Anyone can put out a lot of Christmas decorations to overwhelm the casual observer. People will talk about it and you’ll get a line of people wanting to see what you’ve created… but you have an incredible opportunity to tell a story, create a lifelong memory and really get people to talk about what you’ve done for a long time.
Why is telling a story such a good idea? Most of us are pretty lousy at remembering raw facts and figures. Tell us a good story though and we’ll never forget it. In fact, we’ll probably end up telling that story to others and might even embellish it a bit. Tell a story and make a memory. That’s what we do with our displays.
I like to setup my display into several scenes, just like a movie. I tell a story of the life of Santa Claus over a year. The first scene is called “Santa on Vacation” and includes him resting on the beach, water skiing and fishing. The next scene is life in the toy factory where elves are cranking out the presents. Then you shift to an all white North Pole where the reindeer are getting ready on Christmas Eve and the elves are loading the sleigh. The final scene is nothing but a simple and elegant nativity.
Telling a story really helps focus your display design. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, all the time, you can tackle the display in smaller pieces, create scenes unique to your community and lead people in a structured way to see all you have done. It’s much easier for you as the designer to work on a “Santa at the beach” theme than a generic “Christmas” theme. The bottom line is to let your imagination be your only limitation, but in an orderly fashion.
If you have a computerized light display, you can draw the viewers eye to each scene in just the order you desire and save a lot of electricity by turning off the scenes not in use.
Just keep in mind people remember stories much better than facts and figures. Tell a story. Immerse your viewers so they suspend belief and make those lifelong memories!