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Anybody Else Thinking Of Or Ever Taken A Year Off?


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2011 - My Mega Tree fell four times while putting it up.  Needless to say I was really upset and didn't want to do the display.  My wife really wanted me to finish it so I did reluctantly.

 

2012 - After I had almost all the roof lights up on one side of the house they pulled off three or four times.  I was EXTREMELY upset again and swore I wouldn't do it.  My wife talked me into it again and I completed the display.  Also, I just finished my JUMP UP Mega Tree fabrication and wanted to see it work.  After the show started I can't tell you how many parents and children said how much they appreciate our light show.  It has become their family's tradition to come watch our show at Christmas time.  I made a promise to myself last year that no matter how much I don't want to do the show, there are too few people who decorate anymore and there are so many who truly enjoy and look forward to my show that I will continue to do it for as long as I am able.

 

My youngest daughter and I hand out candy canes sometimes during the show and I strive to remember the utter joy and excitement in the children's and their parent's faces.  I can't count how many people told me how much they enjoy and look forward to our show every year.  in 2011 one of the displays close to me didn't put theirs up and so many people were disappointed.  I don't put the lights up for me, it is now almost a ministry for me.  My light show is for others.  For the children's memories and family traditions.  As long as someone...anyone looks forward to coming to my display and as long as I am capable I will put up my display.

 

I completely agree, it is extremely hard and difficult before and during setup.  I don't look forward to it and even dread it like others here, but after it is up the joy makes it all worth it.

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  • 7 months later...

Friends:

 

I am the guy who started this thread last year in March.  I said then that I was taking the year off.  As you can see later, I didn't.    It was a bad lighting season in 2013.  In January of 2014 I announced to my friends, "I'm not doing it this year."  One of my friends said, "That's what you said last year."  LOL  I really am struggling with what to do.  I have lots of work to do to get my display back in shape.  Lots of things got broken or burned out last year.  I think I have a bad Triac in one of my controllers.  My sequences need to be replaced because they are very poorly done.,  (sequencing just isn't my thing)  And it's already March.  The only thing that's better this year than last year is that everything is put away already and the garage is straightened up.  If I'm going to operate this year I need to start working now but I have no motivation.  Any thoughts?

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Christmas junkie, I remember u posting this thread.  I think one of the biggest frustrations is the sequencing.  It frustrates me to no end but I have decided to take sequencing in a different light than most others I think.  I am not sequencing lights. I am sequencing the songs. When I get it done will save it and go on to next. If the songs are broken down well then light sequences should be easy. Its breaking down the songs thats hard. I am getting more into audacity and LOR waveform to break them down. When I get a few done may look at trading for others. I have the joy of building and designing but timings are not the fun. The result and the kids' face plastered against the glass is however. 

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I have been setting up an animated light show for 6 years now.  I have moved 4 times during those 6 shows.  Creating a new design almost every year has really made it difficult.  We are in Idaho now and it gets REALLY cold and windy in November as we take down the Halloween show and put up the Christmas show.  I have 5 sons (helpers) and as I design they help implement and install in the yard.  My youngest (4) doesn't know Halloween and Christmas without a light show.

Each year as we start setup I wonder how am I going to get this done; repairs and installation in time to light things up.  I always find that I put up the main elements and if I can put up the small stuff and new stuff that is a bonus.  People don't notice the mistakes in music sequencing.  Most people are just amazed and thankful that someone is willing to share their talents and abilities to bring a smile to a child.  Hearing the children sing to the music or say "WOW" while I stand in the shadows or hand out candy canes makes the HOBBY all worth while.  Just like you I have started thinking about this year's displays and will slowly add a few new elements and a new song. 

We can only do, what we can do.  With limited time, energy, and finances, we still need to reflect why we do this hobby.  Have fun with the lights and talk to people that appreciate what you do.  Have fun. -Scott

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 I am not sequencing lights. I am sequencing the songs. When I get it done will save it and go on to next. If the songs are broken down well then light sequences should be easy. Its breaking down the songs that's hard. I am getting more into audacity and LOR waveform to break them down.

Doing the timing, get all those various instruments, etc, etc is time consuming. I have been sequencing the song ever since I started in 2007. This takes me several hours just to do this, but after I get that done the rest of the sequence only take 3 hours tops.

