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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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Everything posted by drohl

  1. Somewhat arbitrary channel breakdown, all determined based on what I could do handily based on where additional channels were available. Initial setup: one controller: 5 mini trees with red/green/white channels (15 total) 16th channel was used for remaining bush lights in white. Next setup: two controllers: 7 mini trees with red/green/white channels (21 total) 8 channels for bushes Used one of the remaining three for the radio sign Two spares Current setup: three controllers: 7 mini trees with red/green/white channels (21 total) 8 channels for bushes Mega tree: 12 channels for wedges in white, one channel each for red and green, 15th for the star, 16th for the radio sign. Three spares. Considering red/green/white floods.
  2. Also, for my videos, I use my digital camera - a Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS. It takes great photos & I've been happy with the videos it puts out. It does HD video so I know it should serve my needs for the near future.
  3. Personally, I use Final Cut on my laptop to add the audio back in after filming is done. I know the same thing is possible with iMovie, which would be my second choice, but I'm sure Windows MovieMaker adds some sort of similar capability. As long as you have a video file and an audio file to put together, most any consumer video editing software should give you a timeline to sync them up and output. One more note: if you do it this way make sure you remember to mute the original video - otherwise you're just adding traffic noise to the soundtrack. Hope this helps!
  4. Whenever I've had problems with iTunes in the past, I've been able to contact support through http://www.apple.com/support/itunes. If you navigate to what seems to best describe your situation, you can maybe find an article that fits. Otherwise, I've had good luck with the Email & get a response within 48 hours options. I usually get a very quick response and I've had good luck with finding solutions this way. Sometimes they ask for the Order ID, which you can get through iTunes: "Store" Menu > View My Account > Purchase History. Hope this helps!
  5. Thanks for the suggestions relxerd... I've been toying around if I should make it 9... I've seen a lot of videos with 9 and I think it may be that "magic number". I like where you're going with the flood idea too - they don't get mounted on the house so the parents have no issue there, and the house is light gray which should give the colors a little more depth than white would. It wouldn't be too hard to have multiple fixtures on each channel to give each channel more pop. Gradysfalcon and Xmasboy, any "best of the best" videos in particular you think I should show?
  6. Okay, it was made very clear to me this afternoon that the windows are NOT happening... "too Christmas vacation-ey"...
  7. I'm starting to think about ideas like that... I'm thinking I may be able to persuade them if I used white SPT2 so the cabling would stay unobtrusive. 20... but I live on campus all year so I'm only really home for the holidays... keeps me on a tight schedule for setup each year. I'm right with you on that one... I used 30 this year so I had 2 spares. You're right; I don't think I want to drop the minis back to only white since my sequences all use the colors. But I did get another controller for Christmas, so right now I have 18 unused channels. Maybe I'll shift focus toward the windows and put the mega tree project on hold for a year... or get another controller and jump to 64 channels next year.
  8. I like that idea but the parents are strongly against anything being mounted on the house. Hmmm... I've got a year to work on convincing them! The extension ladder could stand to get some use next year.
  9. Okay, here's the video page: http://vimeo.com/channels/xmas Looking forward to your suggestions!
  10. Here's an animation screenshot of our setup this year: [ATTACH=CONFIG]41665[/ATTACH] I'll try and get this year's videos up within the week, but channels 1-21 are the mini trees (red/green/white), 22-29 are the bushes (5 channels for the left, 3 for the right), and the radio sign was on 30 for this year (two empty channels... embarrassing I know). On Christmas morning, I unwrapped a third controller, so I know I'll be at least 48 channels next year. Here's what I'm thinking: 1-21: mini trees (same position as this year) 22-29: bushes (same as this year) 30-31: maybe 6-10 snowflakes spread throughout the large tree on the left 32: a set or two of the LED "snowfall" lights I've been seeing this year in the same tree on the left 33-44: 12 white wedges of a new mega tree out front in the lawn 45-47: either [whole tree red, whole tree green, star on top] OR [3 channels for a star: either concentric layers or a 3-D type star] 48: radio sign Does that seem like a good setup or would there be a better way to use 18 more channels next winter? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  11. MSNBC posted this article about "10 Christmas lights shows sure to blow the grid" Check it out: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40707773/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/ Disclaimer: It's a bit... "pessimistic." Enjoy!
  12. Some neighbors of mine have a young boy and he walked past with his mom last week. I was still waiting on the radio sign to arrive, but he said, "Mommy, I bet those lights make a song!" Mom came to tell us the next day and we gave her the frequency, so that should be a nice surprise for her son! The sign is up now so we're in business... now I just have to get through final exams and get home to see it in action!
  13. If I do silicone, can that be cut away with a knife or something for when the bulbs go out and need to be replaced (then I'd just seal the next bulb in again)? Also, does silicone deal with heat alright? I'm thinking about using a junction box like this to mount these lamp holders. That way, I can mount a red, a white, and a green flood on different sides. The fourth hole could be for the power wires to go in. I assume I can strip the ends of SPT-2 wires and use the twists to connect them to the leads on the lamp holders. I think (and hope) I can mount the three bulbs on it and still have them all pointing in the exact same direction. They have to stay low (i.e., "hidden in the garden" level), so if I build something like what I just mentioned I could probably have it a foot or two off the ground. If I seal the bulbs in, then I wouldn't need an enclosure built around them, so I'll probably mount the junction box itself on a stake (painted forest green?) and have it peek up out from the bushes.
