The 2013 display features a few major upgrades. First, the flood lights for the house were replaced with a newer (and brighter!) brand that should prove to be more stable than the older lights. Hopefully, long gone are the nights when the lights “freak out” at 2am and start strobing/blinking because of a short or other malfunction. Second, 10 larger strobe lights are scattered around the yard for a more dramatic effect for key parts of songs. Otherwise, like the last few years, each bush and tree are covered with lights, on top of other lights, (on top of other lights!).
Like previous years, more than 1000 individual elements are computer controlled using Light-O-Rama hardware and software. For each minute of music, more than 3-5 hours of computer programming creates the animations again this year! While we do not count the number of lights in our yard anymore, we estimate we are well over 100,000 lights and 2 miles of extension cords tangled on the ground.
We have 3 songs again this year. Traffic tends to back up between 7-9pm, so we are keeping the length of the show around 8-10 minutes – this is out of respect for our neighbors who need to get in and out of their driveways without obstruction. As most people know by now, we are committed to using all Christian music and/or artists. If you like the music please support the artists by purchasing their work online (links to Amazon mp3 downloads):
– Because It’s Christmas – Sidewalk Prophets
– Amazing Grace (2008 Party Version) – Yule
– Gloria – Jason Castro
Even though the family is quite busy, everyone pitches in however they can each year:
– Alex (20) has been working so hard at college and his two jobs that he just didn’t have the energy to help this year. I know he would have been there for us if we really needed him, but we were blessed to have a few of the other children step up and help.
– Michael (almost 19) is off at college now at the University of Minnesota. During one of his weekends home, however, he spent an entire day out in the yard wrapping lights around tree trunks. Like his brother Alex, transitioning into adulthood doesn’t leave a lot of time for decorating anymore. Thankful for the experienced hand being there though if we call!
– Jonathan (16) has been quite busy with various extracurricular music activities as well as other typical teenager distractions. Thankfully, his commitment to our family display has not waivered – and he could step in and continue the display once I am no longer able. So very thankful to have some of the children always willing to jump up and help even in the cold/wind/rain/snow, and Jonathan is now the “kid leader” among our family helpers.
– Christopher (almost 12) was essentially “on call” for any single task, big or small, that we needed during the setup. Partnering with Jonathan on some days or working independently on others, it is amazing how quickly he has picked up some of the more detailed parts of this display. In fact, Christopher even helped with some of the networking (computer cables connecting the different controllers).
– Melissa (13), Laura (9), Thomas (6) and Bethany (almost 5) helped Julie take down the lights in the spring and were available to help with various tasks during our decorating season – without their help the display wouldn’t be possible!
– Julie is the glue that holds this family together, and her wisdom and efficiencies are just a pure blessing each season. People frequently comment “How can Bob do all that?” – the truth is, nothing I do would be possible without the work Julie does in partnership with me, in support of me, and the whole time maintaining the routines of homeschooling and household management. I always remark that my part is easy, I only have to do one thing at a time. Julie helps me, and does 9 other things at the same time to keep the family functioning. Thank you Julie!!!