Display 2008

christmas08_03Our 2008 display is the Zajac family’s largest and most active ever! Last year’s 2007 display had about 40,000 lights. This year we are just over 100,000 – 95% are LED this year. If you see the display, the penguins and the candles (both called “blowmolds”) use regular household light bulbs. Other than the candy canes on the house, everything else is LED. In 2007 we had 320 individual computer-controlled elements in the display. This year, the count is up to 850! Each of 4 big trees has 80 separate items that can fade, blink, twinkle, shimmer, flash, etc. The remainder are spread around to even out the experience.

We have 4 songs this year. If you like the music please support the artists by purchasing their work online (links to Amazon mp3 downloads):
Anno Domine by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
• Penguin Lament by John Ondrasik
• The Little Drummer Boy by Go Fish
• Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies by Artic Express

This year has been a special year! It marks the first year, ever, that every single member of the family pitched in to help. Definitely warms the heart to stare down from our 21-foot “Little Giant” stepladder and see 7 kids working busily in the yard. Of course, as the weather turned colder the help required a little more encouraging…

Julie had a dual role – keep the toddler from doing more harm than good, but also keep the kids motivated. Julie (she is an absolute saint of a wife to put up with all of this) coordinated the stringing of the 8 “spiral” trees – 6-foot LED ropelight trees each wrapped with 16 additional strings to allow for some fun animated sequences.

Alexander our oldest child (now almost 16) split his time helping early in the season and during “crunch time” as the first of December approached. In a rush to get lights off of the trees (kind of laughing, my “rush” was actually in July and August!) I ended up with some pretty nasty balls of knotted lights. Alex helped untangle for hours on end. Most recently, he helped plug in more than 300 of our 850 extension cords. That might not seem like much, but laying in the snow, freezing, with specific instructions of exactly which cord has to be plugged in to which controller box – he did an amazing job! He also worked with Julie to wrap the spiral trees.

Michael (almost 14) had to avoid the lure of playing hockey in the street or Guitar Hero, and spent many hours untangling lights in the Fall. As December approached, he became the champion of the red/white/green strands tied vertically around each of 4 large trees. While he assembled the combined strands on the ground, I climbed the ladder to try and secure them to the tops of our trees. Somewhat amazed the trees didn’t just fall over, those strands (3 strings per strand, 16 strands per tree) weighed more than I thought. Michael also helped behind the scenes in the garage where things are organized.

Jonathan (11) gets the “workhorse of the year” award! Jonny helped lead the team of younger siblings to unpack new lights, sort them into bins, and helped organize the garage. Most recently he bundled up to stand outside with me solving some of the early problems we had with the wiring. Without a doubt, Jonny always had a smile and was frequently asking how he might help. So much appreciated!

Christopher (6), Melissa (8), and Laura (4) were the “runners” and enjoyed hanging out with us any time we went to work. They remain our apprentices to take on larger roles in the next years. Little Thomas (20 months) was our garbage boy. He threw away anything we gave him, plus, I think, some perfectly good strands of lights that disappeared one day!

Lyle, my mother’s new husband, also gets a big “thanks” for braving our first sub-zero day to help me finish plugging in the last 200 cords.