sort of a blog, but not really

2020

Play List: updates of songs I've done in the past:

A Marine's Christmas Song; Marine Master Sgt. Robert Allen

Can't Wait For Christmas; Toby Mac ft. Relient K

Charlie Brown and Linus - the meaning of Christmas

Christmas Canon Rock; Trans Siberian Orchestra

Donde Esta Santa Claus; Augie Rios; The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 2

Emily's version of the Great Story of Christmas.  (See the October 3, 2015 post for more information)

Hallelujah Chorus; 

Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane); Elvis Presley; Elvis Christmas

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas; Gayla Peevey

Santa Claus is Comin to Town; Bruce Springsteen

Santa's Coming For Us; Sia

Up On The Housetop; Jackson 5

25 or 6 to 4; Chicago                    (new sequence!)

D

December 15th: I finally did it, I included a non-Christmas song.  However, it isn't in the regular rotation and will only play if you "vote" for it.  25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago.

November 28th: All the lights are up and working.

November 27th: The show is up and running, but without the mini trees and arches.

November 22nd: Started putting up the lights for this year.  This is a relatively late start.

January 1: Started taking down the lights.  

2019

Play List: includes mostly songs I've done in the past.

          New sequence:

Linus explains Christmas to Charlie Brown; from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

          Updated sequences:

A Marine's Christmas Song; Marine Master Sgt. Robert Allen

Can't Wait For Christmas; Toby Mac ft. Relient K

Christmas Canon Rock; Trans Siberian Orchestra

Emily's version of the Great Story of Christmas.  (See the October 3, 2015 post for more information)

Hallelujah Chorus; 

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas; Gayla Peevey

​Mele Kalikimaka; Bing Crosby; Merry Christmas

O Holy Night; Martina McBride; White Christmas

Up On The Housetop; Jackson 5

Santa Claus is Comin to Town; Bruce Springsteen

Santa's Coming For Us; Sia

Where Are You Christmas; Faith Hill

September: I'll be using the MIIP (Mobile Internet Interactive Playlist) from http://itsmebob.com/SD.html

With this the show can be controlled from your smartphone.  I had a kiosk with pushbuttons to select songs before, but this will be much better and you don't even have to get out of your car.

August: Programming every free minute.  Even though I'm using mostly previous songs, it is still a good amount of work to use the RGB's instead of just white and red lights.

 

July: My order of RGB lights has arrived.  Now I need to retrofit my window and door frames with the new lights.

May: Anxiously waiting for my order of RGB lights to be delivered.  I ordered them in early March.  This will allow me to change the outlines around the downstairs windows and the garage doors.  

2018

Play List:

Where Are You Christmas; Faith Hill;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR2WYVWI65M

A Marine's Christmas Song; Marine Master Sgt. Robert Allen;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT2WbneONWw

Can't Wait For Christmas; Toby Mac ft. Relient K;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTWtd6YXWSI

Santa's Coming For Us; Sia;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3EYjVPRClU

Silent Night; Robertsons; Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

I used a variety of videos and photos to create a video to accompany this one.

Mele Kalikimaka; Bing Crosby; Merry Christmas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEvGKUXW0iI

O Holy Night; Martina McBride; White Christmas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWfuoAmBgEs

Emily's version of the Great Story of Christmas.  (See the October 3, 2015 post for more information)

https://vimeo.com/114091479#t=49m09s

Christmas Canon Rock; Trans Siberian Orchestra;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo6VtQgyKHE

November.  I've been working on the show all year, but haven't had time to write about it.  Early in the year I ordered RGB icicle lights, and a couple more controllers from HolidayCoro.com.  With the old incandescent lights, if they weren't the right length we would just overlap them, no problem.  But with the RGB lights, every single one of them is individually controlled.  So, in the middle of summer, I put them up on the gutters, spliced some strings to make them longer (only up to 170 lights - that's the limit), made custom extension cables to the controller locations, and tested operation and colors.  Did a lot of cutting, splicing, soldering, and heat-shrinking.  Learned that the cheap soldering iron from Harbor Freight didn't work well; very frustrating.  A new soldering iron from another store made the work much easier.  Then I took it all down for the rest of the summer and did some programming, it's a little more difficult with the RGB's, but Light-O-Rama still makes it easy enough so that even I can do it.  I don't have any new songs this year, but they will still look different and better.

