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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 Scott

  1. It wouldn't be A light display without at LEAST one monkey wrench! Glad to hear you took the "Doc's" advise! The funk passed! That's ONE success! Your TFT drive, makes TWO! Congrads on that! We also did A Toys for Tots drive. I can't think of A better charity that is SO focused on Christmas to have as A benefactor of our lights! Seems to fit like A glove! We've been asked SO many times, if we accept donations, for the power bill, etc. The answer was always, no. That's why I go to work every day! Well, that and the mortgage! I'm just upset that it took me THIS long (11 years) to figure it out! Why NOT use the display to benefit others? It's there, the people are there, why so long to connect the dots? Well, I never claimed to be A genius. Anyway, problem solved. TFT will be invited here, every year the display is here! If my 11yo holds true to his word, they will come to HIS house as well! Insert "proud Pappa" comment here! We received, almost $700 in cash donations, this year, and 5, 30 gallon bags FILLED with toys! Just shy of filling A full sized pick up's bed. But that's 5X's what we did LAST year! The difference? I went on two local radio stations promoting the drive! It had an AWSOME effect! SGT. Rob was working his (butt) off! And he loved every second of it! It helped that it wasn't raining this year! Those donations were the result of four hours "work" over two nights. A suggestion for you there, for your next years drive! I CAN'T say no, to A Marine in full dress blues, not many radio stations will either! Some people (regular viewers) were ACTUALLY UPSET, that they hadn't heard about it! (the drive) Some even left, went to Walmart, and returned to drop off A toy! How cool is THAT! SGT. Rob, wants to come back for four days next year! Of course, he's welcome EVERY DAY! Sadly, my entire county has only four uniformed Marines evolved with TFT. So the demands on them are enormous! Knowing THAT, it makes me feel all that much better that they see "value" in our display, as A fundraiser! On A side note, your Obama care denied your bill for my services! LOL! I'm mildly upset with you! You had Limos (plural) out in front! I didn't have ONE! I'll have to work on that for next year! LOL! Merry AFTER Christmas! Scott
  2. For the reverse. Not sure if it was J.C.Pennys, or Macys. But they had A mail box in the front of the store. The kids could drop off their list to Santa, WITHOUT POSTAGE! The store would cover that! But they GUARENTEED delivery to the North Pole! We did that for a few years, then Santa changed A bit for my eldest. But my youngest still has the classical belief. Scott
  3. LOL! Awesome! All that's missing is the cane in the corner! Too funny, that this is on 34th street! Miracle on 34th street, has GOT to be on most peoples top 5 Christmas movies list! Scott
  4. P.S. Funk has been canceled. My wife spent an hour on AL's web site trying to diagnose the problem. Turns out that little fingers HAD touched little switches, AGAIN! Of course, when asked who did, it the answer was.... "NOT ME!!" What a surprise. So funk ebbing, now grabbing that beer I mentioned, perhaps two. I'm going to shut off the living room lights, and watch and LISTEN! to the lights with my AWESOME wife! P.P.S. I FULLY EXPECT the "funk" to return IF another tech glitch happens, or WHEN it's time to put away all my lights! That's the funkiest time for me, usually. The display comes down in less than 1/2 the time it took to set it. But the only thing I have to show for it, then, is A naked house and lawn! Vs. the set up, when I hit a switch (now that the "switch" works again) and I get the "wow factor". There's no "drive" for tear down. Set up HAS A deadline. I MUST be lit by Dec 1st PERIOD! Tear down? January thru when the grass needs to be cut for the first time in the spring. Last year with the help of friends came down in record time. 30 plus inches of snow was forecasted for the 2nd week of Jan, rare for my area, at ANY time. Didn't want my display buried/ruined by the snow. Made a few calls, and I had A crew here in no time. Last ext. cord came up with 8hrs to spare before the snow hit. Tear down makes me feel like a kid again. "No Mom, I don't WANT to put away my toys!" But it's kinda hard to mow the grass around all of it! This is WHY I need Astro-turf! Problem SOLVED! No mowing, leave up the lights all year! What could go wrong? Oh ya, UV light in the summer degrades the insulation on the lights, sets fire to my $200k worth of Astro-turf. Incinerating, not only the grass, but my entire display as well, and probably the house as well. Ummm... Guess I'll take 'em down in January. Scott
