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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.

Jeff Hulton

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About Jeff Hulton

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 03/02/1964

Profile Information

  • Location
    Minooka, Illinois, USA
  • Biography
    Boring, boring, boring...
  • Interests
    Music, photography, and of course, xmas displays
  • Occupation
    former tool & die maker, currently student
  • About my display
    Lots of lights, 12 Blow Molds, two Inflatables
  1. IIRC, Dept 56 makes adaptors for their battery operated accessories, and I know Lemax makes a 4.5V adapter, so they do exist. Not knowing what brand village you have, I don't know if they would be in any way compatible. Plug style is usually the culprit with adapters.
  2. Not to take this too OT, but while decorating the tree this year, I thought about the ornaments my mom had when I was a little kid. My dad met my mom in Germany when he was in the Army in the late 50's, and when he got out, she brought some ornaments with her, some of which had been in her family, some new. Just thinking about and visualising those ornaments made me 5 years old again, standing in the living room of the house we lived in at the time. And it really felt good. My parents are getting up there, but thankfully still healthy. But you're right, things like this are very powerful at stimulating memory and emotion in a good way, and for that reason should be handed down. I wish I had even a couple of those ornaments, but they were tossed decades ago.
  3. I had no idea there was any such animal as clear primer! Thanks for the info, it may be the solution I was looking for.
  4. I've been kicking around a couple of ideas for spring time when I can start repainting again. 1) There are some white primers available for painting plastic wargaming figures. I'm thinking a light coat of that, then a light coat of color on top wouldn't inhibit light transmission anymore than a "normal" coat of just color. With white underneath, the color will "pop" more, so a light coat of color would be sufficient. The primer, in theory anyway, should make the paint adhere better and longer. Plastics are tricky, though, with so many types and different chemical compositions. What works for one type may be less than worthless for another. 2) Failing the primer idea, I may try roughing up the surface slightly with either 0000 steel wool or something along the lines of 400 grit wet/dry. This would (again, in theory) give enough little nooks and crannies for better adhesion. This whole business with us repainting molds is really uncharted territory in terms of us not having access to the equipment the manufacturers use. I think anything reasonable is worth trying, as long as it's easily reversible should things go south in a hurry.
  5. Though I don't have a large collection, or any vintage molds, I do have my childhood memories. For me, blow molds are Christmas. For that reason, I have to say Beco and Poloron. Whenever I see pics of their molds, I'm taken back to my childhood and I feel that same sense of magic and awe.
  6. First let me say anything I write here is meant as constructive criticism and personal opinion. If the main reason you're doing you're display is to win contests and get media recognition, maybe you're motivated by the wrong things. Of course we want people to complement our hard work, it's human nature, but if you and yours enjoy it, that should be all that matters. What I see from your pics is as follows: 1) If you have to have a fence, that's no big deal. I would, however, get the lights off of the fence. It creates to much visual distraction from what's behind it. Without the lights, the fence will become more or less invisible. 2) The front yard looks very cluttered. Make individual scenes separated by some space. This will give a more visually pleasing appearance rather than looking like too much stuff in too little space. If it means not being able to use all of your elements, so be it. Less is quite often more. 3) Get more lights on the house. At the very least, outline the upper level roof line as well as the lower level. With lights only around the lower level roof line, it gives the house an incomplete look. Lights around doors and windows will also help. 4) I can't tell from the pics how much space you have on the left side of the house. If you have some space, move some of your display there to give it a more balanced look. Hope this is the kind of feed back you were looking for.
  7. Here's another suggestion based on finishing in general; if you're willing to put in the time, try some four 0 steel wool, or 600-800 grit wet/dry sand paper (I'd use it wet) on an inconspicuous area to see if it will level out the surface without creating more texture issues. Plastic is tricky to sand, so the key here is very little pressure. If the paper leaves a rough surface, steel wool will most likely burnish it smooth. If this works, you're golden. If not, as Carrie said, several very light coats so that the paint dries almost instantly when it hits the plastic. I guess the real test is how does the Santa in Sleigh look lit up? If it looks as it should, why worry?
  8. We never really had a traditional dinner. It changes from year to year, but I seem to recall ham and turkey being the most common. Pumpkin pie is a main stay, of course. These days, actually about the last 20 years, the whole family is never together on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve is for the family, Christmas Day is in-law day.
  9. I'll echo what everybody in the Northern climes has said, anything that's not frozen/snowed in, starts coming down Jan 2. Everything else waits until a significant thaw makes it possible. Like many others, I've destroyed cords trying to pull them out of the frozen ground.
  10. Welcome to the world of Blow Molds. You really do need a Santa. I'm just sayin'...
  11. Some things to think about; If you go city-wide, how big is your city? Who will judge? If it's you, will you have time to go around your city and look at/judge every house involved? Have you developed criteria for every category? Is your criteria objective, and not subjective? If a local paper is involved, what, if anything, will they contribute logistically? I'm not trying to discourage you, I think it could be a great idea. However, these types of contests are usually sponsored by a rather large business entity that has the resources available to pull it off. I would think small, for now, and go with just your neighborhood. Set the bounderies by streets, pass out flyers, and see what kind of interest you get. Work out the bugs on a small scale first. In time, you may be able to generate interest from the local business community and grow it into a city-wide contest.
  12. That's awesome. I can't believe Romeoville would be closest to you tho. Isn't there one up north somewhere? Romeoville's like, 25 minutes from me, seems a long way from you.
  13. The only song that drives me absolutely freakin' bat poop is "The Little Drummer Boy". Painfully slow, needlessly repetitive with all those "Puh Rum Puh Puhm Puhms". I'll change the station, walk out of a store, whatever it takes.
  14. The paint looks great on these. GF could learn a thing or two.
  15. Thanks to everyone for the useful info. Except Frank. That wasn't useful. Go figure. Your tips are basically in line with what I was thinking. The GF paint comes off so easy from what I've read, so it shouldnt be a problem.
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