Why do you decorate so much?
Good question! In fact, we have dedicated a whole page to answer this. You can read the answer here.
How many lights do you have?
To be honest, we don’t really know, and we don’t care. Our display isn’t about the number of bulbs, or items, or watts… We’re not trying to be the biggest or the best (which is good, since there are other displays in the Twin Cities area with over half a million lights…) we’re just trying to help others have some fun and spread the Good News of the Christmas season. If we had to take a stab, I’d say we have somewhere around 40,000 lights.
How long does it take to set up?
Setup is only part of the equation. The displays need to be constructed, the lights need to be sequenced with the computer. Old strings need to be tested and repaired, as do old displays. Some of this work happens in the spring and summer when few people are even thinking about Christmas. We start the actual setup in late October or early November, starting with the lights in the trees and other things that aren’t so noticeable, then as Thanksgiving draws closer we work for hours getting everything else out. We try to get it done on evenings and weekends, but if necessary, a day or two off work can help get things finalized. We don’t have a grand total of hours, but it’s a bunch. And then as soon as January 1 hits, regardless of the weather, it all starts coming down, which takes a lot of time too.
Your electric bill must be huge! How much power does it take?
It’s a lot less than you might think. First of all, the majority of our display is LED lights, which take a fraction of the power of the standard lights we used to use in the early days. Secondly, since most of the display is computer-controlled, typically at any moment in time, only a fraction of the total lights are on at the same time, which helps keep the overall number of lit lights much lower than if we ran the entire display as “static”.
Isn’t the whole thing just a big waste of power and resources?
That’s a matter of opinion we suppose, and depends on one’s own personal definition of “waste”. The amount of power is really fairly minimal, compared to things like running air conditioning in the summertime, or doing laundry with your electric washer and dryer. The computer control helps keep the total power consumption down, and nearly all of our lights are energy-efficient LEDs. But all that aside, a lot of folks love looking at Christmas lights. It helps people of all ages get into the holiday spirit, and makes memories for people that might last a lifetime. Is that a “waste”?
How do you get the lights to blink to the music?
No, we don’t just have a “magic box” that we feed music into and have everything just work (although that would be much easier!). The computer controls everything, via a software package called Light-O-Rama. Each song is meticulously programmed by us for many hours per song so that each of our lighting circuits can react to different nuances in the music. Even if we reuse songs from year to year, these sequences need to be updated with additions and changes to the display. This can literally take hours of tedious sequencing time per minute of music you see when viewing the display. For more technical info please see this page.
When is the best time to come?
Weeknights the first half of the month are your best bet bet as that is the lightest traffic. Also the week between Christmas and New Years is typically fairly light. Weekends, especially the weekend right before Christmas, tend to be busy and you’d do yourself and our neighborhood a favor to avoid those, as sometimes long lines can happen. We also tend to run short shows on those busy nights (sometimes as few as a single song) to keep traffic moving. If you come during one of the light nights you can stay and hear many more songs!
Why do you have a Santa next to baby Jesus?
One of our displays is called “Kneeling Santa with Christ Child”. It is a blow molded plastic display put out by a now-defunct company called TPI in the early 2000’s.
The Kneeling Santa takes its inspiration from the passage in Scripture that reads, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” In the Kneeling Santa imagery, even Santa Claus, pays respect and homage to the Baby Jesus. Santa removes his Santa hat out of respect, bends down on one knee next to the manger of his Lord, and adores the Christ Child as his King.
Essentially it’s a way of saying that the traditions around Santa are fine, but they take a back seat to the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of the (very real) Christ child.
Do you take donations?
We don’t take donations. We consider our display a gift to the community and hope you enjoy it with no obligation to give anything. If you feel led to donate, there are plenty of great charities that need your donations to support their efforts. Thanks for thinking of us, though.
How does the radio station work?
One of the things we’re frequently asked about is the radio station. We’ve been asked “are you a DJ?” or people wonder how we get our music to work with “that station”.
Our “radio station” only works for a short distance right by our house, which allows it to not violate FCC rules. The computer that controls the lights also plays the music, and we have a small, low-power FM transmitter that broadcasts on FM 103.3, which happens to be an unused frequency in this area.