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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.
Gary Martin

Backlit box signs. Illumination choices?

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I built a nice 'Tune-to' sign this year, all hardwood, 18" by 24" and 5 inches deep. Sealed the thing up with fiberglass resin and painted it black. It should last forever but I am decidedly NOT happy with the light source I put in it.

I wanted low maintenance, low power consumption so I put Phillips brand LED rope lights inside it. At first I put three in it and the light output was abysmal. So then I upped it to EIGHT of these rope lights and it's still weak. For this year I ended up putting an incandescent 50 watt spot light in front of it in the yard so everyone would be sure to see it.

I had an acrylic sign made for the face, a nice commercial job that lets light through readily and looks great but I don't have enough candlepower behind it to really do the trick.

So what would you all suggest for next season? Again, I prefer to go the LED route and avoid incandescent and especially florescent bulbs. I need even light over the 18" by 24" area but only have a depth of about 4.5" to work with.

Heck at this point I'm considering just buying bulk 1 watt superbright LEDs and building my own grid of them inside the sign. I would almost *have* to put some type of diffuser in front of them though or the sign would have hot spots.

Suggestions? Is there something easier out there? Electroluminescent tape? ;)

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Using c9's to make the letters look bright washed out the rest of the sign. So I used 2 ace hardware led ropelights. I cut out the vinyl where the lettering is and lightly spraypainted white paint where the letters are on the backside. First I taped the entire backside and then cut out the letters so the paint would not go outside the letters.

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Gary,

What color is the inside of your box? Painting the inside a white or light color will reflect the light inside and illuminate the sign better.

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I put a low power CFL bulb in mine. Not the 18watt, but I think I used the smaller 9watt. Provides clean and even lighting of the sign.

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I was not real happy with my ropelight backing either (none led). To draw attention, I threw it on a LOR channel to make it blink to draw some attention. This is on my upgrade list for this year.

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I used an incandescent rope light from a snowflake in mine. It had a couple of segments go out and I did not have a patch kit. It did a very good job of lighting it up. I would imagine I had about 30 ft of light in there.

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I painted the inside of the box with high gloss white then stapled a set of clear minis to the back. I spaced them out in a grid and stapled them down, so it has a nice even illumination.

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On my sign, I used two 25 foot white LED rope lights from Costco. They don't sell them anymore, 2006 was the last year, but I had a bought a few of them and had 2 extra.

One better thing baout these LED rope lights, is they are spaced 1" apart, instead of the cheapies you buy in Target and Walmart, spaced 2" apart. So I get brighter, and more LEDS. Also, I created a very tight spiral wrap to give full coverage in my box. The strategy is to cram as many lights as you can. 1" spacing LEDs is a must!

christmas-sign17.JPG

Here's when I was testing different types of light:

christmas-sign6.JPG

christmas-sign13.JPG

christmas-sign27.JPG

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I had the vinyl made at http://www.rainbowvinylgraphics.com/index.htm

Strange thing though, in October I emailed and called them several times to get another one made, and they never called nor emailed me back. But the year before they were emailing me back left and right.

So I never got my second vinyl sheet made this year.

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