Family Christmas Display


Each year builds on the previous foundation - I hope you can come back each year to see the latest enhancements! Below is a summary of the incremental yearly growth of the display. If you are a developer - or just curious - you can click on each year for more in-depth information.


This year Luminaries were added along the front of the display:

...and friends Phil S and Linda S donated a five foot wreath that perfectly fit in our Bonus room window


This is the first year we have offered a public web site that provides directions and background information about the Display, as well as Live information. Visitors can use their cell phones to navigate to the Display by clicking on the Directions link on the HOME page. Then, when on-site the Live Now Playing page keeps visitors apprised of what's on now, and what's coming up next.

This year a lighted sign was added showing the web site to visit to get more information, as well as the FM 89.3 radio channel to listen to the music broadcast:

...Lennon S., granddaughter of friends Phil S. and Linda S., and coached by dad Tony S., added delightful narrative messages that play between every few songs. Friend Brenda C. gave us Meter Shower lights that activate during each narration:

...and colorful lighted packages on the garage door,

...and five lighted wreathes on the doorposts.

Behind the scenes, for the first time I can monitor the health of all the components of the display, as each of the satellite units is queried periodically to report status and health information.


This year a six foot Volume Unit meter (VUmeter) was built, adding visual activity to the display,

...friends Charlie P and Dawn P donated strings of lights that were used to implement sequencing or "chase" lights,

...and Servos that panned six sets of lights in sync with some of the songs.

It turned out the servo lights, above the American flag, were not very visible without "fog" present to capture the effect.

Behind the scenes, WiFi was added to the Master unit that permitted me to see what songs were playing. In addition, the WiFi was used to command the display into several Light Test modes that were used to check for burned out lights bulbs or improperly functioning displays.


The most important upgrade this year was... <<<<< OPEN HOUSE >>>>>


This was a year of significant growth. A Master unit now orchestrates the whole Display. Music was added, transmitted for you to listen on your car radio on FM 89.3. The Master unit communicates wirelessly with numerous light displays that are placed throught the yard. Each has its own controller responsible for its own subset of lights, all synchronized with each other and with the music.

Many animated displays were added this year:
Fallen Arches

Red/Green/White trees

Warm White trees

Spiral Trees

Icicle lights


FM 89.3 signs

...and more.

Importantly, key design concepts were implemented that proved to be sound, allowing me to focus future efforts on adding new features rather than redesigning to overcome shortcomings.


The initial display was very modest. A single controller animated 24 strings of lights on three "megatrees" - a fixed pattern, no music, but nevertheless an attractive display celebrating Christmas. Oh, and a star on top of one of the megatrees :-) .