Every year around this time as families get ready for Thanksgiving, my family is halfway through decorating the outside of the house with Christmas lights.
Now before we are scolded about celebrating holidays in the order in which they appear on the calendar, we have a very good explanation. You see, I am the other half behind the Carlson Christmas Light Show here in Harker Heights. Honestly, I really don’t do much other than point at where to put everything.
Years ago we were able to put the lights up and have everything ready to go in a week. Of course that was way back when we only had about 2,000 lights and a light show in a box programmer, like the one you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes.
Slowly we kept adding lights and eventually decided we wanted more control over the programming and thus a commercial grade programmer was ordered last year. We started last year with 11,000 lights; this year we are adding 10,000 more.
You can imagine that it now takes a lot longer than a week to put up lights. Not only do we have to physically map out on paper where the lights and decorations will go and what “zone” they will be placed in, but then we have to actually put them up and program them.
It takes roughly eight hours to program one minute worth of music and we have around 10 songs, which equals out to approximately 40 minutes of music. Go ahead and do the math; that is 320 hours or roughly 13 days just in programming alone. Keep in mind that is if you program non-stop with no sleep or rest for a solid 13 days.
It’s not so bad this year, as the songs are already programmed from last year; except we added another 16-zone controller, which means reprogramming the songs to include those 16 new zones. We are also adding an additional song to this years show.
This is why we are out decorating come November 1st. It’s not because we want to skip over Thanksgiving, it’s because we want our city and our neighbors to be able to enjoy a local area light show that is right in their on backyard.
For the record, we are having a huge Thanksgiving feast. I will be preparing two turkey’s, 48 rolls, three green bean casseroles, 48 deviled eggs, 10 pounds of mashed potatoes, along with a ton of pies and other fixings. I know, it sounds over the top, but I am feeding the guys that are on shift at Central Bell County Fire & Rescue as well as the soldiers and their families in my husband’s unit that have no where to go for Thanksgiving.
If you want to keep track our light show, just visit our Facebook page at fb.com/CarlsonLightDisplay.