matter what you decide to do, be flexible. I have thought about adding that, just have not looked into it. Some are hesitant to use technology too in that manner. What I am not sure about, is whether there is a way to keep track of what YOUR display brings in. Part of the satisfaction, is knowing exactly what your efforts have brought to your cause. In a decade worth of Seasons collecting for my Charities, I have never had one person say that collecting is tacky. Rather, the major feedback is they think it is great that I do. If done in good taste, it does not, IMHO, cheapen the experience, rather, enhance it. It is the Season of giving, and most are very gracious. In everything I do, it is stated that my donations go 100% to my charities. in 10 years, I have collected over $50K for my charities. Last year was almost $8K and I have steadily increased over the years. I have never been questioned, but also keep excellent weekly or in my busy period, daily tallies. Also one more thing. While a lot of us collect cash, some take food donations, toys, etc... A lot of it depends on what charity you get affiliated with. SOWA nor the Northshore Wranglers (my community SOWA team) are not typical Holiday charities. I get asked a lot how I chose them, I love to tell that story, and I get told a lot that the community appreciates that I blend it and why. For me, there is nothing better than when a parent lifts a child up, opens the door, and dumps a bunch of coins in. I love the sound and counting every penny.
  4. Found a pic of my 1st generation, but this give you an idea of how I secured it into the ground.
  5. Pixel Tree Class at EXPO

    I see no one jumped in, so I will. CDI carries Minleon, as well as Reinders. These would be good plug and play options. There is probably others who sell them, but I have used both these vendors and highly recommend them both. A suggestion is to really think about doing a DYI version. They are not difficult, they just require a bit of planning. You can do it more economically this way as well. I hope that helps.
  6. I see this is an older post, that has been resurrected. A few things. First, here is my 2nd generation donation box. It is a "money vault", locks and is anchored in the ground in a 5 gallon bucket of cement, that is also hitch locked to the receiver post. Not permanent, but it will make most think it is. I empty it every night just after the show ends. My 1st box was on a post like this, only a smaller box overall. It is now re-purposed to another decorator here in the PacNW. Most shun the thought of asking for funds to help cover the cost of doing a display. I don't sign up to that, but it is an individual choice. Most think it is a hobby, and why should someone support my hobby. Folks do want to hand me money to cover costs, and I gladly let them watch me put it into the box for them, after I thank them on behalf of my charities. Collecting for charity is a great way to give back at the Holidays. Those who do larger more popular displays just take precaution. Because you do collect, I don't think that makes your personal home more of a target then any other time of year. Just my dos centavos.
  7. Need blowmold cords with light(s)

    Make them yourself from SPT1 cord? I know Charles Enos (cenos) is looking to start selling these along with the back plates of various types.... PM
  8. Christmas Expo Lebenon Tn

    Our first cruise, and it starts in Venice, IT and goes down around up the Aegean Sea... Looking forward to it...
  9. Christmas Expo Lebenon Tn

    Oh I still have a bit of a contribution to Expo in a couple ways, just physically wont be there. Its about as serious as it could be....... Something about a 20yr wedding anniversary cruise....
  10. Christmas Expo Lebenon Tn

    Sadly this will be the first year since the 2009 debacle that I will miss....
  11. 2017 PacNW CLAP Meeting

    Just 2 more weeks to go. Still looking for RSVPs or unfortunately if you have to cancel. We have a few more sponsors to announce: San Devices Crockett Family of Lights
  12. 2017 PacNW CLAP Meeting

