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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.

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The LSH Boot Camp will be an all day event at the Jersey Village Community Center (290 and Beltway 8 in Houston- address is at the end of the post). Doors open at 11am and run until... well, that's still in the air! We're thinking around 6pm but if you know anything about our Jersey Village gatherings then you know we have the place as late as 10pm!

What's on the agenda? Some good things as we head into the prime holiday seasons:

At 12pm we will be doing some set up and review of the new LOR features. This exciting part will be lead by Don Teague of Synchronized Christmas. Don has long been a part of the Lone Star Christmas decorating community and was able to successfully translate that into a sequencing and decorating planning business. He has also been a long time LOR beta tester. In short, he is VERY qualified to show us all the new bells and whistles that the recent upgrade to LOR provides. He will move into the basics of building a musical sequence from scratch. This is a valuable topic for all new decorators (or those who are moving to musical animation for the first time).

After Don's pieces are finished (we're thinking between 1:30 and 2 but who really knows? Things will be a little less formal than some of our past events.), we will move on to some "Basic Training and Maintenance" led by Anthony Vetrano. Upgrading you software, Firmware upgrading, Checking old sequences after updating, Testing controllers, etc will be covered so if you have controllers that need to be "tuned up" you should bring one with you and get the basic maintenance handled. Nothing is worse than setting up your display only to find that your controllers are quite up to snuff. This portion will be more informal and will involve whoever has something to offer on the maintenance and upgrading of controllers.

We will also be doing breakouts for sequencing, so whether you're brand new or have some years under your belt, something should pique your interests.

One last item, and this is where EVERYONE who attends comes in: we would like to see as many props as we can. Whether it's a hands-on item, pictures, video, etc. we want to be able to show things off, especially items that are easy and impactful- the hope is that people see/learn something that they may be able to incorporate into their displays this year.

Also, remember that this event came about from our Academy feedback: many folks asked for basic learning topics. Ones that they could show their neighbors and friends who are new to the decorating hobby. Remember that person down the block who asked you a million questions last year? How about that family member who wants to take decorating to the next level? Those folks should be invited and come along for the ride. That's the way we all have learned in this hobby!

NOTE: For those who have show and tell items to bring, shoot me a PM so I can know who's bringing what.

We hope to see you all there for what promises to be a great way to kick off the new decorating seasons for both Halloween and Christmas!

Address for the Jersey Village Community Center:

16401 Lakeview Drive Houston, TX 77040 Map

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Do you recommend bringing our own laptops to sequence with? Will there be any kind of hand-outs, etc. given out to reference later when we return home? Thanks in advance!

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Do you recommend bringing our own laptops to sequence with? Will there be any kind of hand-outs, etc. given out to reference later when we return home? Thanks in advance!

Absolutely bring your laptop- that's the best way for you to learn on. Handouts are up to the instructors (always) so bring some paper and pen to be sure you get what you want/need. The nice thing is that you can always go to the Lone Star Holidays forums and you'll learn a TON from local folks.

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Just to echo what Ryan said, please do bring your laptop with you.

As far as the portion that I'm presenting has very little printed documentation to it. While I do have a 'class' agenda worked up, it's mostly notes to myself reminding me what order I want to present things in.

I'll be there most of the day, so if you have questions you can also catch up with me later in the day to ask them.

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