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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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Lone Star Holidays

First Set Of Academy Classes Announced

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Just received a list from Santa RJ, our Academy partner at DIY Light Animation, and we must have been on the "Nice List" this year! Take a look at what the DLA crew has already assembled for Academy 2012 classes:

Soldering Basics for EVERYONE

“Until a year ago I didn’t even own a soldering iron.” This was made in a recent post by one of our long-time attendees and is a great example of the different levels of knowledge in our shared hobby. We have some of the most creatively technical minds in the holiday industry attend the Academy each year but we also have people in need of a “square one” approach. RJ from DIY Light Animation is coordinating this “workshop-style session to help everyone feel comfortable and open to asking questions.

Soldering Advanced Topics

When you get beyond the basics and need to further your knowledge base it becomes time to attend a more advanced level class. This session will pick up where “Soldering Basics for EVERYONE” left off and continue the workshop-style teaching approach. Several of the more experienced staff members from DIY Light Animation will be on hand to help show you some advanced techniques and guide you through them.

Automated Sequencing: the Easy Button for Animated Displays?

Hours upon countless hours have been spent by everyone who animates their displays. Each timing mark must be perfect. Every fade and effect has to hit at just the right moment. Some people estimate that it takes them one to two HOURS per minute of music. What if that could be a thing of the past? One of the leading members of DIY Light Animation will be on hand to discuss this topic and present some exciting tips for the future of animated lighting.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Light Show Pro… and Then Some!

Light Show Pro continues to be an exciting option for holiday enthusiasts to sequence and control their animated displays. The Academy has had LSP programmers and high-level users offer their experiences and instruction in the past but for 2012 we’re bumping it up a notch. David Johnson, the creator and owner of Light Show Pro, is preparing multiple classes to teach you everything from the basics to the advanced tips and tricks in this powerful software suite. Bring your laptops and hold on to your thinking cap!

The Many Twist of the Helix Light Controller

The Helix is a DIY hardware and software system that allows you to create a professional looking synchronized light show at a fraction of the cost of the commercial systems. It is also one of the most advanced DIY light controllers available. The developer of the Helix will be at the Academy to share the history of this unique controller and offer direct insight into how it can enhance your displays. Who better to teach you these things than the man that created it??

Putting it All Together with xlights

What is xlights?? It’s simple really: xlights is a cross-platform Christmas light show scheduler built on wxWidgets. It plays Vixen and LOR sequences and is compatible with LOR, D-Light, DMX, Renard, Pixelnet, and E1.31 controllers. Now, if that all sounds like Greek you’re in luck because Matt Brown, developer of xLights and a long time LSH member will be on hand to show you how to download, install, configure, and setup your show in xLights. Bring your questions- let’s play “Stump the Developer!”

Building, Programming and Using Smart Strings

You have seen them and you really want to use them. But if you have more questions than answers when it comes to Smart Strings then this is the class for you. This session will include demonstartions of all of the standard items you have seen… and some you haven't. We’ll cover how to build them, how to make them work and even how to work them into your show. What’s good? What’s not? This class can help you jump into the world of RGB full control with a lot of the headaches worked out for you. The DLA crew has a lot to show you in this class and you will not want to miss it.

What Else? Are there any other topics we’re covering?

There’s a lot of other unique and exciting options in the DIY universe and we’ll have more announcements in the coming weeks. Some topics RJ and the rest of the DIY Light Animation team are working to bring you are:

  • The Renard Controller: What You Want to Know
  • The EtherDongle and Conductor: Your New Best Friend
  • Building and Using the Lynx Express Controller

Stay tuned to the website (www.theultimateacademy.com) as we have more exciting Academy info to share in the next few weeks. You’ll hear about more DIY offerings, some non-Christmas topic announcements, and a very special opportunity for all those Light-O-Rama users out there!

Remember that the ONLY way to get in on the fun is to register today! Don't miss out in 2012.


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Hi Larry. Registration ($60) includes all of the classes EXCEPT the D3 Experience. This is actually the first year we are doing anything beyond the regular registration cost and it was done because we've received feedback that past few years about wanting a full day of sequencing training. Because that is exactly what Drew Hickman of Holiday Technologies does we thought that was the best route to go.

So yes, your registration would include everything else. For more info you can check out www.theultimateacademy.com or the threads below here on PC:

Christmas Classics:

Scare Sessions:

And keep an eye out tomorrow (tomorrow is in two hours! ;) ) for another set of class announcements!

Hope to see you in June!

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