Something to note: although an RGB is capable of more than 16 million colors, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a pink that is 255,128,255 and one that is 255,129,254; each change is so slight that you can't notice.  So, you'll notice that my programming sticks to mostly greens, reds, blues, and purples, with some other colors thrown in for contrast. 

2017

Play List:

Where Are You Christmas; Faith Hill;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR2WYVWI65M

A Marine's Christmas Song; Marine Master Sgt. Robert Allen;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT2WbneONWw

Can't Wait For Christmas; Toby Mac ft. Relient K

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTWtd6YXWSI

Santa's Coming For Us; Sia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3EYjVPRClU

Silent Night; Robertsons; Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

I used a variety of videos and photos to create a video to accompany this one.

​Mele Kalikimaka; Bing Crosby; Merry Christmas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEvGKUXW0iI

O Holy Night; Martina McBride; White Christmas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWfuoAmBgEs

Hairy Christmas; Robertsons; Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

I used a variety of videos and photos to create a video to accompany this one.

Santa Claus is Comin to Town; Bruce Springsteen ("The Boss"); That's What I Call Christmas! [Disc 2]

I used a variety of videos and photos to create a video to accompany this one.

I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas; Gayla Peevey; Dr. Demento Presents The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD Of All Time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsvOrtcrA5c

Emily's version of the Great Story of Christmas.  (See the October 3, 2015 post for more information)

https://vimeo.com/114091479#t=49m09s

December.  I found time to add a few more songs.  My son did most of the programming for the Toby Mac song.  With a son and a nephew in the military, A Marine's Christmas Song has a special place for us.  One phrase of the song says "it's a tough hard life being a military wife"; well, sometimes it's hard for other family members too.  God bless our military. 

October.  I asked a coworker with a 7 year old daughter if her daughter had a favorite song, not necessarily a Christmas song, maybe something from the latest animated movie.  Without hesitation she said Where Are You Christmas by Faith Hill.  This will probably be my only new song for this year.  I also ordered a cheap projector and a long enough HDMI cable so that I can put it in the driveway and project video on the garage door (but only when the weather is good and I'm actually home).  However, the videos may not exactly match the audio.

May.  The RGB controller and lights finally arrived. Started putting things together.  Learned that the lights are way brighter than the incandescents and will be overpowering if I don't reduce the power.  Started reprogramming yet again.

 

March.  Started reprogramming some of my sequences to use the RGB windows.

 

February.  It's not too early to start planning.  HolidayCoro.com has a sale and I decided that my upgrade for this year will be to replace the incandescent lights on my upstairs windows with RGB lights.  So I placed my order for an Alphapix controller and enough strings of lights, plus some spare strings.

 

January 1.  The lights are off and I've started to take them down and put them in storage.

 

2016

Play List:

Silent Night; Robertsons; Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

Emily's version of the Great Story of Christmas.  (See the October 3, 2015 post for more information)

Santa Claus is Comin to Town; Bruce Springsteen; Now That's What I Call Christmas! [Disc 2]

Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) ; Elvis Presley; Elvis Christmas

Up On The Housetop; Jackson 5; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 2]

Hallelujah Chorus; Helmuth Rilling: Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra; A Classic Christmas, Handel's Messiah

Hairy Christmas; Robertsons; Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

Joy To The World; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Donde Esta Santa Claus; Augie Rios; The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 2

 

November 25.  Lights are on again. 

 

November 23.  The lights are almost all ready to turn on.  They will go on again the day after Thanksgiving.

It's been a busy year and I've only had time to program one new song.  It is "Silent Night" by the folks you love from Duck Dynasty.

 

2015

Play List:

Emily's version of the Great Story of Christmas.  (See the October 3rd post below for more information)

Santa Claus is Comin to Town; Bruce Springsteen; Now That's What I Call Christmas! [Disc 2]

Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) ; Elvis Presley; Elvis Christmas

Up On The Housetop; Jackson 5; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 2]

Hallelujah Chorus; Helmuth Rilling: Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra; A Classic Christmas, Handel's Messiah

Hairy Christmas; Robertsons; Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

Joy To The World; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Donde Esta Santa Claus; Augie Rios; The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 2

 

November 27.  Lights are on again. 

