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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.

    Couldn't Beat The Wind... Here's My Compromise For 2013


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    Last year was my first year to put my animated displays out at our new house.  Unfortunately, the wind was just as horrific as my neighbors had said it was going to be during the winter.  Winds of up to 50 mph were fairly common.  My displays acted as nice big sails!  Here was last year's results after the first big wind.  The metal bars I used to stake down the pieces were bent in half.  Several pieces were destroyed and all but a couple of pieces were down on the ground.  Quite the mess.

     

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    Since I knew the wind was going to be just as bad this winter and had learned my lesson that I wasn't going to be able to beat the wind... I opted to attach everything to the walls of the exterior of my house.  It seems to be working well... but the downside was that I had to remove the motors that were animating the characters.  Also, I couldn't put up all the characters that I have for each scene due to space limitations.  Anyway... here is what I came up with as a compromise in trying to fight the wind.

     

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    The large background pieces (16' x 8') are attached to the brick walls using a French cleat then fastened at the bottom with masonry screws into the mortar joints.

     

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    Here's a pic to give you a perspective of the size of the displays.  The taller of my two girls is 5' 6".

     

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    Left side of the garage

     

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    Front of the garage

     

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    Bedroom window (Frosty is 8' x 8')

     

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    The wind hasn't gotten too bad yet... so I'm still crossing my fingers hoping everything stays in place when it DOES pick up!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    What method did you use for actually drawing/painting each piece? I'm wanting to build some 8'-12' pieces and not sure which route is the easiest/best to take.

     

    BTW: Nice fix to an issue. You might be able to mount them to 2x4s or something to give room to put motors/linkages behind them next year.

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    Thanks for the kind remarks!

     

     

     

    What method did you use for actually drawing/painting each piece? I'm wanting to build some 8'-12' pieces and not sure which route is the easiest/best to take.

     

    BTW: Nice fix to an issue. You might be able to mount them to 2x4s or something to give room to put motors/linkages behind them next year.

     

    I drew some of them by hand... and others I found images I liked on the internet... did a little tweaking in Photoshop and then printed them onto overhead transparencies.  I've got an old overhead projector that I used to project the image onto the Coroplast... traced the image and painted.

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