Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! The display is on from 5pm-10pm, weather permitting through New Years Eve. Once again we are a drop off location for Toys for Tots and we have a supply of “I Believe Bells” available. Live video can be found here for those watching from around the world.

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Ready (or not), lights will be back soon

Much has happened since last Christmas.  I am a proud new Grandfather, the Cubs won the World Series and the country elected  a new President.   So, to celebrate at least 2 of the 3, I’ll give the display at least another year.   This year represents some key milestones:

  • 20th year for the display in our current home
  • 15th year for having a display synchronized to music
  • 13th year for collecting for Toys for Tots

Look for light around November 26th.  Live webcams again also.  You can follow us on Facebook (TwasTheNightBefore) or on Instagram (twas.the.night.before).

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Happy New Year Everyone – sponsored tonight by the numbers 500, 500, 500 and 1

Happy New Year everyone! Tonight will be the last night of the display and tomorrow starts the cold and sad part of taking everything down (takes about 4-5 full days to get everything down and packed away).

I started the season by referencing some key numbers about this year’s display. I figure I’ll end it on a similar note.

500: about the number of toys collected this year for Toys for Tots. Thank you to everyone who donated and a special thanks to Friendship Station, the bus tour from Bartlett that stopped  and donated so much and to Maxx and Theresa for hosting their own party and getting so many great toys.

500 (again): I never stopped to realize, but we gave out about the same number of “I Believe Bells” as toys were donated – pretty cool!

500 (once again): ok, now this is getting spooky 🙂 This is the number of times “Linus and Lucy” played this season (and multiply that over 14 years and well, it’s a lot of Linus and Lucy, thank you Vince Guaraldi).

1: I know that at least one person believes Santa lives in our house but I am sure the number is larger than that. 🙂 Thank you to all the little (and old) ones that still believe!

Hopefully, we will be back next year. Until then, Happy New Year!

New Year’s Week Update

Tonight starts the last 5 nights of the display for 2015. Monday, the weather looks a little frightful (ice, wind, snow), so if things are as predicted, the display might be dark or reduced hours. Thursday night is the last night and tear down will start early Friday morning. The music lineup changes a bit for the week with Auld Lang Syne being added midweek. Happy New Year everyone!

Christmas Week Update

Just a few reminders about the display this week: Wednesday (12/23) will be the last night we accept toys for Toys for Tots. The last night to get your “I Believe Bell” will be Christmas night (if supply lasts). Lastly, if you want to see our virtual Santa in the window, his last appearance will be Christmas Eve (as you know, Santa then has a busy night followed by a well deserved vacation). Merry Christmas everyone!

From Innovative to Old School

Fifteen years ago, I stumbled across a group of guys on the Internet trying to integrate technology, music and Christmas decorations into a new style of Christmas display.  There were already a few early pioneers that had already been successful and when I started, there were probably less than two dozen of us doing displays, synchronized to music being broadcast on low power FM stations..  Today, because with any evolving technology, as it becomes easier to use and more affordable, thousands of people are creating wonderful displays that are 10x more innovative that how I started.  When it comes to decorating, it is all a matter of personal taste.  It doesn’t matter if you put up a single strand of lights, a simple wreath or a million lights that transform into a stadium like experience.  All are great and all will reach an appreciative audience.

For many reasons, our display has stayed somewhat similar as it was in 2002.   Most changes have been subtle.  They display had been downsized about 25% from it’s peak, but in doing so, I think has become a little more intimate and retained its character.  Some of the newer LED technology is very cool, but sometimes it loses its warmth or its presented in such a way you forget about Christmas.

People ask, “Why don’t you do this…?” or “How come  you don’t do what this guy does?”  The answers lie in some basic facts: 

  • I want to stay creative, homemade and unique
  • TwasTheNightBefore is a Christmas display – not a holiday light show
  • I choose the music used and programmed in the display very carefully.  It must be Christmas related (both secular and nonsecular).  Not every song has to be up tempo or a rock version of a Christmas song.  I’ve included some slower tempo or ballad songs in the mix.  Some people find them boring, I find them inspirational.  Aerosmith has its place – just not in the display.

My  goal each year is simple:  I want to bring some Christmas spirit to as many as I can,  invoke emotions of a past or present Christmas, and hopefully bring a smile to your face in the process.

Everything is pretty much wrapped up in these Disney inspired lyrics:

Can you remember how Christmas makes you feel?
The special magic in the air, when all your dreams are real ….

TwasTheNightBefore has become old school and I kind of like it. 🙂