 

October 3.  I got permission from Emily and her parents to use her "Great Story of Christmas" which we heard at Calvary Church on December 7, 2014.  Supposedly, this was not scripted, but this young girl was simply asked to say what she knows about Christmas.  They used it at church, and you can find it with this link; press play and it should take you to the 49:09 point in the video.  The video from church is cool, be sure to watch it.  This isn't really a Christmas song - - it is more of a story.  But they put some music to it, and I thought that this was something that I could synchronize with the lights.

 

July.  After considering how much I invested last year, I decided not to add any lights for this year.  I'll add a song or two, and update a bunch of others.  A couple of the RGB strings broke, so I still had to put out some $$.

 

January 3.  Lights have been turned off.  Ice and slush on the ground; will wait for better weather to start taking everything down.

2014

Play List:

Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) ; Elvis Presley; Elvis Christmas

Santa Claus is Comin to Town; Bruce Springsteen; Now That's What I Call Christmas! [Disc 2]

Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) ; Elvis Presley; Elvis Christmas

Up On The Housetop; Jackson 5; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 2]

Hallelujah Chorus; Helmuth Rilling: Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra; A Classic Christmas, Handel's Messiah

Hairy Christmas; Robertsons; Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

Joy To The World; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

O Come, All Ye Faithful; Nat "King" Cole; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 1]

O Holy Night; Martina McBride; White Christmas

Donde Esta Santa Claus; Augie Rios; The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 2

 

December 21.  The show has been up and running since the day after Thanksgiving.  There were some bugs with the RGB Mega Tree, but I finally got it all figured out.  I also made a kiosk with eight buttons so that visitors can change the show.  They can pick the song or forward to the next song, and can also show a special sequence which display's a name on the RGB Mega Tree.  This kiosk is all possible with the LOR Input Pup controller. 

October 15.  Only about 10 weeks until Christmas, but just as important - - ONLY 6 weeks until Thanksgiving and time to turn on the lights!   Aaagghhh!   Where did the summer go?  I'm really running out of time and haven't done much programming.  I've only got one new song so far; hope to add at least one more new one.  Even without many new songs, it should still be a "new" show this year because I just ordered a Pixel Mega Tree Kit with 16 strings of 50 pixels each.  This is from holidaycoro.com.  I can't wait for it to arrive and test it out.  Then the fun begins; more programming and building.

April 12.  Trying to plan for next year.  Looking for new ideas, so I watched every video from Light-O-Rama's videos from Christmas Contest 2013 Part A.  That's 151 videos.  Actually, I started each video but didn't necessarily watch the entire length of each one.  There's a lot of good stuff there, from mega trees, CCR sequences, different musical selections, and even some flamethrowers!  I'll get around to watching Part B and Part C eventually.

March 16.  All the lights are put away.  At least I'm not the last person to take them down!

February 16.  Some items have been taken down, but still cold and with snow on the ground; maybe the lights will just stay up all year!

January 1.  Lights have been turned off, waiting for the snow to stop before taking everything down.

2013

I finally created a website - this one - you're looking at it.  Actually it wasn't "I" that created it, it took a 16 year old to set it up for me, but now that it's set up I can do the editing myself.

New hardware:

I wanted to add something to the lawn area in addition to the mini-trees.  A big addition would be what Christmas light enthusiasts call a "mega tree".  There's the traditional kind with light strings straight out, and the fancier spiral variety.  Both of those have considerations such as number of light strings, number of colors, height, materials for the pole, installation, and more.  Now with RGB technology there's the super-deluxe variety which would be a mega bucks mega tree.  Forget all that, I'll do some arches this year.

Arches:

While most of my lights are the old-style incandescent bulbs, I thought I'd try some energy-efficient long-lasting LED's for my new arches.  After emailing some suppliers asking if their LED's are dimmable, (some replied yes, some no, and some did not reply) I looked at the cost.  Each arch should have 8 sections of lights, so if a set of LED's is $10 and I want 4 arches, it would cost $320 for the lights alone; and that would be only one color.  After some research, I decided to get the COSMIC COLOR PIXELS from  Light-O-Rama.  I just got them a couple days ago, and found that I could get good results with 25 bulbs on a 10' arch, so a set of 100 will be good for all four arches.  This will be cool, with unlimited color possibilities.  I can't wait to show you.

