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End of season exhaustion has set in...


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I'm almost to the point of "Stick a fork in me... I'm done..." (almost) ;)

Of all the advice I have gotten over the past year, one little thing didn't get mentioned and I was not ready for it... exhaustion! This is my first year with a larger, animated display and I thought I was ready for anything.

Getting everything going, every night is tiring. Fixing little things here and there is tiring. Shoveling more snow than usual because of candy canes lights next to the driveway is tiring. Putting down rock salt whenever there is a hint of ice is tiring. Helping people park is tiring. Pulling a few people out of the ditch out front is tiring(ok, not really because for some reason I like that sort of thing!). Watching the security cameras to make sure everything is going smoothly for 3-4hrs a night is tiring. Talking to everyone, almost everyday about the display is tiring.

See a pattern here? ;)

The initial setting up of the display, while being the most physical part, was nothing compared to the daily grind of having a larger display. For some reason it didn't occur to me that there would be all this daily work. I have a few rituals now that my wife thinks is funny, but need to get done. I guess it is funny... but it's also tiring. ;)

So... to all those newer people out there who are going to get a larger display going next year... be ready for exhaustion to set in by the end.

Even with it though... I wouldn't change a thing... except maybe losing a few pounds to make me lighter on my feet. :D

Happy Holidays,

Jeff

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Wait a minute. We have to tear down?

I thought that I just had a pretty good head start on next years display!:D Awww shoot.

I am one of the "1st year" folks myself and I can see where this can become exhausting after awhile. Just the everyday routine can stress you out little by little over time. And you find yourself jumping up during the middle of your shows some nights going "Did something just go wrong?".

Well I have another 6 days to run and then will see if I can pry whatever will come up out for the year.

Of course I have already started working on things for next year down in the shop anyway.

Bill

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Some of those things are optional... you don't have to mingle with guests (we don't). We don't have a walk-through display so I only put salt where/when we normally would. I, too, find myself keeping any eye on the window and security monitor often, but I keep reminding myself "this is a residential display, not a commercial venture".

If you're up for it each year, super, but you just don't want to exert yourself to the point where you burn out and shut down forever...

-Tim

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We didn't mingle much this year. Probably because we were too busy directing traffic.

Large crowds really takes the fun out of doing this. Add that to the extra workload of having to replace failed LED light strings everyday and the workload is downright daunting.

I for one will be happy when this season is over. Not looking forward to tearing down and packing everything up this weekend though. :-(

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You know, I have to tell everyone here that for the past 2 weeks, I've been scheduled to work from 3pm till 1am. (I manage a restaurant) I have not seen my display run, nor sat at the house for the entire 5 hours that the show is on for. If there is a problem, it will be waiting for me when I get home. When I am home, I have so many other things I must do. Tonight is the earliest I've been home in over a week. Now every night, I check the computer to see if everything is ok, but I've not been here to monitor how it goes, and how many people actually see it.

It dosen't help that I got a late start with the setup, and I didn't have the show running till the 18 of December. The electrician took forever to get the breaker panel installed. If I could change anything for next year, I'd have the "tune to" sign up on November 1st. Also make a sign that says, "Musical light show. Starting ...." But, I'm surprised how many people say, "oh, I didn't know it was playing to music." This is after I have a huge sign that says 100.3 FM in Red letters on a Green sign that is Lit Up! hahahaha....

This also means that I haven't had time to record the show. So, I've still got a lot of projects to do. The biggest project though is going to all the area Walmarts and taking notice of what will be left for the 75% off sale. Man dose that ever eat up the time.

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Clyde -- I'm the same way. Even though I don't (usually) work evenings, I have to have the show go on with or without me babysitting it. That means no decorations that I have to put up/take down daily, no directing traffic (which is why I've tried to keep a low enough profile so that it doesn't become necessary), etc. Turns out I'm usually here, but that doesn't mean I want to work a second job every night, managing the display...

-Tim

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I wish i could start tearing down, i am totally spent.

as i write this there are at least 25 cars outside watching the lights. we are running the lights til Jan 7th.

I am so looking forward to the trip to chicago as a huge break. we have had more people come to see the lights since friday than in the last 2 weeks put together. I don't think i can answer the "where do we store it all ? " one more time.

bob

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I'm almost to the point of "Stick a fork in me... I'm done..." (almost) ;)

.....

So... to all those newer people out there who are going to get a larger display going next year... be ready for exhaustion to set in by the end.

Happy Holidays,

Jeff

All I did this year was convert a 2000 light static display to 16ch LOR controller after the first of Dec, but that didn't exhaust me.

