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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.

Klayfish

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About Klayfish

  • Rank
    Advanced Member

Profile Information

  • Location
    East Greenville, PA
  • Biography
    Family guy
    Car guy
    Christmas guy
  • Interests
    Family
    Cars
    Christmas
  • Occupation
    Auto Insurance Claims
  • About my display
    In progress. Currently at "average Joe" level, looking to move beyond.

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  1. Just wanted to get feedback on how you experienced folks do this? Until now, my display has always been static. And it wasn't overly huge, so every year my wife and I would just pull the stuff out of the basement and lay it out however the inspiration struck us that day. Not that hard to do, considering we were basically just putting lights on trees/bushes and putting a few blow ups out. Last year was the first time we actually had a "plan" going into it. We had accumulated enough stuff that we could actually plan stuff out. But we just sketched it out on a piece of 8.5"x11" paper while having coffee. It was very crude, but it worked well enough. This year, with the addition of more lights, a controller, hopefully some mini trees and some other assorted items, I'm clearly going to need more planning. I know about the spreadsheets many people use to track amp usage on each channel, and I plan to do that. I'm only going to have 16 channels. How do you keep inventory of the lights and other decorations you have? I'm assuming having a good inventory list is key, since you need to know what you have when planning your display. Do you just use an Excel spreadsheet? How do you plan your display visually (i.e. what it's going to look like on the lawn)? Don't think my piece of paper will work anymore.
  2. So do all you guys use tomato cages for mini-trees? In the How To section of Planet Christmas, it describes using small easels. I haven't been able to find any inexpensive easels, but tomato cages are dirt cheap. I was hoping to have a mega tree centering a bunch of mini-trees this year. Time/budget may prohibit the mega-tree, but I can still make some mini-trees.
  3. No doubt about it, I'd love to have more than one controller. But budget, free time and skill level will keep me to just one for this year. I've been getting all kinds of great support from the forums here and at LOR, which is awesome. I definitely see how this hobby can get expensive very quickly, hence part of the reason I'm adding slowly. Right now, I've got a decent start with lights, extention cords, etc...and given what I've spent on the controller and such, I'll probably make do mostly with what I have. May make a few mini trees or something, but otherwise I'll just use what I've already got. I'm going to dive head first into learning the LOR software and trying my hand at sequencing, but I'll definitely ask for any existing sequences other folks are willing to share. If I can get a song or two of my own sequenced for this year, fantastic. I'll supplement it with the freebies I get to put on my show for this year.
  4. Yep, going to take advantage of the LOR Summer sale. This is my first crack at it. Probably only have the budget for the starter package, as I also want to buy a few more lights and a transmitter. So I'm only going to have 16 channels (32 if I get really lucky on budget). With that, I know I'll be very limited in what I can do, but that's OK, I gotta start somewhere. I'll check each channel to make sure I'm not overloading the controller. Wish I could budget for LEDs...may buy one or two, but that's it. Takoda, Great idea on the spreadsheet. Do you actually do it in Excel? How? Do you have a tab for each controller and list out each channel? Still trying to wrap my arms around how to keep track of the inventory I have, the layout I plan, etc...
  5. One new Kill-O-Watt now on order, thanks!! So if a traditional string of incandesent Wal-Mart lights (the 100 count I think) is .333, that means when you get to about 35-40 you're starting to push the limits of a 15amp outlet. I have to count my light total, but I split up my static display last year on two different circuits (one in the garage, one on the front porch). Probably need to have an electrician come and add more...and/or start investing in LED.
  6. This is my first year going beyond a static display. I'm not much of an electrician, so any "work" that needs to be done will be done by a professional. But as I add more light this year, I know that I have to be mindful of how much load I'm putting on the outlets. I'll have to double check my electrical panel at home, but I'm pretty sure the house is 200amp, and the outlets on the front of the house are 15amp. I know I can add up the lights to get a rough estimate on electrical draw (though I'm not sure what the draw is for the standard lights you buy at Wal-Mart). I wanted to go buy a tester to measure the draw on each string of lights I plan out. Will the stuff I can get at Harbor Freight work, or do you recommend something else?