  14. I like that idea, except the house is two stories and the family members in charge say everything needs to stay on the ground so the yard doesn't look full of hardware... i.e., I've got to have them face-up...
  15. We've been looking at different ways to position flood lights on the ground at our house. We've used stake-mounted fixtures before and had two of them blow on us... also, they're about $10 apiece, so getting 12 or 15 of them isn't really that appealing with their track record... does anybody know of a cheaper alternative? I'm thinking of using something like this and mounting them in threes some sort of box/enclosure (so I could have 4 or 5 units each with a red, green, and white bulb). I want to then place these units throughout the yard for an even wash across the house that I can animate with music. Maybe just have three SPT-2 wires running to each box. Another idea I've been toying around with is creating some sort of PVC structure using horizontal pipes to contain the wiring with T's interspersed leading to capped vertical pipes. Then the fixtures at the link above can be mounted on the cap pieces. Also, any ideas to keep water from getting into the base of these fixtures? I think that may have been why our other ones blew. Is duct tape worth it with the high temperature that flood bulbs can reach? I'm not really looking into LEDs yet for this because (1) they're expensive and (2) many don't dim.
  16. I'm getting really close to ordering a coro sign from BuildASign... I'm thinking I'll go with this at 18" x 24" & maybe get a "backup" since it's only about $12 more at that point. Also debating on whether to add 16 or 32 more channels for this year, but I'll save that for another thread! [ATTACH=CONFIG]35390[/ATTACH]
  17. First year for me, 16 channels. It was a very last-minute effort (didn't even decide to order controllers until after Thanksgiving and I wound up getting an FM transmitter (the Mobile BlackBox Orion 5000) for Christmas). Sometimes the songs would lag a little bit, so I upgraded the RAM in the PC from (2) 256MB cards to (1) 256MB and (1) 1GB card for a total of 1.25 GB and that did the trick. Videos are here.
  18. Alright here's another try. Sorry this keeps going on... http://vimeo.com/channels/xmas
  19. I like the idea of outlining the windows, but for some reason, the parents don't... I've got a year to convince them. Also, here's a link to a playlist with all the videos from this year's show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABSltFXTjbA&feature=PlayList&p=713426C792EB9C74&index=0#t=32s
  20. Thanks for the responses so far! Keep them coming! Here's the third song for the 2009 show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9l3TTnVzwY
  21. Alright, so I've made it through my first season. I had 5 'mini' trees each red, white, and green, and the rest of the bushes were all on a channel together (all white). I didn't even decide to do the lights until after Thanksgiving and then I had to go back to school for a week of classes and a week of final exams, so to say this was a hasty project would be an understatement. Here's the first song of this year's show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABSltFXTjbA Here's the second song of this year's show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOFBiHg3ZWA I'm waiting for the third song and the closing piece to upload, but I'll post links later. The two songs I just posted do not use channel 16 (the bushes), as those were an afterthought after I had sequenced them and I didn't find time to go back and work with them. Here's why I'm really posting though: where do you think I should head with it next year? For instance, if I could add 16 more channels, how would you allocate them? What if I could get 32 more? I'd love to hear how you think these could best be utilized. As a forewarning, I'd love to do a mega-tree some year, but I'm a college student and simply won't be around enough ahead of time to put the work into getting it up. Looking forward to your input!
  22. Hey everyone, sounds like some of you are anxious for an update so here it is... When someone in my family was talking with the one who left the message, she ended up bursting out in laughter - apparently the night we went live was the night her husband was looking out his garage window at their tree, trying to see if he could get all the lights working (he's had some moisture trouble this year). So when he was trying to get through his problems, my trees started flashing and chasing right on cue. As she tells it, he came in saying, "Did you see what they've got going out there? They've got red, they've got white, they've got green, going left, going right, pyrotechnics... they didn't even come tell us they were going to do this!" Apparently she was even laughing at him the whole time he told her. So it was all in good-natured fun. We thought how funny it would be to slip this in as a "musical" sequence, with the lights getting flashier as she gets more agitated, but it's probably only the PC-type folks that would find humor in it.
  23. We have a neighbor who always buys a big tree for their front yard each Christmas season. I'm talking 20' or higher here. We usually talk some smack with them about how theirs is 'only a little bit smaller than the one we have coming tomorrow' but we don't mean anything seriously. This year, in addition to the usual static white lights on all the bushes, we've added 5 "mini"-trees. They're about 4 feet tall, made from the larger-sized tomato cages (all Home Depot had) with the largest ring removed so they could just be staked into the ground as-is. Each has Red, White, and Green for a total of 15 channels. Upon seeing a generic animation (no FM transmitter yet for this year), they called and left this message. It's on.
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