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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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About Ben

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 07/14/1972

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  • Location
    Springfield, Illinois, USA
  • Occupation
  1. Hello all. I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here goes. It has been a long time since I have posted, but I feel the need to do so. It has been a really difficult year for my family. Shortly into last years lighting season, we realized that we would have to drastically scale back this year due to finances. It was really hard to think about doing that. Scaling down from 100,000 lights to who knows what, if any at all, would be really difficult. To make the decision even more heart wrenching is that we have collected over $5000 in the past few years for the Mini O'Beirne Crisis Nursery, and the money is desperately needed. The one thing keeping me going through tear down was knowing that maybe the next year would be better, and I kept telling myself that it was just a well deserved break. As summer spproached, I had really lost all motivation with the lights. There were still some lights on the house in May. There are still lights on the house now, but where I'm at emotionally right now, I don't really care. People in the neighbourhood were coming up to me and asking about this year, and I would cheerfully tell them that we were taking the year off to spend some time as a family. Fast forward to July then to now. Our house is in forclosure with no chance of redemption as it is almost $80k upside down, which is about 66%. We have moved into a rental without much of a chance to do any lighting. We will be in rentals into the forseeable future, and so the one thing that was keeping me going, the thought of maybe next year, is no more. It is getting more and more difficult to tell people when they ask that there aren't going to be any more lights for a long while. With the season change, the temperatures falling at night, the leaves changing colors, it is almost physically painful when thoughts of what I should be doing, lighting my orchard, lining my driveway, raising the mega tree, enter my mind. The other day at Menards, I made the mistake of going down the lights isles. I am going to bring the radio station back at our new house because my kids love listening to it while they fall asleep. That is the silver lining in this whole situation. We are still together as a family, my wife and three wonderful kids, maybe stronger than ever, but the though of their sadness as we pull up to the house without the lights to greet us makes me almost want to cry. I do plan on staying here with my PC family, checking more often, posting when I can, being a better member. The house we are in right now has enough storage to keep most of the display, so who knows, maybe someday down the line...
  2. I have to agree with Mike. I had several sets cut in an awkward place, with sections missing, and I replaced them, only to have them cut the exact same way again. I found one of the sections, with bulbs still attached later in the summer in the middle of my orchard. I know they were not there from earlier because I had mowed several times. When winter came around again, I saw a rather large squirrel nest in the top of one of my trees, and I could see some of my missing bulbs worked into the nest. These were 16 gauge C-9 stringers cut clean off. Looked just like wire cutters.
  3. Yeah...same breaker, different load.
  4. Moot point now Chuck...the breaker just tripped under the same load the other one handled just fine. Going to pull it and look at it.
  5. Hypothetical here because I just found a 60 amp breaker for my main panel for the same price as a 50 amp...6/3 awg, which is what I currently have, is rated for 55 amps. Over a four foot run, max time on six hours...could the 6/3 handle slightly above 55 amps?
  6. I didn't hear a buzz, but I did notice that that breaker was much warmer than the other, but so far since I switched and reseated them, neither has tripped. Still no buzzing
  7. I am waiting to see if my swapped breakers trip and I just noticed your post count is a palandrome...13331.
  8. I just got the main panel apart, and there is a little bit of scorching on one of the main bus legs where the suspect breaker attaches. I swapped them, and seated them firmly. We shall see soon. Oh, and Tim...thanks for the troubleshooting 101...duh...I can't believe I didn't think of that myself, and troubleshooting is what I do all day at work...
  9. WEll, it looks like you center pole was staying rock solid, which is a good thing. How much stress was it under?
  10. One of my subpanels is fed by a 2 pole 50 amp breaker that currently feeds 4 20 amp GFCI outlets, two on each leg of the subpanel. Kill O Watt indicates that each outlet is pulling between 15 and 17 amps. One leg has a total draw of 33 amps, and the other has a draw of 34 amps, so both legs well below 80%. The issue I am having is that the 50 amp breaker feeding that subpanel keeps tripping about every 15-20 minutes. None of the GFCI's have tripped. I have another subpanel fed by a different 50 amp breaker. That one has three breakers per leg, and the total draw is at about 90% for the 50 amp breaker, and it has never tripped. The 50 amp breakers are at least 10 years old, and could be much older. They were in the main panel when we bought this house. They are dedicated to the lights, and so in the off season, they are left off. I am thinking that the breaker has just gone bad. Does that sound right? What else could cause this?
  11. Just in case it wasn't noticed by some, this thread was started on December 2 2007, with no posts from the original day until it was resurrected November 29 2009.
  12. In the light of everything that has happened, do they literally mean that they will remove the shipping after the order is placed? As in, no need to worry about shipping, because the order won't be shipped!
  13. Wow. Talk about bad timing, I don't even know where to start with that. I didn't have an order or anything, but have been following the drama, and just wow. Could this be considered an epic FAIL?
  14. I have an arch spanning the entrance to my drive, and it is a 30 span. I think it is a really solid design, and holds 2000 lights this year. I plan on rebuilding it next year because the couplers are pretty brittle after three years, but the design is solid. You can see it on my site. If you need any more help, or have any questions, just ask me.
  15. The arch rebuild is my top build priority for next year. This is the last year for this arch as the PVC couplings are getting rather brittle and some have already cracked. There are several connections that are glued, and since each section of the arch is specially fitted, if a glued connection snaps, I need to replace the whole section, and while the entire arch can and likely will stay up during such failure, it needs to be fixed immediately, and other connectors will fail, so it would basically be a rebuild any way, so since I know I need to rebuild it, I figure this would be the time to do it with conduit. The PVC arch is actually four arches of 1" diameter PVC, but I was planning on doing basically the same design, but using conduit. I know the fittings are not nearly as versitile, but what I was thinking is that I can still basically do a truss system, but with the conduit, I can drill through it and use bolts to hold the trusses rather than fittings. The conduit seems fairly strong still at drill points, unlike the PVC. I am actually thinking about making a base for the arch that I can bolt onto the top of my brick pillars. Basically making a wooden frame that will hold the conduit ends, and then have some concrete anchors set into the brick like the kind that are not threaded rods sticking up, but the ones that you actually screw a bolt into from the top. I think I can do the bending if I am very careful, thoughtful and patient. I will draw a template on my cement, and then bend the pipe slowly to the template.
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