  7. Trying to do as much reading as I can during my lunch breaks, etc... I'll have to try to find the LOR software download. I've been crawling around their website when I can, but there's a lot to it. So if I understand right, I'll have a computer/laptop hooked up to the controller, which will coordinate everything? Then I put the software on the computer which will have the sequences on them to send to the controller? If I buy a 16 channel controller this year, but 3 years from now, want 32 channels, do I just buy another 16 channel controller? I'd assume the controllers can be linked together to sync up? If I can find a local workshop, I'll definitely try to attend.
  8. Thanks everyone. I did find the LOR forum shortly after I made this post and I've registered there. I know I have a lot of reading to do and am going to do as much as I can. One of my biggest challenges is time. It's a challenge both in learning about all this stuff and then in setting everything up. Working full time and having 3 little kids at home doesn't leave me with a ton of free time. That's also one of the reasons I don't plan to try to go big right away. As much as I'd like to, I realistically know I just don't have the time. As the kids get older, I can involve them more and get them to help, and have more free time. But for now, I'm doing what I can. This will be the first year I've tried to do anything beyond your basic stuff. I've always just gone to Wal-Mart, bought some new light strands and had at it. Last year, I did try to be a little more fancy, such as the crude ramp I built for my Santa and his sleigh you see in my avatar. I don't know the first thing about sequencing, controllers, etc..., but am a willing and eager student. Guess maybe the first step is to buy a controller. If I want to broadcast music over FM, that's something separate from the controller that I have to buy, correct? Are sequences something I load onto a computer, and the computer then plugs into the controller?
  9. Hey everyone! Wanted to stop in and introduce myself and start gathering some ideas for the upcoming holiday season. A bit of background. I love the Christmas season. Funny thing is I was actually raised in a Jewish household and am not religious at all, but I just love the spirit of the holiday. I've been dressing up as Santa at the local daycare/preschool and mom's club holiday party for years…all 170lbs of me…lots of padding involved… We cut down our own trees at a local farm, the whole quaint experience. You get the picture. My wife and I have slowly added to our Christmas decorations every year for 15 years. The inside of the house is now nicely decked out, though we're not done. The outside is where I could use some help. I'd say it's now at the fringe of what the "average Joe" would do. Lots of lights, about 7 blow ups, a few signs, etc… We're lucky enough to have a large property, totalling 3.5 acres. It's also on a fairly well traveled road, so a perfect place for a big display! Our front yard stretches about 400 feet from side to side. Here's a link to a few pictures of what we had last year…sorry the photos aren't very good, it only shows a small portion of our stuff. http://s1197.photobucket.com/albums/aa424/Klayfish/Christmas%202011/#!cpZZ1QQtppZZ16 We're ready to take the next step, but are on a limited budget. During the post holiday sale last year, I snapped up about 12-15 prelit 6' trees from Walmart. Not sure of the exact plan for them yet. Our long term goal is to have an amazing, jaw dropping display. But just like the past 15 years, we know it's one step at a time. My thought for this year would be to either add a mega-tree or get some kind of a controller for the lights and/or add an FM transmitter, but I know nothing about them. I can do average basic stuff, but am not an electrician or true handyman. I know an electrical upgrade to the house is needed soon specifically for the display, and that'll be done by a licensed electrician, hopefully one specializing in light displays. Sorry for the long intro. Any input you can provide would be great. Are mega-trees really hard to install? Given our yard size, we'd want a fairly large one. Are there decent kits? What would be your recommendation for a starter set to be able to control the lights and/or broadcast over FM? Any other ideas for the first step into making our display a crowd pleaser? We've got a couple utility poles about 100' apart. Thought about putting a wire across from side to side and making a dancing "light curtain"?? I know there's a lot of info on the website and I read through it some when I get time, but any specific feedback would be great!
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