 

Even though this thread is almost 1 year old I have thought about taking time off & only putting up a "static display" which where I live wouldn't be a big issue because the people will still come.  People have to put what is priority in their lives 1st. I never did take time off from the musical aspect, but I did cut back some last year. Again it didn't matter because we had snow about 1 week before Halloween & it snowed  2.5 feet before the 2nd week in November. It was -4 Fahrenheit during most of the setup. 96% of the time I need to set up my display on my own without any help. Some people have a higher tolerance than others & therefore can handle more channels counts, more yard decorations, put up 160,000 lights, stand outside in waist  high snow in -4 Fahrenheit for 4 weeks not bat an eye.  I knew I was in this over my head when I was at 352 channels, 12 ccr's & 4 ccp controllers, & 25,000 lights. So I sold some controllers & now I have 10 controllers left plus the 12 ccr's & 4 ccp controllers, & 25,000 lights. I can handle this much, this is my limit. Also I know what the people in this village like, & this year I am going back to what make my house a hit long before the musical show came into play back in 2007.  When the attendance drops after taking out some display items over the past few years then it is time to get back to where the train left the tracks......so that is what I plan to do.

 

My opinion to anyone who is tired & that has stuff that needs to be repaired, cleaned up, etc should do as I did & put up a smaller display & focus on getting done what needs to be done, & yet you still put up a display. 

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  • 2 months later...

We moved to a different house three Christmas's ago - the first year I could literally not find anything - I did put a tree up - the second year I had parent assisted living issues - I did put a tree up - finally this past Christmas I decided to do it.  It was my first year of putting lights and all my stuff out side in my new house.  I decided to take the dive and went all LED - that made it a lot easier.  But I tell you it was nice, and everyone that was looking for me for the last two years found me and loved the display.  If you do take a year off great - but you will find your self missing it and you will come back bigger than ever.  It doesn't hurt to rest some times.

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I've been feeling guilty but after promising my wife for 3 years that I would take a year off, I really think this is the year to take off a year.  I started a new job in the Finance Office at my church and I know that between one budget change in September and another Budget change in January that my peak times will coincide with the show.  I guess I'll take a hint and take the year off.  I still want to do the show but I know it's not worth the grief from my family if I don't take a year off!

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  • 2 months later...

Hello again, all.  Once again, I feel myself struggling with my decision:  Lights or no?  I know I really don't have the time this year and I remember the agony I went through last year trying to get up and running (I put some of  you through it too).  But now that the days are getting shorter and students are coming back to our campus this week, I'm thinking Christmas thoughts.  Any thoughts, Hilliard LIghts...or anyone else?

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Here's a bit of a surprise in my continuing saga.  Our son is 31 yrs old and lives about 45 minutes away.  The last few years he has told me he thinks my light shows are a bit too much and 'over the top.'  He usually helps me put my Bethlehem Star up on the roof as it's a real 2-man job but that's all he's ever done. .  Recently I told him I was taking the year off.  He was shocked and wanted to know why.  I told him that it really isn't as much fun with him gone from home as this whole thing started years ago when he came along--I decorated for his sake initially. He encouraged me to keep going or to at least start working on something bigger and better for next year.  This from the guy who said it was embarrassing. Interesting.

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  • 1 month later...

Okay. So I forced myself not to start hanging lights on Labor Day like I usually do. I am not doing any sequences. I have finally said out loud that I am not doing the lights this year. So I guess I really a.m. taking the year off. It really is a good thing because I just got more responsibility at work. But I already miss it and it's only September. :-(

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Well I took last year off myself. From Christmas. Halloween I did. My family blind sided me by telling me they don't like my display. After the initial shock and anger phase I found out that it was because it takes up all of my time. Not sure how because it was self sustaining for the most part. So.... My wife asked just the other day about the display. Said I haven't even worked on it. Not Christmas nor Halloween. My next statement probably didn't help my cause but I said, "see the display doesn't take up all of my time!" So while I'd love to do it I think I might be done. I get no help with it and it can be a bit much for just me to do. It's depressing too esp for Halloween as that is my favorite holiday.

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I really thought about taking a year off last year, we just moved to a new house the week before thanksgiving and had to get a display up quick along with moving in. My wife actually pushed to have a decent display. It took one full week but we had a nice display for the first year in the house.

 

This year my big helper, my father passed away memorial day weekend. Not only is the show going to go on but I am doing my first mega tree in his honor along with some awesome voice-overs by the Kevin the dimented elf. My Dad got me started in this hobby when I was 12 and now my 21 year old son wants me to help him when he gets his first house.

 

We are our biggest critics when it comes to sequencing. I just do one song at a time and have my visualizer get up and working.  

 

I do believe in taking that year off or scaling back. Going to the Academy and the Expo both helped me recharge for a few years. Just the tips and tricks from both of these makes sequencing painless.  

