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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 randallr

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 07/30/1960

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  • Location
    Andrews, Texas
  • Biography
    We operate a regional Wireless ISP, so building and climbing a 50' tower in my front yard was a piece of cake!
  • Interests
    Spending time at any lake... wakeboarding and inner-tubing.
  • Occupation
  • About my display
    2007's Debut had 360+ LOR channels, 150,000+ lights, a 50' mega tree, and five 11' mini-trees. Our yard grid had over 75,000 lights.
    2008 will have 192 more channels, plus ton's of DMX floods, Lasers, moving yokes, and fog machines. Yes... I'm insane, according to my wife.

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  1. Our first video of our 2015 display. Smaller than our usual display because we're in the process of moving to a new, larger site.
  2. After the overwhelming response from last years video, we decided to convert most of our display to RGB led's so that we could show the red, white, and blue through our display!
  3. My zip ties aren't tight enough to keep the support wire from sliding. At the top, I wrap electrical tape around the support wire some, then around the light strings- that way it has some grip along the support wire.... If you tape the wires to it at the same time, there's not enough grab...
  4. I see a distinction here between 'guy' wires and light strings. Guy wires should be tight. If you are using your light strings for support of the tree, the stress on the sockets will cause the strings to fail. Also, if it's a long string, the effect of the wind whipping it can cause it to fail. We took the extra step to zip tie the strings to a 14 ga wire, which is pulled tight. This keep much of the stress off the strings.
  5. It didn't seem to move much.. There's two levels of guys, just below where the lights connect... The guys to the top were really swinging from the force of the wind, but the west wind was almost straight in line with the 100' long 'beam of light' that goes to the top, which served as a pretty solid guy line. It only has about 150lbs of cement about 24" deep, but it held. We've had short bursts like this the first two years, but never for such a prolonged period. We had about 6 or 8 strings pull loose.. Mostly because the turnbuckles we use to attach to rebar anchors seemed to loosen off as the gusts whipped the strings.... I saw on the news, that the nearby Odessa, TX city sponsored show is cancelled after their 45' tree collapsed. Guess we did alright.
  6. Had our stress for the season today. Yesterday was high of 27degrees, then 65 degress today with 65+ mph wind all afternoon. With our tree at 46' with a star above it at 75', I was holding my breath. My son shot some video early in the afternoon when it was starting to push 50mph. (We soon gave up and waited till 7pm to start surveying damage) http://www.andrewschristmas.com/wind/ Looks like about 6 strings will have to come down and be worked on. All of the deer are dead though.
  7. Chuck's got a way better way of raising the tower.... Each year my better idea become a worse nightmare..... Next year, I'm renting one of those!! Wish I'd looked at your pics before on your website... Great show too!
  8. I used the vinyl coated once with clamps. It pulled through. I'm assuming that I was supposed to cut the vinyl away where the clamp is going to be....
  9. We started at 50' and have slowly moved up to 75'. All I can say is there is a lot of weight involved, plus the method of putting the lights on becomes much more difficult the higher you go. Also, the wind beating the strings is something else to consider. Also, consider the height vs string length.. i.e. cost effective strings preferred. As was said earlier, the higher you go, the more likely a disaster if sound engineering isn't considered, once the 75mph wind hits it. Of course, I realize that I was nuts, and now broke, but here's what I did: -Center is a Rhon 25g tower on a hinged base. -Guy wires are 3/16" run to anchors (two bags of sacrete with a cable sticking up just at ground level) -Easy to climb (with a harness!!) to hang the lights. -16 channels per color, 4 runs per channel = 64 runs. We ziptied the lights onto a 12 or 14 gauge THHN wire, with a spring clip on the top. A turnbuckle on the bottom end connected to the stake... (we cut 3/8 rebar into 18" pieces, heated the end and made a hook.) Two years, and it's survived multiple > 65mph days, and a wild buffalo attack. (I still hold my breath when the wind goes past 60) Randall www.andrewschristmas.com
  10. If you look at our site, www.andrewschristmas.com, our 5 mini trees are 12'. I used 10' PVC and added a coupler and 2 more feet. I put a CAP at the top, and put 8 eye-hooks in. I put hooks in the coupler for some light guy wires. Probably was bad idea there as light strings interfere with them. I put a piece of rebar in the ground sticking up a couple of feet to hold them in place, and they really need some support during setup, and gusty winds. Next year I'm redoing them and put some guy wires above the light strings. I have a 16ch controller on each tree. I used 1-8 for clear so I could do effects, then had multicolor, red, and green strings on seperate channels.... Color effects work great, as pioneered by Richard Holdman... Each of the 8 'slices' has 2 set's of strings. I didn't have enough red/green last year when I built it, so string A has a clear/multi/red, and string B has a clear/multi/green. (I'm adding red and green in offseason so next year there are 16 of each.. I used 8 channels for clear so I could mirror some of the movements of the 16ch mega tree. Given what you are doing, I'd use the 12 slice model, and add the red and green if at all possible for 2 more channels... Put some strobes in their on a channel, and you'll be the talk of the town.....