    Unfortunately CLAP is cancelled for 2017….. April Fools! Just a quick update. We are 4 weeks away from CLAP. We are still looking for RSVPs to assist with head count for lunch. If you have already RSVP’d we have you down, if not, please let us know. Here is an updated agenda and vendor list: Friday afternoon 2-5pm Set up or just hang out and talk more lights Friday April 28th - 5pm - ?? Pizza Meet and Greet for those in the area Farrell’s Pizza - 4870 Yelm Hwy SE, Lacey, WA 98503 Saturday April 29th - 7am – 8am Networking, coffee, snacks Saturday April 29th - 8am CLAP Starts. Typically we go till 5 or 6pm. Nancy Foley - 4842 Thompson Lane SE, Olympia, WA 98513 Agenda (not necessarily in this order) 1. Coro and Plastic for your Display – Don McGillivray 2. Video your Display – Mike Ziemkowski 3. 3D Printing and the Decorator – Lowell Fuher 4. Photon Stick Wireless Pixel Receiver – Steve Garrett 5. Xlights and AC Controllers – Kevin Thomas 6. Newbies, New Things, New Challenges – Open Group Discussion 7. Top 10 Pixel Hardware List – Mark Zembruski Sponsors. We have some new ones, and we have some who have supported us over the years. Please, please, support them, and never forget to thank them for their CLAP support: · Falcon Christmas · Creative Displays Inc · Demented Elf · Rainy Oregon Christmas · Boscoyo · Christmas-LEDs · Winklebottom's · McLendons · Holiday Technologies · Christmas Expo · Really Big Lights · 3G Lighting
  13. 2017 PacNW CLAP Meeting

    NW CLAPPERS: Some of you may or may not be aware that on Oct 6th 2016, we lost one of our own, Rex Gaus. Besides Jim Winder, Rex was the member who usually drove up on a motorcycle, many times with his daughter or his wife Vanesa in tow. Rex and Vanesa were in attendance last year. There is a GoFundMe set up for his family, as his wife is disabled and not able to work. They are having a Memorial for Rex on Sat April 1st from 5-9pm. That would have been his and Vanesa’s 25thwedding anniversary. The family wanted to keep it light, and it will be held at Angelo’s Restaurant in Bellevue, WA. 1830 – 130th Ave NE Wirekat and I are planning on attending. If you want to join us, a friend of Rex is taking RSVP’s - [email protected] ------------------------------------- The agenda for CLAP 2017 is still being worked out, and we should have an update in a week or so. However, one of our members is working on a group buy. This info is time sensitive and volume dependent. Jerry, (Jerry72, Bowhunter3125), has the opportunity to get the Really Big Lights for $24 bucks a box (5 bulbs) delivered. He can arrange to bring them to CLAP at the end of April, or can make other arrangements to get them to you should you not be able to attend CLAP. These are really cool to convert to RGB. I had 32 of them in my Road Tree this year and they were a huge hit with the visitors. I have more to make, and plan 48 in that tree next year (so I already have mine in hand) Jerry has put a drop dead date of April 2nd to get the order in so they will be here in time for CLAP. There is also a minimum of 36 boxes that needs to be ordered to make this happen. If you are interested or want more details, get with Jerry directly – [email protected] The agenda has yet to be finalized, however, we are still looking to get an idea for head count. If you have NOT already RSVP’d, please do so. We are working with Nancy on this, as we may move the venue this year. This has not been determined yet. Last year we grew about as big as we can go in Bill’s shop. Nancy was concerned that if we grow any more…... But fear not, if we do change venue’s it will be just as scenic, it is not far from Nancy’s (if you have already made hotel arrangements), and it still has a connection to Bill. More as we get into April. If you have not already signed up for our PacNW CLAP Facebook group go join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/242224906166484/ This is a closed group to those whom have attended a CLAP meeting. More info to come.
  14. Analysis Paralysis -- Help me get started

    Go to my How-To page on my website. i did a class at Christmas Expo called That House. Sort of a basics or Decorating 101. Christmas Expo is great for education and networking you can't go wrong there. i think you could do a Mega Tree cheaper than $1K. Part of what you need is a plan. What do you want to do? Pi is not bad, but it would only be RGB pixels. Is that the look you want? Use the forum for research, ask questions. We have a great meeting in WA state, CLAP. We get CA decorators to attend, and from around the PacNW and Canada.
  15. Don't throw them away, and it may not be the resistor. Invest in an LED Keeper: http://www.ledkeeper.com/home/ I have 15 years experience with LEDs. I find the blues fail the most for some reason, I have had mixed input as to why. Typically with LED strings, it is something in the socket that has failed. The LED Keeper will tell you which one it is. Cut it out, solder in a new LED. Done. If you start mucking with cutting out the rectifyer wart, you may not get the orientation right. I have yet to have someone explain sufficiently how that could be accomplished.