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I took a year off back in 2010 due to depression caused by a very bad relationship break up that fall.. I didn't care in the slightest. However the next year (2011) I was ready to go again.  So I have only taken one year off since 1993... I don't really contemplate too much taking years off because I absolute enjoy the display too much, and since it's only once a year I always tell myself I am thankful for each year I have and I hope to do this for many years while my body can do it!

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I told my wife I was going to take this year off and she said OK as long as you setup the mega tree. But I said nothing is going up and then she said she would help me like she did one year and I said I'll setup the display. I remembered the year she helped and it took twice as long. LOL!!!    :blink: 

 

I will admit though that when I finish and sit in the middle with a hot cup of cocoa, I am in total awe of the lights and what I do just as a hobby. You know that's the best thing about a hobby.... you can put it down whenever you want and pick it right back up whenever you want. :)

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  • 2 months later...

My continuing story.  It's Christmas day 2014.  About 3 weeks ago, we learned that we had company coming for Christmas.   My wife suggested we put up some lights, something simple like we did years ago.  I told her I didn't have it in m because our son isn't here.  She reminded me that we always did lots of Christmas lights long before our son came along.  She reminded me that we did it just for the fun of the holiday.  So, with some extra days off for the holiday and the motivation of company coming for Christmas for the first time in several years, I did a simple static display.  Basically, I  put up what I could in a day or so.  It was actually fun!  Thank you to all here who suggested a simple static display.  Until this week, our front yard was dark and bleak and now it's alive with light.,  Nothing fancy...no music, no leaping arches over the driveway, no animation or synchronization.  It's just lights on the bushes and holly trees,  ground lights, the blowmolds, and my Charlie Brown inflatable. But I am proud of it.  I have been outside several times each night just to look at it.  Again, thanks to all for your help.  Merry Christmas!

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I took this year off because there were family illnesses and I lost my precious stepmother this fall. It seems so much was going on and the garage was a mess from the estate of a dear aunt who passed away in August. I had no where to unload the storage unit of the tubs of lights and decorations. I tried to get organized and all it did was stress me out. I was so worried about disappointing the kids but I knew in my heart I could not get it done. So I gave in and let it go for this year. What a relief that was at that time. But as you all know everyone asked why no decorations this year. Some folks thought we moved! Even the nurses at the doctors office wanted to know what happened! A lot of neighbors were asked why we didn't decorate. And I was truly wondering if I should give up all the decorating and find an easier hobby. It is a lot of work as all of you know.

The good news is after receiving such warm feedback from so many I will do the display again next year. I will be making some new cut outs along with so many other things I want to do! This year I will ask for volunteers from my neighborhood to come and help. I am sure many of them will. I will hire a couple of guys to transport and help set up the bigger pieces. That will help me out a lot.

It turns out that the best I could have done for myself was take this year off.

I have my enthusiasm back and the creative juices flowing. Feels good! Merry Christmas!

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We didn't get the electricity reworked like we wanted, then ended up having to heat with electric due to furnace going out.  Probably would have gotten it together anyway but my husband got a horrid infection in his jaw in November that just drug on and on.  We ended up doing nothing this year at all outside.  We really have missed it, already making plans for next year, but a couple of nights it has sure been nice not to have to rush back home or worry about the wind knocking the mega tree over or breaking  an inflatable loose. 

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Texas Kate and KarenW  I see I am in good company not being able to do a 'real' display this year.  I am so sorry to hear of your families losses and illnesses.  As a preacher I will be praying for the healing of bodies and the healing of your grief.  I pray that next year will be a happy one and will end with your best displays ever. A fellow struggler Leroy

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Let me preface this by saying I really like my display and always seem to have ideas for new things or places to put lights.  I just barely execute from year to year.

 

(wow this became long)

 

I always seem to get a late start to getting the display up due to my job or life/family.  Over the years I've found myself also finding an excuse here or there to start putting things up, or stall certain parts that are harder / tedious.  I have pondered scaling it back so I could get an "ok" display up over a weekend and gave it serious thought this year.  I have had an animated display for 8 years with about 8 songs and have added a couple over the last 3 years- yes  (2) new in 2 years.  

