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  • 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.
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Deeny Dine

Why Do You Put Out A Display?

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I had posted a question earlier in the faith catagory, but I am working on a talk for church on Sunday. I would like to know why each of you put out a display, especially if you include a nativity, but any display that you share with your community? Is it the joy? The spirit that you want to share? Just a hobby? What is your motivation?

Thank you in advance.

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From my web page:

Why there is a "Christmas in Equality".

Okay, haven't answered this question that many have; but I think the time is as good as any to relate the story. The first year was purely a response to a bet. No money involved, but more of a intellectual challenge of "how to do it". A bit of studying and mucking around the 'net revealed what was required, and a few dozen hours with a soldering iron later, had some rudimentary electronics to interface to a computer running an equally rudimentary program called Comet.

Now, let it be known right now that I am nowhere near being extroverted. In fact, my comfort zone is somewhere in the area of "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain". So you can maybe understand why I was taken aback when the display turned out to be something of a tourist attraction that first year, followed up by news stories and the attendant "15 minutes of fame"!

I resolved then not to do the show again. It was horribly expensive (a $2 sting of lights might seem cheap; but multiply that by 400 and its shocking) not to mention time consuming. It takes several MONTHS to plan and program the display, and another solid month just to get it set up.

Then, around March, I got word of how my display had an impact on ONE person. I never knew her name, or need to for that matter. Suffice it to say that this person had a very tough Christmas. Her husband had died in November and her and her son were in a deep depression. They blamed God, and everything else for their woes.

Until they drove by the display one night.

From what I am told, their outlook on life flipped 180 degrees that night. They began attending Church (don't know which) again, and ultimately began to live again.

If a simple display of lights can have that kind of affect on an otherwise sad and miserable person, then it was an obligation and duty to continue the light show.

So, despite the money and time issues. Just for the possibility for making ONE person happy; Christmas in Equality will continue indefinitely. It may not get larger - in fact, some years the show is smaller due to money - but it will endure.

I encourage everyone to "pay it forward" by spreading the cheer to a complete stranger by either donating their time/money to a charity or by simply promoting the display. I'm not quite as "shy" these days (it may be therapeutic!) so I might do interviews if I feel the the situation warrants it.

Edited by Flanigan

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We put out our decorations because we get to see 1000's of people smile each year when they stop for a moment to look at them.

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My answer to the question is simple for me and my family. We want to show our Joy and Respect to remember Our Lord Jesus Christ's birth. Our display has always had a Nativity of one type or another. The hand picked songs that we use are intended to point all to the King of Glory and what he has done for everyone. Our family goal is that everyone remembers to keep CHRIST as the true reason we celebrate.

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I live in the middle of nowhere. Even people that know where I live can have difficulty finding us, especially after dark. So I started doing it for myself. I loved seeing what others had done and wanted to give it a try. Keep in mind my display was always large, just static lights. So it was not like I was starting from scratch. I only added music and animation to what I already had.

Over the years tho, it has changed somewhat. I get "thank you" from the few neighbors we do have. I have even had "gift cards" and kid's hand drawn Christmas cards about the show mysteriously appear in my mailbox. What impresses me most about that is almost all my songs are selected for providing a gospel or at least "not secular" message. Only a few songs from children's tv classics are without a message somewhere. Because of this, I never expected many to stop and watch. Admittedly, there are occasional people that stop and watch..until a Christian song comes on. Oh well. I won't change the show. Maybe some time in the future they might stop and listen once.

Every once in a rare while I might get sad that I have 3 cars a week stop - even after five years. Since we are so remote, I do not make an effort to advertise. But then I remember I started out only doing this for myself. I appreciate those that do stop to enjoy the lights. And somehow, God will pick who he wants to see the show....

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I always decorated the house since I was around 10 years old and mom brought home a few boxes of lights for outside.

Why I went on to animation is another story... If someone else could do it, so could I :D

I have to say I like doing things that no one else would do, just because of the fact that they would never attempt it. It's a challenge to set up and have the show running flawlessly for anyone, but pulling it off is incredibly fulfilling after putting in 5 months of work. It's also nice to hear, "Wow! You did and amazing job!" Not going to lie, but I love that one the most :D

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I do it because of comments like this -

If I could vote for best Christmas lights in Gleannloch Farms, I would vote for my neighbor across the street on Rose Dawn Lane! WOW! What a joy to see and HEAR! Thank you neighbor for the Christmas joy. Picture would not do it justice. You must drive by. Christmas music is broadcasted through to a radio station. You listen and watch the magic.

and this -

My daughter is 18 months old and I drove by last night to let her see it. I wish I would have video taped her response. She was totally mesmerized. Thank you so much for getting to see that look on her little face. I'm pretty sure I was making the same face while watching! Fun for all ages.

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