How long have you been doing this? Christmas, 2020 will be our 9th year flashing the neighborhood.
How many lights are there? We estimate around 20,000 individual lights.
How much is your electric bill going to be? Believe it or not, the electricity bill from our first show year was lower than the previous non show year. If you think about it, most normal Christmas light displays get turned on at dusk, and stay on all night. Ours blink on and off, so they are off a lot of time. Plus, we utilize energy efficient LED lighting. So, electricity cost isn't an issue.
How much did this whole thing cost? We don’t know the exact cost, but think about this. Every string of lights you see has a pricey extension cord attached to it. There are 71 channels of lights, so that’s a lot of heavy duty fifty foot cords. Plus, the control boxes, computer programs, lights, hardware and other equipment also had to be purchased. So, it’s not cheap, but it’s worth it.
How long did this take to put together? We start planning each year in early Spring, designing what the display will look like, what will be added, and what we need to build. Construction starts in the summer, and everything gets put up in November. The additions each year took a lot of time.
So, do you just add a song, and the computer decides when to flash the lights? It's automatic, right? Oh, we wish! The largest part of the entire project is sequencing the lights. It's an entirely manual process. Each time a light goes on or off, we have to tell it to do so, using the software. And, we don’t just flash things randomly. We try to use the lights like another instrument in the music. With the additional controls we add each year, it takes about 2½ hours for each 10 seconds of song you hear. Needless to say, by the time we are done, we know the music very well.
Hey, I saw that (insert home store) is selling a kit to do this. Is that what you guys bought? No. The equipment we use is professional quality, specialized for holiday lighting, and not something you pick up at the local hardware store. We have 71 channels of light, the all-
Can you do this for my house? We're not going to say no, because if someone throws enough money our way, we would probably say yes. Just know, it would have to be a lot of money.
Can I see how this thing works? Sure. If you see us standing outside, come up, introduce yourself, and say the secret phrase, “Hey Light Guys! I like flashy things. Show me how this works!”, and it shall be done.
Who chose the music? There are some songs that just begged to be done, and some were requests by our family members. It has to be the right song and right arrangement, because even though there are some beautiful Christmas songs, they often don’t work to have lights flashed to them. Each year, we began listening to Christmas music in March to pick the songs that added be added that year.
What happened to the charity donation box? During our first two years, we collected donations for a local charity. However, people were confused, and somehow thought we were looking for donations to cover the cost of the display. It also was an arduous task each night counting, logging and securing the funds. So, we decided to no longer have a donation box. However, if you enjoy the show, and it puts you in the giving mood, then by all means, send a donation to your favorite local charity.
Do you guys do this kind of stuff at Disney? Nope. We’re just two finance geeks.
What do the neighbors think? They haven’t said anything. Don’t tell them. We don’t think they've noticed.