Friday, December 5

A Little Peak at the Fun that Christmas Crazy Can Be

Yesterday I came across a CNN iReport Post about a house in Pittsburgh that has 210,000 Christmas lights. Yeah, it's not our house, but I kind of wish it were because the electrical upgrade required to power that many lights? Totally a dream come true for me (our box is maxed out, meaning I couldn't add another outlet if I wanted to). The video from the house is pretty freakin' cool, so I shared a link on twitter.

And was promptly met by Scrooges.

There were the "Imagine the electric bill" tweets.

There were the "I would hate to live next door to that" tweets.

There were the "That's way too much work" tweets.

There were the "That is going to give me a seizure" tweets.

There were the "There has to be something wrong with those people to waste that kind of time" tweets.

It bummed me out. Seriously, after watching the video? I was grinning from ear-to-ear. Sure, there is a lot of work involved in getting that many lights strung, but it's so totally worth it. One of my favorite things to do in the depths of December is to stand in our kitchen and watch people drive by our lights. We will end up with less than half the lights of that house (stupid builder and their stupid electrical box and stupid wiring GRRRR), yet people will stop outside and just smile. And smile. And smile. Especially kids. Kids will stand and shout, "Look! It's a snowman!" or "Look! It's Santa!" as they point to various lawn thingy-a-majiggers. I'm not a big fan of light sculptures, but I do have a few, and they always brighten kids' days.

Never one to be deterred by SCROOGES, I picked up Alexis from daycare today and immediately asked if she wanted to go see some Christmas lights. She is her mother's daughter, so of course she said yes. We high-tailed our way over to Whitehall to see THAT house.

In person? It's incredible. The synchronization of the lights to the music kicks ass. It is, of course, more subdued in person since video tends to exaggerate lights. I smiled upon realizing that one of the neighbors is clearly in on the gig since the display extends well onto their property. Alexis and I sat in the car with our windows rolled down mesmerized by the lights and music for well over 30 minutes.

Then we heard it.

The whining.

Someone who had made the effort to drive to see the house was standing outside being a Scrooge. They went on and on about all the negatives to having a so many lights--the expense, the work, etc. It was a long laundry list of excuses adults use, and complaints adults think need aired.

Wanna know what Alexis said when she first saw the lights?

"Look, Momma! It's so pretty!"

I'm so glad I still have enough kid left in me to be able to just enjoy some of the funner aspects of the holiday season without getting bogged down by adult worries. There's plenty of time for that kind of stress after the holiday season.

Look! It's so pretty!

All the whiny commenters on the CNN site? You suck.


  1. That was the most AWESOME THING EVER!!!!!!! Makes me want to hop a plane and come see it myself!!!!!

  2. I watched that video yesterday, it was beautiful. I'm not big into huge displays of Christmas lights, but that one is very impressive.

  3. every year the negative nellies weigh in and, like you, iu just don't care. the joy in my son's eyes is so freakin wonderful that i believe it is worth every penny spent.
    here is our local excessively awesome, wonderful display:

  4. I happen to think thats freakin COOL. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. I saw that on the news- I follow your blog, and wondered if that was YOU!

  6. I think it's awesome! And I think all those people with the negative comments wish they had thought of the idea themselves!
    We don't have local place like that around here, but there's great subdivision that we drive through every year because Every House is decked out in lights. Quinn looks forward to it every year - as do I!

  7. gotta say...that would be close to my Hubby's dream come true. He aspires to cover our entire house in white lights, like Clark Griswald.

    This year, we've got twinkle icicle lights all the way around, with big white lines outlining the rooftop & peaks of the roof. Next year, he plans to wrap the trees.

  8. I think it's great - but then I'm a huge proponent of the Christmas season. Don't get me wrong, I'm cheap and lazy so I get all of the SCROOGES' points, but still, think of all the joy (and maybe some profanity) that went in to all of that. And how many kids light up when they see it!!

  9. That is awesome. Both E and the husband were mesmerized, so clearly the magic is not lost on this family. I know there are some just like that around Cleveland, and we totally are going to seek them out.

  10. that was totally wicked!
    not something I would aspire to do, but can appreciate that someone else does. its sad that so many people feel the need to be so negative about, well, everything.
    I've only been reading your blog for a few months, but love it. Alexis is the same age as my Andrew; fun to see the similarities and differences.

