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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.


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About TomD

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 01/31/1964

Profile Information

  • Location
    Holly Springs, North Carolina, USA
  • Biography
    Moved to N. Carolina in 2005 from Ohio. Married with 3 children. One started college fall of 2008. Commercial construction estimator/project manager.
  • Interests
    Christmas lights
  • Occupation
    Construction Project Manager / Estimator
  • About my display
    2009 - 20,000 lights with 64 channels of LOR. Includes 4 leaping light arches. Transmitter is a Belkin Tunecast II. Works well. Small mega tree with 2,400 lights. 15 pc plywood cutout manger scene. 3rd year with LOR.
    2010 Plans - no major changes from 2009. Plans are to increase lights to 25,000. After all, aren't we all trying to be Clark Griswold?
  1. My first year was 16 channels and about 5,000 lights. I got a lot of nice comments about the lights. It's not about how many. It's about how you use them. Be creative. By artistic. You will knock people's socks off! And like the others above, you'll find that when you have a lot more lights, you still only have 1/4 or less of them on at any given time. Remember a phrase I've heard on here a lot: "crawl,walk, then run". Use the time to understand your software and controllers and really learn how to use them, and not spend too much time building displays or hanging lights. You'll be miles ahead in the future. Good luck!
  2. I have to agree with Tim. Running a constant loop is probably the most visitor friendly thing to do. Most people that I've seen don't sit through an entire show. They stay for a song or two and then move on. I run a continuous show and it works out pretty well. But my traffic count isn't what I've seen from others either. But I'm ok with that! I'm sure whatever you decide it will work out. And if not, then I'm sure you'll make changes. We all tweak our displays as the month moves along. Good luck!
  3. Yes, you can do that by creating an animation sequence instead of a musical sequence. You will need to create two shows in your Show Editor. You would schedule your musical show as usual and then schedule another show using just the animation sequence afterward. I've done this before to keep the lights on after the show, or to turn them on early in the morning when I'm getting ready for work while it's still dark. You can create as many shows and sequences as you want and do a lot of different things. Good luck!
  4. I have two gumball trees I put lights in as well. I hate those gumballs! I put about 2400 on the main trunk. I could put 5,000 in that tree if I wanted to do the branches too. But I stop at 2400. I run out of channels and power if I go too much more with everything else I have going on. Good luck with those gum trees!
  5. Just out of curiosity, are you using phone cord to connect your controllers? I was having the same issue and changed out my phone cord cables (100') with cat 5 cable. Problem solved.
  6. I've had the same problem the last 2 years. Over the summer I was doing some other work on my landscaping and discovered that I had a bad ground connection on the grounding rod for my electrical service. I replaced the clamp and wondered if that was the problem. A bad ground can cause a multitude of electrical issues. This year, no inside lights flashing during the show. Not 100% sure if this was the fix, but it sure seems as though it was.
  7. Sounds like a plan. I know someone here can give you some input on how to play random music between shows. The tricky part is going to be when the show starts. It will start based on a specific time, and your last random song may not be over yet. I'm not sure how you can get around that. Good luck!
  8. TomD

    I did it!

    I'm on year 3, and I can't wait to turn the lights on. I remember that first time. It was priceless! I think it took about 2 weeks before they could peel the smile off of my face. Good for you ernie18. I hope it all works out. If you have any problems, let us know. Someone here has an answer to almost every question.
  9. TomD

    Home Depot c7s

    I wrote this down last year. My HD C7 LEDs draw .02 amps per string.
  10. Just out of curiosity, why are you interested in playing random music between shows? Here's why I ask. Typically people only stay for a couple of songs and then move on. If you have 15 minutes of music with no light synchronization and people come to your house there are two possible outcomes: #1 - people have no idea your lights are synchronized to music because they won't stay for 15 minutes to find out. #2 - people who think your lights are synchronized to music will be confused and not understand why your lights aren't going blinky blinky. Most people who show up during your music only will not stay until the next "show" starts. They will miss out on the whole thing because they won't know what you're doing. And they won't necessarily tell their friends because you can't tell about what you don't know. Now, if you're set on keeping your plan, I'm sorry that I don't have the answer. But I'm sure someone here does. It seems to me that I've seen a question similar to this before and someone answered. There is a lot of knowledge and talent here at Planet Christmas. Good luck!
  11. I can answer that question. I have a friend who saw my display and wanted to do one of his own. He doesn't know how to use a computer, doesn't know anything about electricity, and doesn't understand the concept of "channels". He went out and bought an Animated Lighting Christmas in a Box last year (2007) and it sat in his garage for a year. He opened the box, looked at it, and didn't know what to do with it. So this past November, I took him shopping to buy some extension cords and spent about 8 hours at his house helping him hang lights and get it all hooked up. I mod'd a Belkin TC II for him and set that up as well. He had purchased 5 songs from AL. When we turned it on, he was like a kid on Christmas morning. Now this guy owns his own business and is very successful. It didn't matter how much it cost. He wanted his lights to "dance to the music". That is who your customers are. And from what I can tell, in my part of the country, there are a lot of people with the money to do that. They don't know how to make it work and they are willing to pay for it. Hey, maybe I just discovered my side business. If I only had time to do that......
  12. That's quite a score! You are definitely ambitious going after 384 LOR channels in one year. I think I would definitely suggest starting early. I picked up about 10,000 lights this year, mostly from Walmart, to increase my display from about 18,000 lights to somewhere around 25,000+ next year. I'm taking the "leap" from 64 channels of LOR to 80. It was quite a leap and a lot of work going from 32 channels to 64. I can't imagine how much work 384 channels would be. Good Luck!
  13. John, It was good to me you and your wife on Christmas Eve. I'm going to check out your display tonight. We now have at least 3 people in Holly Springs doing music and lights, 2 with AL and me with LOR. There are also several Lights and Sounds setups as well.
  14. I use Home Depot C9 leds on my roof. See the attached picture. All of the lights on the roof are C9 LED's. They fade well too. I'm pretty happy with them so far.
  15. TomD

    Lowes sold out

    I just came from my local Lowes. I could have put every piece of Christmas display item they had left in a pickup truck. There is nothing left! They are sweeping up getting ready to put out spring merchandise. Big difference from last year.
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