What has me exhausted is staying glued to this forum and trying to figure out what I'm going to do next year. ( and how to pay for it and find the time )

Tom

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Clyde -- I'm the same way. Even though I don't (usually) work evenings, I have to have the show go on with or without me babysitting it. That means no decorations that I have to put up/take down daily, no directing traffic (which is why I've tried to keep a low enough profile so that it doesn't become necessary), etc. Turns out I'm usually here, but that doesn't mean I want to work a second job every night, managing the display...

-Tim

This is what worries me the most about next year I think is managing the show. I travel for work a lot so if I am gone and something goes wrong, I shouldn't expect my wife to deal with it. Even when I am home, I would rather not have to do too much. This year alone only being static, I still had a lot to do with all the snow we got. Normally I would plow anyway but I had to clean the garage roof of a couple of times or you couldn't even see the lights. It was also fun digging out the inflatables after a good snowstorm:o. Ah it can't be all that bad or we wouldn't do it every year!

Shaun

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Clyde -- I'm the same way. Even though I don't (usually) work evenings, I have to have the show go on with or without me babysitting it. That means no decorations that I have to put up/take down daily, no directing traffic (which is why I've tried to keep a low enough profile so that it doesn't become necessary), etc. Turns out I'm usually here, but that doesn't mean I want to work a second job every night, managing the display...

-Tim

I couldn't agree with Tim more on this topic. Seems to me, there's a lot of complaining about how much work goes into the display when it's all brought on themselves. If it's too much work to stand outside and pass out candy canes, don't do it. If traffic is an issue, quit advertising it. If you don't advertise and traffic is still an issue, shorten the show.

I turn my lights on when I remember too and shut them off at different times every night. I took the display down the day after Christmas because the weather was nice. Some of my neighbors were disappointed because they had people coming over that weekend but I took them down anyway because ultimately, it's my display.

We had some traffic issues because someone on my court sent a blurb to the local paper and they printed turn by turn directions to my house. I stayed inside and let them control themselves. My time is too important to play traffic cop or answer a million questions. If that makes me a grinch then so be it.

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Yeah, only 10.5 months to lights on. Yipee... I can definately see both sides. We passed out over 5,000 candy canes this year and were exhausted. I have 4 houses to tear down, but it is definately worth every hour we spent this past year.... 4 more neighbors asked to join in.. By joining in, they agree to let me use their electricity...lol It will be worth it, Especially since I scored 60K in lights at 75% off. Already reviewing plans for next year... Can't wait!

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Wow... after reading a couple responses I almost wonder why you do a display?

I'm sorry if people got the wrong impression from my initial post, I tried to use smiley faces to show I was smiling while writing it. I just felt the need to say how tired I was from all the daily work involved that I didn't plan for... and I also wanted to make sure people knew that I wouldn't change it for the world after seeing all the happy faces and collecting a good amount of food/money for one of our local charities.

Maybe it's my personality or something but I pride myself on running "a show" for people to enjoy. I like having voiceovers explaining why the lights aren't on. I like having our website updated almost everyday if we have the lights going or not, what the weather is like up here on the hill, how our collection is doing, etc.

Again, sorry if I came off as a "whiny-hiney".

-Jeff

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Jeff, I understood you completely. My point was that I DONT HAVE that kind of time. Once again, I was supposed to be home last night and ended up working till 10 pm. When I got home, the show was off. I will not see it till tomorrow night now, and that is how my job affects my display. I love to decorate and will continue to add more and more. But, untill I have a different job, I won't be hovering over my display every night. It's my first year of LOR, but not the first year I've put lights up.

Really, we all do it because we love it. My employees though I was nuts when I decorated the restaurant. But I went overboard and our customers noticed it! That's what I was looking for. I wanted people to get excited. When they see me do all this work, then hear what everyone says about it, they start to understand why I love to decorate. But I do it for me :D how selfish :D

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Wow... after reading a couple responses I almost wonder why you do a display?

I do a display because I love lights, and know that many people come and love looking at them. I don't enjoy standing out in zero-degree weather directing traffic. I'm also a bit of an introvert in person and don't enjoy walking up and cold-chatting with people (around here everyone watches from cars, so it would be awkward to walk up and knock on their windows anyway), so I don't "socialize" with guests typically. And I don't enjoy being "tied" to my house all season -- I like to jump in the car with the family and look at other displays. Or just run to Target...

That's why I do a display that allows for all of this :)

-Tim

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I can relate to being tired (but a good tired). Because of family health problems and several projects, I got a late start putting up my display. I was mentally kicking myself for not getting it all done and worn out from trying to do too much in too little time. It was a rush just to get a little shopping done and the inside of the house a little decorated (no tree) before Christmas. I put out 4 items on Christmas Eve then gave up. Since then, I don't care if a bulb is burned out or a section of minis is out. The only work done outside is picking up blown over items. It was time to enjoy the holiday! Since Christmas, thanks to Jeff Womack, I've gone and toured other people's displays in the San Antonio and Austin areas. It has been fun seeing other displays and chatting with other decorators. And it has given me a new perspective on what I did accomplish, so yes I was worth it!

