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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.
Joker4452

I need TONS of advice!!!!

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For years I put up over 15,000 lights in a static display, then I saw my an animated show in person, PC member fxdawg's show. I was afflicted with the bug in December 2009 and joined here and have been reading and lurking since. Things did not work out for a 2010 animated and my "depression" went as far as me not even putting up a decent static display this year!!! It was just not the same it if was not "dancing"

2011 is the year!!!!

I have no clue where to start. I planned a Mega, but what I wanted to do seems to be above my price range for one year.

What do I do, I figure to start with 32 channels of LOR, but I am open to other controllers if I can do more with them for a lower price. I am currently gathering lights and extension cords and other things needed to build the show.

Are there any suggestions for an 8-16 channel mega? Any suggestions for making a good show with only 32 channels? Any suggestions at all?

I am from the same scholl as other people here, Go big or do not go. My bank account just says otherwise and I dont know how to go small...any suggestions for anything would be VERY usefull.

Joe

Whoa friend 32 channels can make a great show remember it wasn't long ago that no one had any channels. Look at some of video's on PC with 32 channels and you will be amazed.

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If I can't afford a steak, I'd rather have a perfectly made hamburger than starve...

This is extremely insightful and he covers some of the major food groups as well.

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No worries Joker4452, we are in the same boat. I too caught the bug this winter when I saw another members show, and to see the wife and kids in awh watching it. Of course the wife looked at me and said,"You could do that to our house right!" Well of course I can. My recommendation, definitely download some sequences to see how other people sequence lights. Make a plan of what you want to have, and start as soon as you can. LOR is not that hard to pick up, but it helps seeing others work. I finally have finished my first sequence, and I have been working on it off and on since December. Once we move into our new house next month, I am going to make the final plan of my show. So that way I will know how many elements I can have. I might also add I went with LED, because I haven't had a chance to check out the breaker box at the new house yet. So far I got 18000 lights and shouldn't pull anymore than 15 amps with my calculations.

Edited by gbuckme2

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Guest Lightzilla

That "Go Big or Go Home" theory is a bunch of garbage to begin with. I know folks with 16 channels that draw 100 cars a night plus buses, then there are those with 400 channels that do the same thing. However that is not really a good reason for doing this. For me, bringing joy into a life is why I like to decorate.

Also there have been folks who bought 128 channel plus to start with and had to sell out because financial struggles. Also you never really know about the job situation. Also refrain & retrain yourself from going into debt. You do not need to go into a big debt to get a smile.

The Lor reduction sale is o k and a bit better prices but the Feb. sale has limited quantities, whereas the summer sale has unlimited quantities. Of course I am a Canadian & therefore when the CAD dollar is up like it is now it is like a sale when I buy a Lor controller which is why I bought 24 channels. 1 PC card with H/D heat sinks & 1 8 channel card which I have cords for & a cheap enclosure. That 1 PC card is my emergency card just in case 1 controller goes off the deep end, it also frees up a whole controller from setting around as a spare, which is something for you to consider too. You can leave 1 or 2 channels per controller free just in case of a channel malfunction, or have a spare card.

Another option is, if you have the money now then you can buy a controller now and you can build up your controllers that way. Another reason I do it this way is because I might spend the money I saved up. I ended up with 192 channels by October...... all paid for.

Here is what happened in a (previous) Feb sale. http://store.lightorama.com/secretsale.html ......see how fast things moved. 400 orders in 5 minutes.

Anyway you could download the demo version of the Lor software & start sequencing once you have your layout all planned out. Also you can use shared sequences & re-work them to fit your Christmas display. I personally do both, I used shared sequences & I make my own......good practice, and a good way to see the various effects.

Another display option is the "Marty Fan"......I have some modification plans for my 2011 fans.

Lastly do not move to Edmonton, Alberta Canada as it is bitterly cold (-20F night & -14F daytime highs this past week) plus it has been snowing these past 8 days. The 3ft of snow we have (and no doubt will be added to) will not melt anytime soon.....it is here for at least 2.5 more months.

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Well, Canada kicked me out so no worries about moving there!!!!

I have seen the fans you speak of, they are cool, but not my favorite. I like the, here goes this discussion. Light sticks, light pole, or belagio poles..your preference. I just know they eat channels for dinner. I was thinking of doing 2 @ 9 channels and just mirroring them so I only use 9 channels for both. Was also thinking of connecting 9 channel arches to the same channels (guess i have it bad since that idea came to me in a dream) The drawback is I do not have enough lights and cannot pay full price for them. As I see it the secret sale is the way i am going to get what I want to start with. Whatever is left in my budget will goto lights and building materials for the other elements.