  5. SOS canceled! Little fingers DID mess with the settings Up and running on time! WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Scott
  6. www.reinders.com Not even sure they even sell incandescent replacement bulbs. But with todays LED tech. Who'd want them? LED's are the way to go. Higher purchase price, yes. But you gain that back 10 fold in longevity and electric savings. And they do sell screw in LED's for C9's I asked Lori, I THINK she said her C9's have 11? LEDS per bulb. Not certain of that. But it's close. I ordered a gross of strings from them for the first time this year. I have nothing but positive things to say about them. Scott
  7. Shadow, I think the "doctor" just became the "patient" All wired up finished with 4 hours to spare, minus some "tweeking" that can be done after going live. Very excited I'm riding a high. I bench tested the MB, the new cards, the new controller last week. All I have to do is put the show on at 2pm to make sure all is well, and I can grab a beer and RELAX! Sounds great right? Except when I flipped the "switch", all I got is a show, no music. The 3,4,5,6,8,14 letter words started FLYING! Away from the kids of course, Actually I SAID very few of them, but THOUGHT ALL OF THEM! And then some! Posted an SOS earlier, so see that thread if your curious. Naturally being Sunday, AL is closed. If they were open today, I'm guaranteed to be problem free. Murphy's law. Chances are HIGH that for the first time in 12 years I will miss my start time. Enter the FUNK! I'm hoping someone can help, if not when AL opens tomorrow, I'm sure they can. It'll probably end up being something stupid, that I should have seen, I'll kick my self, and thank my helper, BOTH things profusely! All this work, and I have flashing lights. Ohhh----Awwww! WOW!!!! Enter the foul words. I KNOW it will get fixed, I don't know when. Hence the FUNK. I think it's AA that says "accept the things you cannot control" I cannot accept THAT! LOL! Scott
  8. I have the older style MB. Bench tested system last week, no issues. New cards, speakers, transmitter. all worked flawlessly. Now, I have a show, but no sound. No "play" light on the MP3 side of the MB. I'm confident the audio equipt works (tested elsewhere). If any of you have an Older on with a RED switch box on the back side marked "settings" and above that A dial marked AO. Could you tell me how YOURS are set? My "settings" are all over to the right side (viewed from the back) My AO dial is set to A. I've had issues with Lil fingers changing these settings. Curious if that's the case again. Dunno if that's the issue, but seems like a good place to start. Thanks, Scott
  9. I have diagnosed your condition. It's called "The Christmas Funk". I had a BAD case of it last year. I walked into Lowes for weed wacker line at the end of August. They had TWO FULL ISLES already set for Christmas! Did I mention this was in AUGUST! Well, THAT took my spirit and flushed it completely down the toilet! It's AUGUST!!! Bad words ensued! Setting last years display was the worst EVER! Simply because of my mind set. But I did it none the less. You have the SAME condition. Granted, from a different cause. Good news is, it's curable! Put the distraction out of your head. Focus on the goal. In your case, time between there and your display may be an issue. OK, fine. Make a schedule. You KNOW your display will take X hours to set up. You KNOW you want to be lit by X date. Plan for that, and the homeless get the rest of the time. Need extra help? Why not kill two birds with one stone? Ask your homeless friends to help you set up. In exchange, they get a warm meal, a blanket, whatever you think would make it worth their while. By doing that, you help both of you! Take a negative and turn it to a positive, simply because you CAN! That will be $72 for the diagnosis, and $285 for the treatment plan. Please submit your health insurance info in the response, so I can bill them directly. LOL! Scott
