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Guest Scot Meyers

Wanting your advice

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What about having 2 separate donation boxes? One strictly for charity, and another for the upkeep and operation of the show?

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This is a HOBBY. I wouldn't ask people to donate money to support my other hobbies. I fly RC airplanes. We got a lot of outside people at our fun flys that watch. I wouldn't ask them to donate money to me so when I crash I can rebuild my plane. If you can't afford to add something, then don't. I'm sure people would be just as happy if it was the same as last year. I just don't feel right asking for donations for a HOBBY.

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Scot,

I'll stay away from the whole contribution discussion, and give you a little advice on the display ideas.....

I have learned to not tell anyone thing's I'm adding. That way I'm the only one disappointed. I can deal with that, and the stress of letting some little kid down isn't there.

I can only do/afford about 10% of the ideas I come up with. I write everything down in an Ideas logbook. This way you can remember your ideas and refine them with time. With this list of Ideas you can also prioritize them for your wallet/time. Over time you can also look back and realize that some ideas really aren't very good and not worth spending any money on.

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Guest Scot Meyers

Gary

Thanks I appreciate your opinion. this makes sense. it also makes the next years display a surprise if no one knows.

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Scott:

I see nothing wrong with the donation idea, especialy if done in the right way. In the next town over from me, there is a house that puts up a gigantic display, take over almost three yards including the back yards. Its all static too. Someting like 300,000 lights. Anyway, they have donation cans through out the display. With a simple note on each. Donations not required to enjoy the display but gladly appreciated to help offset costs. Thank you.

No one seems to mind at all.

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Although I could use money myself, I personally think people might feel obligated to donate even if there was a note saying if isn't required. That may lessen their enjoyment. I want my show to be a gift to anyone who stops by to see it.

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Scott,

I have been pondering your question a lot over the past 24 hours. 2008 was my first year with an LOR sequenced display. My wife and family always wanted me to put up lights for Christmas and I wanted to also, but ALWAYS dreaded it and didn't look forward to all the trouble.

We moved into a new house three years ago and for the first two years I procrastinated enough that I didn't put up lights. The fun wasn't there for me with a static display anymore.

THEN...I (like most of the nation) saw Carson Williams' house on the beer commercial. I HAD to do that! The search was on for how he did it. I started to find websites like Planet Christmas and lighting products like LOR and I was hooked.

For Christmas 2008 I put up lights for the first time at our new house and had more lights than I had at the old house. It was VERY enjoyable for me and my family. The MAGIC is BACK. I have been going to every Mini-Plus and local training session I can. I am building mini trees, and have plans to build arches and firesticks.

I guess this long post is just trying to get you to remember why you started putting up lights and animation in the first place. If it was for you and your family's fun and enjoyment, or as a year long hobby with numerous benefits throughout the year, then you should continue as long as it is not a burden on your finances or enjoyment. You should only put up your display if you can afford it financially and maintain YOUR enjoyment.

Sure, if you scale back and don't do MORE than last year some people may be disappointed, but numerous others will enjoy your display for the first time and still be truly amazed.

I create my display as a gift to the community and for our personal enjoyment. Like those you may be asking for donations, you don't expect those who can't afford it to donate, likewise, if you cannot afford to put up a bigger and larger display the community can't expect you to either.

I also agree with:

This is a HOBBY. I wouldn't ask people to donate money to support my other hobbies.... If you can't afford to add something, then don't. I'm sure people would be just as happy if it was the same as last year. I just don't feel right asking for donations for a HOBBY.

I enjoy putting up my display and can only put up what I can afford and cannot ask others to donate to my gift to the community or to my hobby.

Sorry for the long post, but I have been pondering this and really trying to evaluate what I would do if I couldn't afford to put up my display, but I couldn't/wouldn't ask others for help. I would just have to scale back and I believe people will still enjoy it.

DrHudd

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Scott,

Have you made a decision on what you will be doing for your display/donations yet?

I was just curious about how input from the PC community affected your decision. Did the posts provide you the feedback and input you needed to help you with your decisions? Did the posts give you additional issues/options to consider? Were the posts helpful?

Thanks for any feedback. I was just wanting to know the outcome from the discussions/posts.

Thank you,

DrHudd

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Guest Scot Meyers

thanks to all who have given thier advice I greatly apreciate your humble input.