I am still looking for cheap 100ct minis and the people here at PC have been very helpful with offers. I just did not realize the cost of shipping lights was as high as it is. I am going to post on my local Craigslist and see what happens, but with a little luck I can find what i need to do what I want in a price I can afford. If all else fails I will have my Mega, 2 LOR PC controllers, and the lights that i can use out of my static display...they are getting old and failing.

I am not doing this for me. Noticed my original post gave that vibe off. I live in a bad area and there are no real displays to spread the cheer to the people here. My static display, small as it is, stops cars and gets me Christmas cards slid under the door already. The local police, though they do not do anything when you call them, have kept my lights safe and have stopped by to thank me for spreading joy. I want to take it to the next level and give them something (the neighborhood) to be proud of. I have the help of all my close neighbors during setup and tear down. I have a VERY supportive wife and I have 2 amazing kids that are just as obsessed with lights as I am (the playroom has LED Icicles hanging around the top that must be plugged in when the sun goes down) The only thing I do not have is the money to do as much as I want, I know the smiles will be just as big, but i want the feeling that I did all I could to make Christmas 2011 a better time for the people in my area.

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Are there any how to builds out there for a mega like the one shown here http://christmaslightshow.com/product.php?productid=190&cat=25&page=1

The base is cool, also a pulley head, they are sold out on there..whats the best way to make one?

If you buy the mega tree kit from CLS, it comes with the video.Haven't seen a post where anyone had the video. I agree that i like the idea of trunk for the tree,but after getting my mega tree up this year and dealing with the "rats nest" of lights to hook up, i decided NOT to do the trunk.This was after i had bought the mega tree base from CLS. I'm sending it back for a store credit. With the trunk,you will be doing a lot of laying on the ground to hook up the lights.I'm too old for that.LOL

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If you buy the mega tree kit from CLS, it comes with the video.Haven't seen a post where anyone had the video. I agree that i like the idea of trunk for the tree,but after getting my mega tree up this year and dealing with the "rats nest" of lights to hook up, i decided NOT to do the trunk.This was after i had bought the mega tree base from CLS. I'm sending it back for a store credit. With the trunk,you will be doing a lot of laying on the ground to hook up the lights.I'm too old for that.LOL

I am still young though..and I have neighbor kids that will help with that part, I love how that looks. I am sure I can rig something up to make it look like that, but I want to do it right!

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If you think you starting up slow, I am way behind lol! I am like you who wants to add to the christmas cheer in the neighborhood. I am also looking forward to the february or summer sale for the LOR which I only intend to start with 16 channels. I have roughly 3000 LED lights i am putting up for 2011. 12' mega tree with tree trunk and 15 9" tube LED icicle lights and 15 19" LED Icicle lights that will be put on a big cedar tree in the front yard. So you definitely have to start somewhere. I also planning to buy stuff through out the year so my numbers might increase a hair but do not intend on breaking the bank. I am like you that I have received a ton of help on here at PC. Thanks for opening the thread for Newbie's like ourselves.

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I am so glad I posted this!!!!!

I was about to give up and not do it at all...wa under the impression that the less channels the less I could do, but as I sit here reading, soaking in the information that people have replied with I am beginning to think that 2011 wont be so bad, lol

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I too am glad I saw this.... I started the bug this past december (too late to do anything about it) and have gone nuts since. wiped out two stores of lights (both LED and incans) and am starting to plan plan plan. The more I read the more I think the more I just say forget it... It's too much to take on. I walk away come back and re-work some things look at videos and get inspired again.

I am going the DIY route. Already have two Lynx Express on order with the first COOP this year and am waiting for that. There are so many other things to think about and do. But I'm starting already. The wife and I were watching shows in TV about lights and displays and she loved the idea to do it all to music and looked at me with the "can we do that" look. Of course I caved... Got up went to my computer and started researching... She wants it all right now but once I started a spreadsheet for everything so she can better understand the Amps etc. she realized that big or go home isn't the way to go. So we are revamping what we want to do for 2011 and she has some good ideas and leaves me to figure out if it's possible.