 

This year while I was putting up the display, I lost count of the number of neighbors and passers stopping by and saying how much they appreciate our modest display.  I was crawling along the sidewalk installing perimeter C7's on stakes and a 10-12 year old child on a bike stops by commenting- "woah that looks like a lot of work!" I thought to myself "this kid sees the work involved?"  and then he said- "My family really loves your display it makes us happy every year." and he left saying "We've been coming here to see it since I was a little kid".    Yes I know, the small kid on a bicycle, how cliché.  No he wasn't skipping and carrying a lolly pop, but it did get me thinking this year about how our display makes others feel happy about the season.  Just as I'm about to not add part of the display, somebody shows up expressing their appreciation.  Weird about this timing thing.  So I trudged forward and put up all of the display finishing up around the 10th.

 

Over the week of Thanksgiving I noticed several more homes on the street were decorated, (most before I was) , or decorated more than previous years.  Turns out they're stepping up or doing lights because we do our display.  One house barely did anything and after one of my purges ("oh just take these- I won't need these  since I'm scaling back") they used every single one and have a static display that gives my animated display a run for it's money.  The neighbors have said they now do more decorating because of our display.   It seems the street now has more decorated homes than I can ever recall in 30 years living on the street. There was a forum thread about "still decorating?" these new thoughts from others motivated me for some reason a few days later to take some of my odds and ends and throw a few characters and lights on the home across the street as there would be nothing there otherwise. I was told - "we're not celebrating Christmas this year" so if you want to put them up fine.   I put an ELL over there and (while not animated) run the lights to be on when my display is running. 

 

To paraphrase from A Field of Dreams- If you light it, they will come.

There have been a few years I would look outside and no cars or people would be there.  Sometimes I'd walk out to the street and look up and down- not a thing in motion.  I'd ask myself- what's the point? Not enough people seem to know about it (even with internet help) and so the 50 or so cars I ever see, is it worth it?  Synchronizing songs is a pain/time consuming and it's probably about the lights more than the music anyway. Well this year the lack of visibility seems to have shifted.  Maybe people are more interested in driving with lower gas, who knows.  I know it was really quite busy this year.  One evening a pack of cars showed up and they said they were a "meet up group".  About 25 of them piled out of their cars and took pictures in front of our big lit (non mega) tree and walked up and down the street looking at the other lights/display.  Honestly I was so cynical I thought they were coming to park (badly) at the end of our street to walk up to a neighbor's party or something.  "Oh no we come every year and have to see your display".  There have been other packs of cars and they seem to be sharing their favorites with friends.  Huge surge of traffic this year that's been pretty mind blowing. I'm totally fascinated by the traffic now and I've lost count of how many people stop to take pictures of (or in front of) our display.  I see other better/stunning displays around my community so I don't get it personally but beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess I should be flattered.

 

Last night was Christmas night and the number of cars and people that came I've never seen before.  Not something like you see on TV with cars as far as the eye can see, but a LOT.  More pictures and one minivan full of people clapped after one of the first songs I synch'd back in 2007.  I have to confess my thoughts about scaling back or moving to just eve lights has fully passed.  I fully accept my addition to the display and commit to moving forward with more and sooner.  I think I feel now like I've made a commitment to the community and to families to be part of their holidays and I can't let them down.

 

I feel renewed in my resolve and have some pretty big holiday goals for 2015.  I think I can find time in places like business flights to chip away at synching songs and can't wait to see what I can come up with for the display.

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We have taken off the last 3 years due to a family misunderstanding. Just couldn't get in the mood to put it up anymore since one of our grandchildren is being withheld from us and another has passed away. But the Good Lord says he doesn't take something away from you that he does not replace with something new so we have been blessed with a new 3 yr old step-grandchild and also a new great-grandchild who is one year old now. We had planned to put it up this year for them but ailments and bad weather prevented that. We plan to put it up next year and have been promised lots of help so we will see how that goes. Plus, the tree that we put up our cascading stars on had to be cut down having been eaten by black carpenter ants. So we don't know where to put those now unless its on the side of the house.

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  • 2 months later...

I have never really taken time off from decorating, but I have scaled back for the last 3 seasons. So far this year (2015) I sold more controllers because I am not doing anything big anymore. I have no time to get fancy, & I have other activities that I want to do. I will have some rgb stuff up for this coming season but nothing fancy, just enough to brighten up the neighbour hood. I will have my new motorized mini Ferris Wheel up & running that I am working on now (as I took down the bigger one as it gets to hard to move & store). I will have my improved motorized Teeter Totter up & running, & Lord willing I will get that Carousel I want to build built this year as well. The last item I would like done is a train to run around the yard...... howbeit that is asking a lot. 

 

I know things get tough for folks but not decorating at all outside should be the last resort. Scaling back though is another matter all together, & it helps both in keeping some Christmas Spirit alive, & it helps when times are hard.

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