Q. Why do you do this?
A. Because I love Christmas lights. Its that simple.
Q. Why don't you publish your address?
A. In the past we ran a looping show, but overtime it generated more traffic than the neighbor or holiday could handle. So we scaled it back to doing 1 show a week, but then the traffic on those nights became incredibly heavy. So we've throttled back to just having the lights on statically and occasionally running them to music with a few family, friends, and neighbors a few times a season. We love doing the lights, more than you can know, but we also have to make sure we don't wreck the holiday. So we share them the best we can by posting videos.
Q. What is your electric bill like?
A. Our bill is actually really low. The entire show, for the entire season costs well under $15. All the lights are LED and they use 11 amps at peak usage. Back in the day when we ran a static show using incandescent, and far fewer of them, our power bills would be $150-200/month. In 2014 our electric bill for October and November was higher than it was for December.
Q. What do you neighbors think?
A. We have the best neighbors. We moved into this neighborhood a few years ago and have never regretted it. A few times each season we invite over our entire corner of the neighborhood. Everyone brings over their camp chairs and sets up across the street from the house. We put out some speakers and run through all the songs, which takes around 45 minutes. It's a great way to get to know our neighbors better and to kick off the season. Light displays are notorious for traffic, but we work really hard to keep traffic down to a minimum. We see this as a nice, Christmassy event with neighbors, friends, and family.
Q. What's up with the cactus?
A. We used to live in Massachusetts and we had a neighbor who had moved there from Texas. We loved their lights and they had several over sized cacti in the yard. Eventually, we moved to Texas ourselves and our first year there we found a rod iron cactus for sale along side the rode. Both my wife and I instantly wanted it for Christmas lights and we took it home and covered it with white lights. Over the years we've changed the lights out a few times and now it is covered with RGB pixels. It is the oldest and our favorite prop in the display.
Q. How many lights are in the display?
A. We don't know. We used to count, but it was hard to keep track of so we stopped. We say we have 25,000 lights since that is how many lights Clark Griswold had in Christmas Vacation. It would be wrong for me to eclipse my idol. In reality there are probably quite a few more than 25,000, but it doesn't matter how many lights you have. In 2014 I actually reduced the number of lights in the display by several thousand without impacting WOW factor.
Q. Where do you get the lights?
A. Unless something breaks mid-season and has no spare we buy all the lights at after-holiday sales. The 6' trees were bought on sale from Wal-Mart over 2 years, the Snowflakes came from Target, and the firesticks came from the grocery store.
Q. How do you film your display?
A. I use a Canon PowerShotS110, which has great reviews for low light video. I set the focus to manual and set it to infinity. I use a tripod to keep the camera steady. Sometimes I'll film the same song from different angles and then edit them into a single video using Adobe Elements before posting to Youtube. I film in silence and then overlay the music.