  11. I forgot how many are on our megatree. Probably 60+ I added some last season, as it was one of the audience favorites. Because I had such a large tree, with 50' light strings, I had to try to spread them out randomly. Last year, I took old C9 strings and cut it up, and spliced them to some zipcord. 3 or 4 per string in random places, and made several of them. Then I ziptied it in when I made the strings, wrapping the two strings, i.e. Red and Green, the strobe circuit, and the 14ga TTHN wire which we use to connect to the tree and pull tight with turnbuckles. This year I got some vampire plugs and SPT2 wire and did the same thing. Added a bunch more... Will probably add more next year, and probably add them to our 12' mini-trees also. All of my strobe strings connect to the same channel. Strobes are a MUST! When we took the stuff down, I laid the strobe strings aside, and tested them all the other day... Replaced 4 strobes..
  12. Funny you should mention that about shooting Jesus... One of those evenings during the setup, I told everyone that next year I was going to add to it... I would have a Bin Laden wireframe with a rocket launcher fire on the Nativity Star. Then I could have a bunch of wireframe Toy Soldiers with AK47's to blow him away.... My wife said NO. Give a guy too many lights and wire and see what happens!
  13. I should have taken some pictures of our 'beam of light'. Although it made a cool shooting star, I came up with the idea to put 36 channels along a guy wire for a specific goal - the Wise Men see the Nativity Star, and then the 'beam of light' shoots down to the Manger. I had this 'vision' last Christmas, and had the Elvis piece stuck in my head. Although I had a few people say "I don't remember the Battle Hymn being part of the Christmas Story", I had hundreds of visitors say that they had goosebumps and began to cry... Mission accomplished. Here's how I did it- I added 20' to the 50' tree so that the Nativity Star could be WAY up there. I put a guyline anchor about 80' away (center of yard) where I planned to put the Nativity Scene. It also required extra guys on the opposite side to counteract the weight and force of the lights. I then took 2 sections (55' each) of 3/16" guy wire. I made a wiring harness for 16 channels, with common neutral and pairs of channels stubbed out every 6'. Then each 100ct string was connected and ziptied and taped back and forth for 3'. One controller would be placed on the tower, so one wiring pigtail would be going up, and the other controller on the ground, so the other wiring pigtail would go down. The two sections would be connected together. (Did it in two sections as it would be a huge mess to deal with for storage etc.) (I used some 18/7 cables for the 'hots', pairing down to some 18/2 for each pair. An 18ga THHN went down with a connection at each point for the neutrals. I wanted it to be fairly thick in order for it to look like a 'beam of light'. My worry was that it would detract from the display when it's not used, but no-one really mentioned it. Most have come to understand that many parts of the show are only used occasionly, like the Dog wireframes for "Yellow Snow". Then it took the assmbly, and started ziptieing it's guy wire to the 'real guy wire', and pulled it with a rope up to the tower. (I placed the Nativity Star with the center near the guy bracket) I tied it every few feet. When I had it all the way up, then it was secured to the tower, and pulled pretty tight and tied to the anchor also. I wanted to be able to lower it down if needed for repairs without affecting the 'real guy wire'. Having it ziptied also helped steady it from the wind, which had some 60mph days. Thanks to those that watched the videos. If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly, as I don't get to the lists as much in the off season. [email protected] Randall
  14. Our mega-tree started out last year with 16 channels each of clear and multi. This year we added two more controllers for Red and Green. The Red and Green has been a huge hit this year. Our 12' minitrees have 8 channels of clear, then have red/green/multi each on a channel for color changes. This works our very well. I would have done this on the big tree, except each color takes 40 amps, so I broke it down into 16 channels since it'd take a whole controller.
  15. Last year, the guys wires that I worried about detracting didn't. This year, I was worried about the 4' PVC letters for the N O E L during 'Disco Santa", as well as the 102' 'Beam of Light" that comes down from the Nativity Star to the Manger. It's 32 100 count strings that are wrapped back and forth in 3' increments, so it's very thick. You can certainly see them during the show when their not on, but not a single person has commented. They're too busy watching the other things happening.
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