  10. Some of you know me as A 20 year EMT. For whatever reason, I was reminded of A call I responded to three years ago, I think is worth sharing. It's the darker side of what we do, but I think it's worth mentioning for when the "unthinkable" happens. To my knowledge, the person this happened to, is not a member of this site. We responded to a call of a person that fell off a ladder. He was trying to hang a star at the apex of his garage's roof. He over reached. The ladder was at an unsafe angle to begin with. Bad things happened. LUCKILY, he lived to decorate the following year! Myself, and a few others from the FD, finished what he started, and hung his star a week later. He could only watch, and I'm thankful he COULD watch! Happy ending? THIS time, yes. The unfortunate DOES happen! DO NOT move the person that has fallen from the ladder, roof, whatever! In THIS case, it was a broken collar bone, and a fractured wrist. A.K.A, LUCKY! He was 10' in the air! A fall from that height? Lucky by anyone's measure. The point of this "story". BEFORE the decision has been made to call an ambulance, DO NOT MOVE THEM! If they instantly get up...they MAY be O.K. If they stay on the ground, there's a reason for that! Don't move them inside simply because it's cold out. Bring out a blanket! Thankfully this person did not have any spinal damage, but be mindful. IF you see this happen, ALWAYS assume the worse, until proven otherwise! By the HOSPITAL!...NOT THEM! "Yeah, I'm fine" Really? Also, the 911 dispatcher is NOT an idiot. Please regard EVERYTHING they say as the gospel. In this case, the family moved him inside, because it was cold out. Against the advise of the 911 dispatcher. They didn't want Dad to get cold. My opinion, they, and Dad, got lucky. I know, not within the three rules, sorry Chuck. But this IS family centric. Be mindful of your surroundings, KNOW your limits! If it doesn't FEEL safe, then guess what? It isn't. If, in sharing this, I can help just one unfortunate person, then it's well worth the time. Yes, this IS the "ugly side" of what we do for Christmas. I DON'T wish to have this seen A "downer". Merely, throw this in the back of your head, so IF this does occur, you will KNOW what to do! More specifically, what NOT to do! Best advise? DON'T panic! Panic can kill, calm heads can not! Sad fact, people DO get hurt decorating, amateurs and professionals alike. My point, KNOW what to do when the preverbal "stuff" hits the fan. Watch your caboose! All I'm saying. All that said. What are you doing reading this? Go throw some lights! Morbid? Yes. But for A GOOD reason, I TRULY hope, you'll NEVER need to use this information! Scott
  11. Exactly my point. What works for me, Python, donbaldi, or Chris, may not work for you. And that is perfectly fine! What I do works for me. THIS is what works for Python, Don and Chris. Guaranteed it WON'T be what works for YOU! But that's the beauty of this site. Take an idea from this guy another from that guy, put them together and you have something that works for YOU! We can guide you. Tell you the mistakes we've made, and you will STILL make your own. Because we did too! Bottom line is, what gets YOUR lights up the fastest. Like many here, I have a deadline. I MUST be lit by Dec 1st. No if's and's or but's. Whatever YOUR deadline is. The question is, "how do I get there?". No easy answer. What works for some of us may/may not work for you. Most of what we do is trial and error. Is keeping a spreadsheet of your inventory the best use of your time? Granted it is "nice to know" information. But is it worth the time? Sounds like I'm trying to turn you off of it. No. I'm only asking that you look at what is important to YOUR display. Period! Sorry Python for stealing your thoughts, guess great minds think alike!
  12. I frame my windows with C-6 Led's. No window is exactly the length of a string. So, I must "double wrap" (go past my starting point on the window, and retrace the first layer of string). As my house is 120' from the road, you can barely tell I did this. And there is so much going on, I think I'm the only one that notices. Another thought, but more labor intensive, black electrical tape. Tape over the extra bulbs. No one (even you) can tell there are extra. Downside, that string MUST be marked solely for THAT window for next year. More labor. One of my windows, 1 string leaves me 5' short of a full square. I just throw another string on and go around again. Now I have a square, and no one has ever complained to me about this!