  11. Anonymous9:25 AM


  12. I'm with you. Scrooges be Damned. Christmas FTW.

  13. People are douchebags. This is why lawyers have jobs and always WILL have jobs.

    My only complaint is it's not tacky enough of a display. I like seriously tacky lawn decor - like flamingos with Santa hats. HAWT!

  14. Screw the Scrooges! And if you haven't already, you need to make a trip to Hartwood Acres. Christmas lights AND benefiting a charity. What more could a Christmas-loving family ask for? I can't wait!!

  15. That is cool! I love the fact that they used that song, instead of a traditional Christmas song.

    Here's some info you might need...
    Hartwood Acres - Rite Aid Celebration of Lights

    Hartwood Acres, Indiana Township, PA
    November 21, 2008 - January 5, 2009
    Sunday - Thursday, 6-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 6-11 p.m.
    Admission: $12 per Carload. Buses are $5 per person ($3 for nonprofit organizations).
    Overly's Country Christmas

    Westmoreland County Fairgrounds, Greensburg, PA
    November 21, 2008 - January 1, 2009
    Sunday - Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m.
    Friday - Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.
    Weekday Admission: $8 per car or family van
    $10 per limousine, extended passenger van or minibus
    Friday - Sunday Admission: $10 / $12
    Oglebay's Winter Festival of Lights

    Oglebay Resort - Wheeling, West Virginia
    November 5, 2008 - January 4, 2009
    Open daily from Dusk - 11:00 p.m.
    Admission: a onetime $10 per car donation is requested
    Trolley tours are offered for $5 per seat.

  16. There is no such thing as too many Christmas lights. I think that display is incredible. I started listening to my Christmas music the week before Thanksgiving--just to make sure I would be in the holiday mood on time--and there were people who had a lot to say about that, too. Joyless people who don't see the fun in anything. If I had my way, from the middle of November until the middle of January, all negative thoughts would go unspoken. If one must whine about the awesomeness that Christmas can be for those who LIKE TO HAVE FUN, then one should whine only in the privacy of their own home. And stay there. So the rest of us can enjoy the fun...BWAHAHAHAHA!

    Too many lights? Pfffft!

  17. I think it's pretty awesome, and would totally do it if I had the energy or know-how. But I will admit, I do thik of the traffic it causes - being a worrier, I always think what if an emergency vehicle had to get through. Otherwise, very cool.

  18. Awww it IS so pretty! I never understood why someone else would care about someone ELSE'S electric bill? To me that comes under the whole 'mind your own business' thing. And obviously they (the family/house) believe its worth it and thats all that matters.
    And they're making others happy by getting to see all the pretty lights :)

  19. Yes, 210,000 lights can be extreme...but considering the joy this display has brought people for several years (hello-youtube!)...I'd say it's worth it in the end. Isn't the POINT of Christmas to spread joy?! Well, this guy's been spreading it all over the world.

    AND, as a theatre person and someone who used to be really good friends with a lighting designer...this took a LOT of work. Blood sweat and tears. It's not something he just throws up to blast out the neighbors with the takes effort and love...which shows in the display.

    It's not something I'd do personally...but you bet your rear I'd be driving to see it!!!

  20. That is so cool! Thank you for sharing....

    Don't let the scrooges get to ya--they would complain about the tire tracks on their yard if a big truck drove on their front lawn and dumped a pile of money.

  21. Beautiful! If I had the energy and the creativity to do something like that, I would - definitely!

    When I was a little girl, we used to all pile into the station wagon and drive over to this big neighborhood that did up the lights in a major way (though not programmed and synced to music, because - HELLO - computers were as big as a warehouse back then!) That is one of my best memories of childhood, and God bless you for giving that gift to Alexis. She will remember it always.

    Peace and merry Christmas - D

  22. Anonymous1:30 PM

    We usually take at least one drive around to see the neighbors lights, but I'm just not into this year. And, it doesn't seem like many of them are putting anything up.

  23. Ooh, I remember seeing that on the news last year. I thought it was pretty cool.

  24. Anonymous3:00 PM

    i think if it makes a little girl smile (and better yet, a little girl and her mom) then its all alright.

  25. Very neat! And to synchronize it with music? Must be the work of an electrical engineer! And being married to an electrical engineer, I have to admit, it is neat :).

