Christmas In Kent

Questions?

How Come?

Good question. But the answer is simple. This is our way to remember Jesus Christ. His birthday is after all Christmas. He is the reason for the season.

We celebrate Christmas and we say "Merry Christmas".

We also celebrate with lights. Lots and lots of lights. Christmas has always meant lights. When I was big enough to climb the ladder on my own I was putting up Christmas lights. This coming from a guy who does not like heights.

My nickname in college was "Wire" so this sort thing comes naturally to me. I enjoy the whole process from, planning the design, building my own controllers and cords and putting up the thousands and thousands of lights. There's a lot to putting on a show of this size but I know it is all worth it.

Merry Christmas (all year round).

How long?

I start planning this years display right after we take down last years.

This year we started the end of October putting up the house, then the three "Mega" trees. It's usually ready for testing by Thanksgiving. I spend the last few days testing and troubleshooting.

Each song takes about 10 hours per minute to program. My son synchronized two songs for us this year so that was a huge help.

What do you use to synchronize the lights?

We use software from Light-O-Rama to synchronize the music to the lights. We also use Light-O-Rama control boards to tie the computer into the lights and power. The software is kind if like a glorified spreadsheet with the sound track across the top and the channels along the side. The song is divided up into beats and all you have to do tell each channel what to do and when to do it. Some songs are divided up into 1/20 of a second while others are 1/10 of a second.  For a three minute song that gives you a matrix 3,600 by 500 or 1,800,000 cells that you can control for a three minute song.

How much?

I know better than to talk about this but the power bill is less than you might think. Since the lights are not on all the time and because I use a fair amount to LED's the power is less now than when I used to have a static display and leave the lights on for six hours a day. Last year our December electric bill was only $50 more.

I do order LED's from Creative Displays during their group buy for Planet Christmas. Go to the Planet Christmas Forums and the LED section and watch for the group buy. Paul from Creative Displays only sells by the case (of 12) and you must pre-pay but the pricing and quality of the product is better than you'll find anywhere.

Light-O-Rama also has a sale in the spring that is worth the wait. Go to their web site and signup to be notified of the sale.

My links page has many other resources for displays, lights and we also have a how-to section for those that like to build it yourself.

How many?

The 110,000 PLUS lights consists of a few major display items:
    Three Mega Trees:
        "A" Mega tree - 35' tall with 20,100 LED's red, green, blue and white   
        "B" Mega tree - 25' tall with 10,510 LED's red, green, blue and white
        "C" Mega tree - 17' tall with  7,550 LED's red, green, blue and white
    Mini tress - 87 each - 42" tall with 300 lights each = 16,100 lights.
    Merry Christmas sign - blue and red rope light approximately 1,500 lights
    Santa riding a Harley on the roof - 1,000 lights
    Mrs. Santa riding a Harley on the roof - 1,000 lights
    Two Elves riding on Harleys on the roof - 2,000 lights
   
18 rope light snowflakes on the roof - approximately 4,000 lights
    14 trees 11,200 lights
    5 - "Leaping Light Arches" = 9,600 lights
    16 LLP (leaping light poles) = 15,360 lights
    LED icicle lights on the upper and lower roof line = 4,200 lights
    C7 Green LED lights on the lower roof line/red LEDS on the upper = 398 lights
    over 150 strobe lights
    Over 500 light control channels in use
    Over 5 miles of extension cords
    200 amps of available power
    One man lift!

 

Figures 2007 -2008

How many?

The 110,000 PLUS lights consists of a few major display items:
    Three Mega Trees:
        "A" Mega tree - 35' tall with 20,100 LED's red, green, blue and white   
        "B" Mega tree - 25' tall with 10,510 LED's red, green, blue and white
        "C" Mega tree - 17' tall with  7,550 LED's red, green, blue and white
    Mini tress - 60 each - 42" tall with 300 lights each = 18,000 lights
    Merry Christmas sign - blue and red rope light approximately 1,500 lights
    8 trees along east side of driveway - white and blue lights on each = 15,000 lights
    Santa riding a Harley on the roof - 1,000 lights
    22 rope light snowflakes on the roof - approximately 4,000 lights
    11 deer and 22 trees in the forest = 22,700 lights
    6 - "Leaping Light Arches" = 9,600 lights
    LED icicle lights on the upper and lower roof line = 4,200 lights
    C7 white lights on the lower roof line/red on the upper = 398 lights
    over 100 strobe lights
    37 light control boxes with 592 light channels in use
    Over 5 miles of extension cords
    200 amps of available power
    One man lift - I love my lift!

Figures 2006

How long?

I started planning this years display about a week before Christmas 2005. I started buying lights after Christmas 2005. I began building control boxes in February 2006. I built most of the items during the summer months. I started putting everything out/up on November 1st and I barely finished by November 30th.

How much?

I'm not sure I want to divulge exactly how much I spent doing this but let's just say I spent between $4,000 and $10,000.

How many?

The 100,000 lights consists of a few major display items:
    Mega tree - 30' tall with 15,000 lights of white, red and blue.
    Mini tress - 50 each - 42" tall with 300 lights each = 15,000 lights
    8' wreath - 1000 white, 800 red and 800 green lights
    Merry Christmas sign - blue and red rope light approximately 1,500 lights
    8 trees along east side of driveway - white and blue lights on each = 15,000 lights
    Santa riding a Harley on the roof - 1,000 lights
    22 rope light snowflakes on the roof - approximately 4,000 lights
    11 deer and 11 trees along the front fence = 10,000 lights
    Custom three channel nativity star on the big fir tree with custom chaser lights - 2,000
    50 strobe lights
    18 light control boxes with 250 light channels in use
    Over 5 miles of extension cords
    200 amps of available power
    One man lift - couldn't have done it without it!