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Like Tim said, we do a display because we like christmas lights, I cant imagine doing a display because I want 100 people a night looking at my house. The display putting up or taking down isn't the tiring part, its the stuff in between for me. We had alot of traffic this year, I didnt do any press stuff, learned that lesson the hard way last year. I don't think anyone enjoys going out and directing traffic on a cold night, we do it because its our responsibity, and also we don't want to get the neighbors anymore annoyed at us then we have to.

That being said, I cant imagine not putting up the lights so I will go through it again next year and I will look forward to it just like i did this year, beside if I didnt do it now my teenage daughters would disown me, they like to be known as "Aren't you the ones who put up all those lights". Unfortunatly for me its a good conversation starter with the "guys".

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Like Tim said, we do a display because we like christmas lights, I cant imagine doing a display because I want 100 people a night looking at my house. I don't think anyone enjoys going out and directing traffic on a cold night, we do it because its our responsibity, and also we don't want to get the neighbors anymore annoyed at us then we have to.

I just posted something similar in a different thread but here it is for this one:

#2) While we could expand year after year (and give Bob from Pitts. a run), we really do not. We cannot support the traffic like the big guys so the display that I do each year takes that (the traffic draw) into account. If I put up too big of a display, I will attract to much attention. I do want people to visit as this year I did a faith-based display (its a tool, not just a display), but they need to be staggered. FYI: Here's a secret of mine - I always want a bigger, more publicized display in my area. Helps keep the traffic down and gives the Press somewhere to go.

#4) The bigger your display becomes, the more responsibility you will have to ensure everything goes smoothly. We usually have 3 or 4 cars at any given time each evening, but at times we get more. The Mrs and I are outside directing traffic almost every night, picking up trash (not much but there always is someone), and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to have a nice view (for photos/video/etc.) -just to ensure all goes well. So for the most part, we are always home during the show. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy doing this (its not real cold here) and meeting the people, especially when they are asking questions about faith (maybe we'll turn one to You), but you have to be willing to do this or scale back - its the responsibility that comes with the display. And while we really do not have any problems withour neighbors on the street (except for a small one this year which was more like a misunderstanding blown out of proportion -but it really bothered me alot), we do not want to create one either. While we want to have a nice show, we also have to respect the other residents and do what is needed.
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I can understand every viewpoint expressed here. I don't hear any whining whatsoever.

I was kind of wiped out after the initial setup ... and now I'm getting mentally prepped for the big take down the organizing I'll need to do for that. I'm also getting ready for 2009 projects like everyone else.

Since I have a very small amount of traffic, I pretty much come home from work and the shows already on (static), then it goes animated for a few hours, then turns back to static for an hour, then turns itself off. I typically do night more than make sure everything working, stuff is upright (fix if wind blew something over or a cord came loose) ... and then maybe tweak the show schedule if needed.

So, like Tim, I find myself (mostly) going about my business while the show is going on. It is kind of weird coming home and opening up the garage with people watching ... and driving into your home. That one reason I like starting at 6pm ... because then most people (myself included) comare home from work ... THEN the show starts (after most people are back home). Sometimes if we are out after dinner and come back to find viewers, we watch with them, then drive into the garage after they move on. A couple times we drove in while they watched, which was strange.

Last night, we had only 10-12 cars and nobody stayed all that long.

So I'm impressed with those that can stand outside and socialize and direct traffic ... and I imagine its kind of fun ... but I'm glad I don't have to, since I'm kind of lazy at heart, so sitting back and maybe watching occasionally on the network camera is fine for me. Sometimes I wonder out to the Living Room and just watch the lights because thats my favorite part. It is a little extra fun when you know others are enjoying as well.

I have had a few folks knock on the door or open their windows to talk ... which is fine if I'm out there. It's almost always good stuff ... so one someone gets me started (talking) they might regret they ever did (motor mouth here)!

Scott

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Another thing I learned this year has been mentioned here... no press. ;) While it was nice to have them come out and mention we are collecting food for charity, it probably didn't help much with traffic. We don't live on the most display friendly road so next year I think we are going to pass. Although, we got coverage on a local news channel and they never even talked to us? They had shots of our house during the day which was pretty odd to us?

At any rate, this whole Christmas light hobby has been great... and tiring in a non-whiny kind of way. :)

Have a Happy New Year all, cheers.gif

Jeff

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