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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 vkjohnson

  1. I don't think that tree looks bad at all. I like it. The ridge line on your roof would add some height in the back and look really good, at least it's only one story. The yard has so much potential too. An outline around the yard and some mini trees scattered around maybe? Looks great!
  2. Dave has got a good suggestion. Find the trouble item and just go without it. Normally it's just one or two things causing problems. I elevate all my connections off the ground with bricks, but all of that work is only going to help in a light drizzle. Anytime you get a heavy rain, you will more than likely have to turn it off. Electricity just isn't meant to work with water everywhere, nor is it safe. There are several other GFI related topics on here that you can search through for more ideas too.
  3. vkjohnson

    C9 Help

    No problem! You can also cut the strand anywhere along it's length to shorten it and place the plug there instead. Just make sure you get the polarity right. The neutral wire is usually marked with dots or lettering...that wire goes to the wide prong. That way the small tab in the middle of the socket is energized, while the screw base is not because it is the neutral. Keeps you from being shocked when screwing in a light bulb.
  4. haha, not sure I want to disclose which Walmart this was now.
  5. haha. Yes, I just about lost it when I saw that pallet. This year I do plan on hitting up Walgreens and smaller stores too. I need to start scouting those out too. I special ordered several cases of solid red and green from my local hardware store since I knew they were going to be sparse. He sold them to me at cost, but for him that was still $3.00/box on my end. All I need now are the clears mostly and this pallet got me real excited.
  6. Hopefully we can condense all the info for clearance sales and light stocks from all the major store chains into one topic. Here's my update from central IL (your location may vary): Menards.... had 100 ct mini incan Clear and Multi ON SALE for $1.98 until December 2nd. They had at least 300 boxes in stock of each. Hurray! Maybe there will be some left for clearance. Very few solid color minis, but they did have good stock in 4x6 red or green net lights. Tons of C7 incans too, if those are your thing. Guarantee those will still be there on Dec 26. Lowes...very disappointed compared to previous years. Just a couple cases of solid color purple and gold minis, and 4 cases of clears. Regular price $2.99 and $2.69, respectively. No solid red or green strands. I cleaned up here in 2010 Walmart....4 in my area, went to 2. One had nothing..just a few LEDs (sorry I didn't take notes on LEDs). Now the other...Check this out... Pallets..that's right I said pallets of clear and multi minis. Regular price at $2.68, but holly cow! No way they sell through even half that stock by Christmas day. 1 pallet was spread on the shelf, then this glorious thing was still sitting on the floor...Probably 50 CASES of clear in there with a couple of multis Bring on the 50% and 75% clearance Walmart!
  7. I have crab-pot mini trees that are worth a decent amount of $$ too. I just staked them into the ground several times and now hoping the ground freezes. I also keep the yard flood lights on at night so any vandal would have to be doing his business in the spotlight.
  8. vkjohnson

    C9 Help

    I regularly connect 3 strands of C9s together with the 5 amp fuses. Never had one blow. 18 gauge SPT 1 wire, which most C9s use can actually support plugging 4 strands together, or even 5 (but that pushes it), but your 5 amp fuse will likely blow. To bypass this, I plug 3 strands together like normal, but on the 4th strand that plugs into the extension cord, I cut the fused plug off and install a vampire plug made for SPT 1 wire. Home Depot is actually selling these online right now. You can also get female vampire plugs. For 6 strands you will have no other choice but to run another cord, or start in the middle.
  9. what Clyde said. Probably nothing at all. I have indoor pre-lit trees outside too. No issues.
  10. If you have so many bulbs burnt out that eventually every bulb in strand had burned out, you will never get a single new bulb to light up before you replace enough in the bad strand to bring the voltage down. Is this the case where every bulb in the strand had burned out?
  11. Lots of good input on this, but I was pretty certain LOR channels are limited to 8 amps each. It also happens to be the same limit as 18 gauge SPT wire.
  12. vkjohnson

    Green C-7 ?

    Not sure if the Midwest Menards chain reaches that far south, but my local Menards had a lot of stock in C7s, all colors.
  13. When enough incan mini lights burn out, there are too many volts going to the remaining bulbs, which brightens them up. Eventually it will get so bad that whichever bulbs are left will all burn out at once. At that point your string is basically trash, unless you want to replace all 50 bulbs in the series. If you keep replacing individual bulbs whenever you see even one, it will prevent this from happening.
  14. You could always mount them inside, looking out a window as long as glare isn't an issue. Good enough to make me think about it. I'll be at Menards on Sunday to take inventory of their lights anyway.
  15. I've always wondered about this. A lot of people get limos. Why? Is it the the limo company driving by so they can get publicity in front of all the others? Is it actually someone who hired a limo driver? Is it just a wedding reception? Just curious if anyone knew. I have yet to have one myself.
  16. Awesome! I can't imagine all the work you had to reconfigure everything after moving. Basically like starting over completely isn't it?
  17. Exactly what Mcas said. It can be as small as a single single C9 bulb. Just plug it into the same channel and the extra load will help the LEDs fade.
  18. The newest generation of controllers is supposed to have different dimming curves that you can set for designated channels that are LED vs Incandescent since LEDs dim differently than incans. However, if you are 100% LED, it doesn't really matter since everything will dim at the same rate. I haven't played with it yet, but once I convert my C9s to LEDs, I think this will be a very useful tool.
  19. Here's the story from Gordon Lights... http://www.gordonlights.com/?page_id=685
  20. I've got about 30k so far with the roof and windows done. Oh how I dislike ladder work! Now all the yard elements are coming out. Knocking out the 2 megas and tree wrap this weekend, then tree line and ground lights next week. My lights-per-hour installation rate should drastically improve now that it's all ground work.
  21. vkjohnson

    Spt2 Wire

    I buy the majority of my 18 gauge spt 1 at Menards. 250 ft for $34, in black and brown, but it is usually on sale ever couple months.
  22. haha. Yes, this is 100% real. It uses all RGB pixels, hence the amazing programing. I believe the back story is that a widow wanted to decorate her house big after her husband passed away, and it was always his dream to do so. Fabian Gordon who operates Gordon Lights was at C3 (Chicagoland Christmas Conference) and he talked about helping with this project. I think he may have helped do the Madrix programming, but if he sees this post he could probably explain it better. Truly is amazing to see.
  23. That is a great idea. Where did you get those Velcro strips? Are they a decent price?
  24. vkjohnson

    Spt2 Wire

    My understanding is that spt 1 is 18 gauge and MOST spt 2 is 16 gauge, but that does not always apply as the spt 1 or 2 designation is for the thickness of the wire and insulation jacket combined. Hence, spt 2 vampire plugs will always fit spt 2, regardless of the wire gauge. Pretty sure most of the online vendors are 16 gauge spt 2, and my local hardware store has it in 16 as well.
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