 

 

Play list:

Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) ; Elvis Presley; Elvis Christmas

I Want A Hippopotomus for Christmas ; Gayle Peevey; Dr. Demento Presents The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD Of All Time

Hairy Christmas ; Robertsons; Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing ; Martina McBride; White Christmas

Hallelujah Chorus ; Helmuth Rilling: Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra; A Classic Christmas, Handel's Messiah

Donde Esta Santa Claus ; Augie Rios; The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 2

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer ; Ringo Starr; I Wanna Be Santa Claus

O Come, All Ye Faithful ; Nat Cole; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 1]

  

2012

No new hardware this year, just a couple new songs and updated some from last year.  We have Hallelujah Chorus again, but a different version.  The previous one was music only, no lyrics.  It took me years to find a version in which the lyrics are actually distinguishable, and I'm happy I found this one.  So far, this is the only Youtube video for which I included the lyrics as a caption.

Play list:

Christmas Canon Rock ; Trans-Siberian Orchestra; The Lost Christmas Eve

Donde Esta Santa Claus ; Augie Rios; The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 2

Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah ; Helmuth Rilling: Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, Oregon Bach Festival Chorus; A Classic Christmas, Handel's Messiah

Joy to the World ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Mele Kalikimaka ; Bing Crosby; Merry Christmas

Nutcracker Suite ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

O Come All Ye Faithful ; Nat King Cole; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 1]

O Holy Night ; Martina McBride; White Christmas

2011

Added another controller just to run 16 mini trees.

Built a backlit sign to bring attention to our radio station.  I got the idea and directions from a video on Vimeo; check it out here.

We're up to 5 controllers, capable of 80 channels.

We have about 10,700 lights.

Play list:

Christmas Canon Rock ; Trans-Siberian Orchestra; The Lost Christmas Eve

Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah ; Illinois Brass Band; Hark!

Joy to the World ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Mele Kalikimaka ; Bing Crosby; Merry Christmas

Nutcracker Suite ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

O Come All Ye Faithful ; Nat King Cole; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 1]

O Holy Night ; Martina McBride; White Christmas

 

 

2010

No new hardware this year, just a couple new songs and updated some from last year.

One minor adjustment was splitting some of the icicle lights into more channels.

Play list:

Christmas Canon Rock ; Trans-Siberian Orchestra; The Lost Christmas Eve

The First Noel ; by Joseph on his alto saxophone

Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah ; Illinois Brass Band; Hark!

Joy to the World ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Nutcracker Suite ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

O Come All Ye Faithful ; Nat King Cole; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 1]

O Holy Night ; Martina McBride; White Christmas

Up On The Housetop ; The Jackson 5; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 2]

 

2009

I bought one more 16-channel controller, so now we can control 64 channels.

We have about 9900 lights.

I added green and blue lights to the frames for the upstairs windows; these windows now have red, white, green and blue.  Also built frames to go around the garage doors with red and white.  Added white icicle lights to the blue ones on the higher roof line.

Play list:

Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah ; Illinois Brass Band; Hark!

Here We Come A Caroling ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Joy to the World ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Nutcracker Suite ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

O Come All Ye Faithful ; Nat King Cole; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 1]

Up On The Housetop ; The Jackson 5; Now That's What I Call Christmas! 3 [Disc 2]

 

2008

I bought a one more 16-channel controller, so now we can control 48 channels.

We have about 7700 lights.

I built some frames to hold the red and white lights around the upstairs windows (where I previously had 1 rope light for each window), also added red and white lights around the downstairs windows and front door.  Changed the bushes to red and white (previously had only one color on each bush).  Added red icicle lights to the white lights from last year.

Play list:

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) ; James Taylor; A Christmas Album

Deck The Halls ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah ; Illinois Brass Band; Hark!

Here We Come A Caroling ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Joy to the World ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Nutcracker Suite ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Sleigh Ride ; Phillips, Craig & Dean; Repeat The Sounding Joy

2007

My first attempt at a synchronized show.  I purchased 2 controllers from Light-O-Rama, one of them being a LOR1602W with DC-MP3, which runs everything else.

I also got the FM transmitter from an online reseller.

With the 2 controllers, I had 32 available channels, but only used 28.

Play list:

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) ; James Taylor; A Christmas Album

Deck The Halls ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Here We Come A Caroling ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Joy to the World ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Nutcracker Suite ; unknown artist; Contemporary Holiday Classics, Vol. 3

Sleigh Ride ; Phillips, Craig & Dean; Repeat The Sounding Joy