I have not yet decided how i will proceed. THis may be a thing that does not get decided until the last minute. I will say this... I have heard some strong opinions and good ones against it and that weighs heavily in my decision. Marilyn makes a compelling argument for the box. while tim and many others make a compelling argument against the box.

this thread was posted to spark holiday spirited debate while giving me some valuable insight.

Thanks to all who have posted.

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While reading the posts from others my opinion was switching back and forth on what I would do. One opinion was that you need to stay within your means and I agree with that. You cannot count on donations to fund your hobby because as others have said, if public opinion sways away from you for some petty or valid reason, those donations are going to dissapear.

Another poster said that they fly RC planes and don't expect others to fund their hobby but in this case I don't find the example valid. I am also into the RC hobby with RC trucks and while my group also draws a crowd when we race, I'm not doing it for the crowd, I'm doing it for myself and their entertainment is just a happy addition. I have just as much fun when it is just the group of racers. I also decorate the house for Halloween and Christmas and while I do it in part for myself, I also do it for the people that come to see it to brighten their holiday. If it were just for me, they would be off when I was not out looking at them. My Rc vehicles are not out running when I'm not there.

Some have said that people may feel obligated to donate if they see a donation box and while this is true, many may want to donate but feel intimidated to do so without an easy method such as that donation box.

My opinion is that there should not be a problem putting out a donaton box provided that you are clear on what it is for and that you don't count on those donations to fund your hobby.

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TBone, the point i was trying to make is this is still just a HOBBY, just like any other hobby. Whether you do it for yourself, other people, it doesn't matter. A HOBBY is a HOBBY and you should not ask other people to fund it for you, if it is for their enjoyment or not. Me, I personally wouldn't even have a box.

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I understand and agree with you point for the most part and if I insulted you I'm sorry. That was not my intent. The point that I was trying to make is that not all hobbies are the same. Some are just for the person and others are a little bit more. While I agree that a person should not depend on others to fund their hobby, I have no problem giving people an easy way to shown their appreciation for what came from that hobby.

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Guest Lightzilla

I posted once already and like I said I agree that you should not ask for donations to fund your display, but if someone offered me a donation 'on their own accord" I would accept it and add it to my power bill.

Nonetheless Scot, the bottom line is this............if you cannot afford to add unto your display with the recourses (money) you have on hand then do not add to it this year. Why keep up with the "Joneses" if you cannot afford too? Your a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ right?.....well the bible says to be a "wise steward" with the money God entrusted in your hands.

Someone is using a "T-Shirt" idea to help offset the cost of his display......mine you it is all paid for but nevertheless he still wants to off set the cost......so out comes his fancy T-Shirts......good idea actually.

Like I said at the start of this post "if someone offers you a donation to help pay for power usage I would accepted it, BUT ONLY if they offer it of their own free wheel".......people by the way get offend and feel like they were robbed of a blessing if you refuse there generous donation........I've been there as were many others before me.

The only thing I collect is "new toys for the Santa's Anonymous Charity "

Just my 1 cent worth of input.

Best regards:

Scott

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Someone is using a "T-Shirt" idea to help offset the cost of his display......mine you it is all paid for but nevertheless he still wants to off set the cost......so out comes his fancy T-Shirts......good idea actually.

I'm having a senior moment, and can't remember if I made this comment before or not.

I agree: Selling something at a profit, with that profit going towards your display is a great way to raise funds and gets my support 100%. Since you are 'offering' (a product) rather than 'asking' (for a donation), you completely change the dynamic of the situation. You've given the other person a choice: to purchase or not.

Now legally... well.. that's another story ;)

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I know I'm late to the game, but I'll throw in my 2 cents.

The answer seems pretty simple to me.....No you should not ask for donations towards the display. Everything that you set up or build for your display is your decision, not the viewing public. Anything you want to do for your display should be paid for by you and you only. I don't think people would be bummed out if your display didn't have any new elements, you have an amazing display. Times are tough right now for a lot of people. If you can't really afford to add the new features, wait until next year.