  13. Tip from a fireman. When laddering ANY roof, 3-5 rungs (steps) should be above the roofline. It's one feat to get up on the roof, quite another to get back down! Also A stable base. If it wobbles when your on the 3rd step...not a great idea to go on to the fourth. Your gut is your best defense. "Does this FEEL safe?" I wanted to post a link for ladder safety here, but all sites I found were pay sites. If anyone can find a free site on how to throw a ladder, I'm sure it would be beneficial to all here. Perhaps post it in it's own forum?
  14. gmac, when the time comes, can you post a pic of that? I like both your ideas.
  15. When I was new to this, 8-10 years or so ago. I did EXACTLY what you did. Spreadsheets of lights, extension cords, down to length, 3-ways, etc. I could tell you to the BULB, how many lights I had. And to the foot how many cords I owned. Then my display got big. Bigger than I'd expected. Like a crack addict, it got outta control. No not a "family oriented" analogy I know, but it fits. Our hobby IS an addiction. Forget what the neighbor has, we feel the NEED to be better than we were last year. My channel map is a crude pencil drawing of my house and another of my yard. It shows me about where to put that tree, reindeer, etc. The boss (AKA Wife) has the final say. It's usually not off by much, few feet at most. Then I just plug it into whatever channel is indicated. I stopped the spread sheets 3-4 years ago. I can tell you at that time, I owned over a mile of extension cords and over 40k lights. Specific numbers? I really no longer care. I'd rather be putting them up, or enjoying them with the family, than counting them. I just want to improve over last year. My advise, don't focus on what you already own. Focus on what you SHOW! Yes the data on cord/light count is nice. But does it really matter? I know your next question. How do I plan for next year? Simple. I look at what didn't go out this year. I only use a few lengths of cords. 50', 22' 3-way, 18', and 8' 3way. One or two odd lengths mixed in but that's the basic build up of my cord inventory. Last year I noted I was low on 22, 18's, and 8's. Guess what I bought more of this season? I know my display, you know yours. USE that knowledge, what do I need for next year? Would that look better over there? Do I need a 50' cord instead of a 40? Questions you need to ask yourself. I find by using a 50' er's as my default, that I can plan out my needs quite well. Keep in mind that I decorate an area 120' X 130' plus the house. That's a lot of ground to cover. I bought extra AL controllers JUST to save on ext. cords. Your area is certainly different. But no different than anyone here. Next year? All said and done, your display is now up and running. What do you do? The SAME thing we all do! Critique! That looks good, that sucks, that needs more lights, this needs less lights. We're our OWN judge! So, make mental notes, more lights on that bush, throw that display in the trash, buy this, etc, etc. Granted we're limited by money or time, most times both! Your call keep the spreadsheet or not. But do assess what value it has to you. If you keep it, be prepared to update it every time you make a purchase, or discard an item. THAT was my reason for stopping mine.
  16. Need advise. The local power company is removing the tree (with my permission) that I mount 2 of my AL controllers on. I get the stump, lucky me. I can "redneck engineer" a solution for this year. The stump will be ground down in the spring. The problem is... For the 2014 display, how do I hide the controller mounts? They need to stay in about the same spot. Few feet here or there not an issue. But for many reasons these two controllers MUST remain near the front of the yard. How do I hide them from the road? They are currently 15' from the road. Gingerbread house? Snoopy's dog house? I've gotta hide them, I don't want the public to see the "electric spaghetti". Now that the tree is gone, the yard is open. No other natural place close enough to mount the controllers. So, how can I "hide" the controllers? Preferably in plain sight? Storage and ease of set up/tear down are always an issue. Any thought are welcome! Thanks Scott
  17. Echo, on not buying box store leds. They are of poor quality. Buy the sealed units found online from many vendors! Scott