My biggest issue is the software. I'm playing with Vixen right now but know that Lightshow Pro is still doing their sale. I'm reading everything I can and have the demo of it but not sure I like how it bogs down my computer with just normal use of just trying to make a sequence so any thoughts from everyone would be great. Vixen is free and can run on just about any computer (just doesn't have the bells and whistles like the others do).

Take it slow (I know it's hard) but trust me once you start tallying up amps you'll slow down and re-think some of your plans. I'll be the only one in the area that will be doing this (there is a large static display around the corner but I don't count him ;) ). I just want to do it right and sequencing is going to be my downfall.

just my $0.02. Thanks again for the inspiration all!

Dean

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My biggest issue is the software. I'm playing with Vixen right now but know that Lightshow Pro is still doing their sale. I'm reading everything I can and have the demo of it but not sure I like how it bogs down my computer with just normal use of just trying to make a sequence so any thoughts from everyone would be great. Vixen is free and can run on just about any computer (just doesn't have the bells and whistles like the others do).

Take it slow (I know it's hard) but trust me once you start tallying up amps you'll slow down and re-think some of your plans. I'll be the only one in the area that will be doing this (there is a large static display around the corner but I don't count him ;) ). I just want to do it right and sequencing is going to be my downfall.

Dean

I thought I could just "do something better" than somebody else. With me, it was not so much... take it slow... more like, "hurry up and get the electric fixed in the house so I can REALLY do the things I want!" The amps were the biggest challenge as I only had 60 amp svc in a 80 year old duplex!

The planning is the key! Lets just say that I had time this week to (life style change) build 6 new display elements and sequence a 2:20 song! I was able to run the sequence tonight and take vids of it. But, this is the planning step. I'm just getting ready so I can plug-and-play for next fall.

Though I can't help you with the Vixen software, just keep asking questions. It will keep you interested in the idea of doing the animated show. I remember my first year... no wiring diagram to tell me what plug went where. No "amp usage" excel file to figure my total electrical draw. I had a miserable set up and run in 2009 (first year). Last year got easier. This year was no walk-in-the-park, but I managed to pull off a 208 channels. I really wanted 270. So, as it stands I'll definitely be into the 300's for next year with most every element done. I have 18 songs to re-work now :rolleyes:

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Hey Joe, It looks like all the good stuff has been said and I hope you're now OK with starting small and building. All I'll say is 32 is a perfect starting point. I started there 5 long years ago. Big display only happen overnight when you have unlimited resources. The rest of us have to pay as we go. People will love it no matter how many channels or lights you have. Most won't care or even understand. They'll just like what you do and thank you for it.

We've all started somewhere. Most of us started exactly where you are today with a dream, a picture in our head and a desire to make other smile. Enjoy the journey and don't get bogged down on the route.

Larry

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Figured I would post an update on this thread, just to see if I covered my bases.

Currently I have 2 LOR controllers on the way here, one should be delivered today!!!! I have 25,000 lights to add to the ones I used for my static display. I have decided to go with at least 2 leaping arches @ 8 channels each, already wrapped and sequenced for 2 song...just so I can play when the LOR stuff gets here. Also, 2 "Light sticks" @ 8 channels mirrored, A Mega, 16, 2 color strands @ 8 channels per color. I plan on getting at least 1 more controller at the LOR sale, but that is dependant on luck and speed of my internet. Purchased 500ft of SPT wire and vampire plugs, a FM Transmitter, and LOR standard software.

Still open to suggestions on elements to fill out the yard that are inexpensive and can be made in my basement.

Just a side note though. THANK YOU PC!!!!! Without the advise and know how of this site I would be lost and would have most likely given up. Heres to a smile for every bulb in 2011!!!!!

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Yes sir!!! Got the first one all set-up today and in the process got my first lighting related injury, 12 stitches in my finger due to a sharp edge on the strain relief.

Cannot wait to get more going, had my kids in the basement today with the LOR connected to 2 arches.....talk about your motivation!!!

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. . . With the trunk,you will be doing a lot of laying on the ground to hook up the lights.I'm too old for that.LOL

100% agree. I did a blog on this if it made it to the new board. Short story is I now take the lights all way to the ground. They're near the frozen ground and I'm not on it! :D

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She brings up a good point about zip ties, BUT, dont spend that much. Get your networking, cables from:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=105&cp_id=10520&cs_id=1052001&p_id=5755&seq=1&format=2

Wow. That's cheap. 44 cents for 100 4" ties. I'm definitely on that. I'm redoing all of my minis this tear and I'm going to need a bunch of these.

Thanks.

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