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Guest Scot Meyers

Ok now let me thow this out.(devils advocate so to speak)

People make crafts as hobbies and they sell thier creativity. You go to train shows or craft shows and pay 5-10 dollars just to get in. this covers the facility costs and the utilities etc. You pay to goto see plays and movies and see othe peoples work. that they worked hard to create. so whats the difference? people come to see your display every year for free. they come to see your hard work and your creativity.

Again i'm just thowing it out there to spark thought and get input.(not to be bashed)

I have not yet decided what i will do

Edited by Scot Meyers

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Hmmm...

I don't think it's comparable.

Movies and such are a job for the actors/directors and all involved....not a hobby...

Craft shows...yes they can be a hobby...but most are done to make profit and people also get to take what they are paying for home. Some have an admission fee to cover the facility but in reality people are buying the convenience of having many of the same type items available to them and at most times a discount.

I still think it's in bad taste to ask for donations.

Think of it as I take a lot of time and creativeness to do the interior design of my home...I have expenses to keep it up and want to add new furniture and update...but I wouldn't take up donations for people to come in and look at it...but I would invite people over and show them around.

The compliments are the payback.

I think it should be a gift to the the community and you foot the bill...take donations for charity.

Or it needs to be a commercial display with an admission fee.

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Good points. There are lots of people who do lots of things to help pay for their hobbies/passions. I say if you want to charge people to see your display, go for it, and let us know how it goes.:cool:

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Ok now let me thow this out.(devils advocate so to speak)

People make crafts as hobbies and they sell thier creativity. You go to train shows or craft shows and pay 5-10 dollars just to get in. this covers the facility costs and the utilities etc. You pay to goto see plays and movies and see othe peoples work. that they worked hard to create. so whats the difference? people come to see your display every year for free. they come to see your hard work and your creativity.

Again i'm just thowing it out there to spark thought and get input.(not to be bashed)

I have not yet decided what i will do

The difference is: those are commercial venues, your home is not. The people that go to those functions know in advance that they are commercial in nature - they have made a conscious decision BEFORE arriving.

By comparing a residential display to these other commercial venues, your display looks like a 'bait and switch' operation. No one expects to pay to look at someone's house, yet there you are with your hand out.

If you want to be commercial, be commercial: Rent the space, install the display, fence it off, collect money. Then be prepared to pay all the costs: Advertising, security, insurance, taxes, and the like.

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Guest Scot Meyers

ok This has been fun!! this has been educational!! I just wanted to say thanks for all your input on what would normally be a pretty heated discussion.. I have to say that I posted my thread in 2 boards my merry christmas.com and here on pc.

I have to say that I got very different opinions from both boards. While most PC'ers were strongly against it. many of my friends on MMC were for the idea.

Many asked what I would do whether I would do it or not. I have to admit that I really don't know and that this question will always be a question of conscience and personal opinion.

Thanks for your input and suggestions...

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I know I would give a donation for a large display if it was to offset costs. I was going to take a donation box and make it for our display and then since I run with the fire company, the donations would go to the VOLUNTEER fire company. Im not sure if thats the same thing. Also one other note, we go to whats called LIGHTS IN THE PARKWAY in allentown pa at a park near the Little Lehigh Creek. Its about 1/4 mile long and all large wireframes for a commercial display. That is like 4-9 dollars depending on what day of the week. Some days there are charities, but others there is no charity and it goes toward the electric/maintenance. So in a way I would tell you to go ahead and do a donation box for 1 year and try it, if nothing happens ok. If it seems to do good, maybe half the display time do it for yourself and other nights for a charity. Seems fine to try something, never hurts.

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Remember, it is a "donation" box...no one is obligated to pay, it just allows those that feel inclined to pay an opportunity to do so. I have been to large displays in the past, I felt they worked hard and that the value to me and others was well worth the $3 or so I would drop in the box. It is really all about the people that come to see the display, if they wish to donate, they will, if they don't wish to donate, they won't, and I doubt anyone will walk away saying "I would have enjoyed the display, but when I saw the donation box, I felt so guilty that it ruined everything..."

Each person has their reason for not collecting money to offset cost and that is what they think is best. What you do with your display is your decision, if you allow a chance for others to "give" back to the provider of the joy they have received...then that is perfectly fine. I am not sure where your donation box is....but if it is subtle, I don't believe people will feel obligated to donate, but only obliged. Keep your heart in the right place and you will be fine.

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