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Did you know?
  • 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.

DugsterM

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  • Content Count

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About DugsterM

  • Rank
    New Member
  • Birthday 08/05/1960

Profile Information

  • Location
    Elk River, MN
  • Biography
    secret
  • Interests
    Holiday lighting?
  • Occupation
    Boring
  • About my display
    Always something new and expensive.
  1. This is exactly the kind of discussion and thought I was hoping for. Clearly there is no right or wrong with any of this and we all have personal opinions about which displays or features we like the most to displays that disappoint us. In my mind everybody wins just by playing the game. In regard to this specific display, I have to agree that it is incredible. Clearly a lot of time, effort, and money went into it and undoubtedly it draws smiles and gives warmth to everyone who see it. Personally I would have done it quite a bit differently if I'd had that opportunity but I certainly would never imply that this display was a "failure" or done wrong. What stands out to me is that many viewers, and those who are interested in christmas displays, believe that to be successful you need to have a display like this one. That to be good you have to have LOTS of lights and LOTS of circuits. I don't believe that. As someone else stated, if the entire display had been done with traditional lights, not rgb, it STILL would have been an INCREDIBLE display and there would have been many, many options on how to program it. The goal should not be to have the most lights and circuits but to do the best with what you do have. Instead of adding more lights every year spent the time and effort cleaning up songs, finding better ways of implementing the lighting, and such. If this talented decorator (sorry, not meaning to pick on one -- it's just an example) really intends to double his lights and circuits next year that is fine but I would see it as being unnecessary. Every year I discover and learn new ways of implementing the lighting I have. RGB had a huge learning curve and the possibilities to explore are mind blowing. Adding more lights but not doing anything different would be stunning but for my personal tastes would not make it "better." Nor would it make it "worse." I just don't see the need. The owner/designer of this display owns his own ideas of what he likes and the goals he hopes to reach and I commend and congratulate him. But I don't think it is harmful or rude to suggest that more lights are needed to make it a success. I encourage him or her to explore the many different ways what is already there can be implemented. Is there new, interesting way to create or light an arch? Can things be moved around to better show off certain features or avoid distraction from other things? Please continue to ponder the reasons and goals we have set forth as those interested in and creating these christmas displays. --Doug
  2. In just a few years it's amazing how the number of music-synchronized, computer-controlled, christmas light displays have exploded! This is both good and bad. While they can bring a lot of joy and happiness, what was novel and interesting is beginning to become ho-hum. There's always the drive to add something new and unusual to try to keep things fresh, like adding animation, video, and rgb features, but it's clear that new and more isn't always better. I am not advocating that we stop all the shows or discourage people from creating new displays, but we need to mature as a "movement" and consider where things are and where they are going. I understand that it hard to have this discussion without hurting some feelings or making it appear elitist or critical -- beauty is in the eye of the beholder, any attempt at trying should be admired, and the purpose and standards for success are different for everyone. It's tough enough to explain my own purpose and goal for writing this! I'll try. I love Christmas light displays and started my own before I was 10 years old. Back then a couple strings of lights and a homemade star was enough to draw praise from the whole neighborhood. Affluence, access and technology has meant that 40+ years later it takes soooooooo much more to even get a second look. Sadly, I see that we are hitting a threshold that means "more is better" no longer holds true. A display with thousands of lights, every blow-mold ever created, and multitudes of inflatables can no linger gain more interest and fascination simply by adding more. Our solution, it seems, is computerized displays that flash, blink, and move to music. But even that clearly has its limits. Are 1000 circuits really better than 500? When does the joy and fun become overwhelming and boring? There is no real answer to this but it makes me ponder where all of this will go. There is a lot of discussion on this and other holiday boards on how difficult things are getting. Adding tons of RGB to displays is making the job of synchronizing more time-consuming and difficult. Very few have the time and skill to really do it properly in the big scale many displays are reaching. I wouldn't say that many light displays "fail" but there are many that clearly could be "better." (Lot's of quotation marks because I know many of these words are relative and loaded.) I see a need to change the focus from quantity to quality. In the rush to have the largest display or include the newest technology, poor implementation is clearly suffering. Does a display need 10 poorly synchronized songs or 5 really well done ones? Does a display even need to be coordinated to music? We've created a monster and it's tough to see what could be done to tame the monster. I'd be happy to see more "silent" or non-synchronized displays that are smaller and better put together. A themed display like Disney Christmas or a Gingerbread Forest doesn't have to cover 10 acres to be beautiful. And often people are located in places where it's difficult having vehicles stop or people to stand around long enough to listen to a 10, 15 or 30 minute show. A display that you can pass and admire in a few moments can give great joy. I have seen displays where cars never "stop" but every time you drive by you catch something new flashing or moving and it's interesting all season. There are a couple neighborhoods where everyone puts simple things like candy canes or hundreds of sparkle-balls along a street and it's simple but so beautiful. This isn't to say there should be no music synched shows or large displays, but the rewards of simplifying or improving those shows rather than just making them bigger would have great benefits to both those setting them up and the viewers. I had a recent display where I had five 10-foot high arches that had only 3 circuits with 1 set of lights per circuit on each arch and it was still impressive. I covered the arches in plastic vent pipe to help diffuse the light. When I see folks putting 12 circuits and winding set after set of lights on their arches I often find it to be overkill and just an awful lot of work. I have more to say but this message is WAYYY too long already. You get where I am going. Please note that this message is meant to make readers think and share their thoughts. I am not slamming anyone else's opinion. I want to hear what you think. --Doug Here's one of my "simple" displays: http://youtu.be/eXMXQRPhCgg <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/eXMXQRPhCgg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  3. Another option for adding color to coro sheets lit from behind that I have used for signs is to buy adhesive sign vinyl sheeting. It's adhesive like contact paper. You cut out the shape you want with a knife or scissors. Most colors are pretty translucent. Many business signs you see lit up are made using this. It's also used to make the lettering your see on on cars, trucks and boats. Lots of colors available and it holds it's color pretty well and you can use sharpies to draw black outlines or designs on it. I have bought some at FedEx Office (Kinko's). They sell it (uncut) by the square foot for about $8. They can also cut out all your patterns but that gets quite pricey ($12 sq. ft.). Using a scissors is just fine for me! You can save LOTS by buying it online by the roll. This place has it for $16 a roll of 15" by 10 yards. http://www.bestblank.../signvinyl.html May be other places that are cheaper and there are sales out there.
  4. I regularly go to the FedEx Office (formerly called Kinko's) and use their oversize printer. You put in any size image, tell it how big you want it, and it prints out a black and white image as wide as 36" and as long as you want. It's only 50 cents a square foot!
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