  18. This takes the phrase "going postal" to the next level! My two kids (4&7) always write letters to Santa. We always mail them to "Santa Clause North Pole". It cost me two stamps, but I get two VERY big smiles in return. Well worth the price. I have never heard of North Pole Alaska until today. My children have never recieved a reply from Santa. He's too busy making his list and checking it twice. Nor have I heard of what these fine people do. But screw the USPS for thinking that this one schmuck is worth eliminating the joy that the thousands of children feel from actually getting a letter BACK from Santa. I thought any letter addressed to "Santa Clause North Pole" were tossed into the dead letter bin and sent to a land fill. How awesome is it that Santa actually writes back! As long as he dosen't promise my eldest a Nintendo DS, I think that's great! Ok, this guy is a regestered sex offender. Shame on the organization that arranges this for not screening their volunteers. Sadly, in this day and age you HAVE to do that. Whoops sorry, he's gone, won't happen again. End of story. Why wouldn't that solve the problem? Time for the USPS to grow up! There was an oversight, I'm sure those in charge of this VOLUNTEER organization will make sure it will NEVER happen again. Need we remind the USPS of some of their more famous oversights? I'll bet this sex offender wasn't wearing a dress while holding an automatic rifle! Scott
  19. Had mice last year. Saw the droppings in the attic, next to and on top of my stored display. Not one single bulb was damaged. They perferred to dine on the wires inside my electric stove. After the wife saw one in the basement the visitors were invited to leave. I used the tried and true snap traps with peanut butter as bait. I got them all last year. Two weeks ago I heard some "scampering" on top of the drop ceiling. Time to properly greet these new guests! Sorry, I spelled that wrong. I ment PESTS! Scott
  20. I still keep them in the box they came in. Just have to add a little more masking tape to the boxes each year. I like the wreath box idea! Scott
  21. I'm in the same boat with the electric heat. Luckily February is usually the worst month for that. I have upgraded the power supply to my display three times. Twice by myself, once professionally. I quickly out grew the amp load on the upgrades I did. Last year it was time to call in help. I draw 56.3 amps (at peak) and was using 3 20amp breakers. Basically flushing the 80% rule down the toilet. No good. I had an electrician install a outdoor temporary panel off my main panel in the house. I now have 100amps available to use. I have 200amp service. Much better safety margine than before. Good for peace of mind and more room for expansion. I can still run the dryer, dishwasher, and have the heat on while the display is on. Just worried that little wheel on the meter will fly off and kill some one because it's moving so fast! So I try to manage when we use the appliances. How true this is I'm not sure, but someone told me that the more amps you draw in the higher the rate you pay per KW. For a small upgrade, I say use your own judgment. If your wondering if you have room to upgrade, get an electrician in to look at exactly what you have and let them make the call. Mine came up with a very creative soultion. The only evidence you see of it's existance ( in the off season) is a weatherproof electric range plug next to my pourch. The panel is stored indoors the rest of the year. When it's time, I mount it under the pourch, and plug in the pig tail to the outlet. It has six outlets on it. 100 amps total available. Since its a two pole breaker, I don't see the regular lights inside the house dim when the show hits a high point! Scott
  22. I've seen this talked about before, but have never seen an answer. I'm looking to upgrade my store bought ropelight wireframes to LED. What I was thinking of doing was buying some large spools of WHITE led rope light. Placing some sort of colored "shrink wrap" on it and presto! Theres my "new" wireframe. The #1 problem is...is there such a item as a colored shrink wrap? Where do I get it? Has anybody done this type of upgrade before? Where can i get LED R.L. that can be cut at "reasonably" short intervals. I've seen some advertised with a 2 1/2' cut spacing. That seems way too big. Conventional rope lights are cut every18". Some of the wire frames are fairly detailed. 7" of red to 27" green to 5" white. These arn't cuttable lengths on ANY rope light. So a taped on, shrunk on, glued on color seems to be my only option? What do you think? What strange people we are, the 2008 display has barely been packed away, and already it's time to plan for '09. Don't we get any time off with this disease...err... hobby?! Scott
  23. I sent a similar letter last year when I had the exact same problem. I was told that if I had the recipt I could bring it back. The recipt? From last year? Long story short. I don't buy lights a Target any more. Even if they sell the LEDs at 90% off. The quality isn't there. At least if I did pay 90% I get what I pay for! Scot
  24. Scott

    Where should I buy

    Then I'd stay well away from Phillips! (Target) I Got lucky, tho. I spent too much on lights, she couldn't afford the lawyer! LOL! Scott
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