Have you ever seen those crazy houses with all the Christmas lights and wonder what would drive someone to spend all their time setting that up? Well this site is here to document one family's quest to do just that...
If you have seen the lights and enjoyed them please send us an
This year we decided to accept dontaions and give these funds to worthy causes. This year we selected Open Door Women's Clinic and Childs Play. You can drop off donations to the drop box infront of our lights. We also enjoy getting christmas cards and you can place these in the box too.
We were on Fox 49 on the 22nd of December 2009 see the clip here
2009 Videos and songs:
2008 Videos and songs:
Five years ago after my first son was born I noticed the simple joy he received from us driving him around looking at Christmas lights. I remember when I was a kid and what Christmas lights meant to me. They were a sign that Christmas was almost here. I have always loved Christmas lights and both my older sons (and most other kids) are awed by the lights decorating a house. 2008 was my first attempt to build a computer controlled light display. All the electronics were hand soldered and all the lights and display items were hand built during many months over the previous two years. 2009 year’s show had 30,000 lights. 2010's and 2011's shows have over 100,000 lights and more than twice the number of electronics to control everything.
2008 the first year:
In order make this a reality in less than a year means getting started early. In December of 2007 I started doing research on how this was done. Simply put, a computer controls the music and send a signal to relays that turn on and off the lights. (read more about this in the tech section). A little research led me to places that sell complete boards that control the lights at a very steep price. This was easily out of my price range for what I wanted to do. A little more research led me to www.doityourselfchristmas.com where I met a lot of friendly people who build animated Christmas lights (among other things) as a hobby. This was exactly what I was looking for. It would be a lot more fun to build the electronics myself anyhow. By mid July I had purchased the electronics and blank boards I needed. I have spent months separating multi colored strings to build solid red, blue and green strings for use in my display. I have also had to design and build the mini trees and frames for the windows and roof to make setup and storage easy. The last couple months before thanksgiving is spent programming the music and finishing up all the assembly. Being the first year I am doing this an electrical upgrade to the house is needed to make everything safe with GFI Circuits dedicated to the lights.
Setting up the lights:
When we started this adventure to build our Christmas lights display I do not think we knew what we were getting into. In the beginning I spent all my free time building the original electronics and lights. Diana gave me the freedom to play with my new hobby. Jacob was less than a year old and enjoyed watching daddy program the music on the computer. It takes over 8 hours to program a single minute of music. Gabriel was only 3 at the time and not much help when helping building and setting up the lights. This year Gabriel and Jacob have both been able to help build and set up lights. Bella too has been able to get involved, with focused direction. I take two weeks of vacation from work to set up the lights at the end of November. This year it took three weeks to get things working. If you are interested in learning more about how to build your own display and electronics or just want to help, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We love to get emails from you. We have even
gotten a few Christmas cards last year (the kids loved opening
those). If you would like to send us an email please send it to
Michael and Diana, Gabriel(6) and Jacob(4) & Bella(1) + Logan (1month)