  26. You mentioned the sharing on Twitter -but I thought you were upset with those of us on Plurk?? I'm not a scrooge, toots. I just don't get it. If you and A love it, that's wonderful. Ab-so-lutely wonderful. But, I don't think my not loving it as much as you makes me a scrooge. Bah humbug, lovah.

  27. That truly was awesome. I am a Scrooge, I will admit, however, I don't begrudge those that enjoy and embrace the holidays. I actually envy them.

  28. Many houses in our culdesac still put up lights. I just think how pretty.

  29. Personally? I think of the electric, the time, effort, etc. But I also appreciate that people are willing to do that because we all love to see it. There is a house in my old neighborhood in Ohio - the guy strings the whole thing up and then dresses up as Santa and sits outside and gives out candy canes and listens to what kids want for Christmas. I would never want to do it myself but I think that guy is awesome. I thank him every year. (Maybe I should send a donation toward his electric bill instead.)

  30. Oh and my husband the geek's first comment (after stunned silence) was "Wow, I wonder what kind of {insert geeky words beyond my comprehension here} he used to get the lights and music synchronized?" LOL

  31. Yeah,,,, i saw that yesterday, so cool! Amazing really,

  32. That is freakin awesome! I wish there was some great light displays here to see....with snow on the ground would make it perfect!

    I can't wait to go look at lights!

    THis is a website from a display in my hometown that shows the work they go to get the lights up and synchonized in my hometown Coldawater, Michigan!

    Here's the link for a little video of it! You'll love it!

  33. Oh and here's another link to it, I like this one a lot!

    Man I wish I could go home for christmas! Maybe I will just get in the car and go and surprise everyone!

  34. That was AWESOME!
    In BJ's the other day, I saw a music thing that you could hook up to your lights and they had a little display going. I cracked up and thought it was great. Unfortunately I have 2 Jehovah Witnesses living on either side of me and want to keep peace with the neighbors, so my lights are simple.

  35. That was freaking AMAZING!! I was grinning from the moment the bells started to ring. Thanks so much!!!

  36. Anonymous12:26 PM

    I think it's great. Would I personally do it? No. Why? I am far too lazy and the thought of what my electric bill would be makes me twitch. But, I DO love it. I love driving around and looking at people's light displays. It makes me smile and I appreciate that someone took the time and will spend the money to do something like that to make so many others smile.

    To the Scrooges that take the time to see these things and then complain? I say stay the hell home.

  37. I like it! I showed it to BEan and he was impressed! I want to do that to my house!
    Freaking cool.
    I ignore haters of Christmas lights.

  38. Wow! That house is amazing! I wish I lived nearby so we could add that to our list of houses we drive by each night!

  39. I think I was the one who said "that's pretty awesome. wait, did I just have a seizure?" or something along those lines - because it IS pretty intense. But still awesome :-)

  40. Luv it! Pretty, exciting and lots of fun. The music synchro thing is impressive.

  41. I love the lights. I get a tear in my eye when I see all the lights, especially when they are set to music. We spent the day putting our lights up, halfway there. If only I could set them to music, that would be awesome.

  42. I have to confess that I am one of those Scrooges that feels the need to say things like "that's so much work," and "think of the electric bill." But in my defense, it's more like a statement of awe and gratitude that they do it anyway, because we all know that I love me some Christmas Crazy.

  43. You will be thrilled to hear this:

    I sat here tonight and clicked on the video. I smiled, loving it totally. My oldest son popped up from the sofa behind me, asking what that was. When I told him it was a house in Pittsburgh, he said, "Cool. Love the snowflakes falling." When Bug walked in, said "AWESOME! How did they do that??", Jock answered, "Dude, they're Pittsburgh people." (like that explained everything!)

    Then they both decreed that we need to immediately move to Pittsburgh.

    We might need to look into that.

  44. @Sportsmama-You may have the smartest, most amazing family on Earth. I lurve them!

  45. GLad you two got to go see it! We've got one here in our little town too believe it or not. It's pretty much completely AWESOME. I could care less how much work or electricity it took because it's not mine to mess with! We watched it through about 4 songs. Have you seen those glasses at Lowes that turn each little light into shapes like stars & santas etc...they are the neatest thing!

  46. Absolutely awesome. Might have to take a trip to Whitehall with the family and check this out!

  47. I am going to be in Pgh for Christmas and would love to take the kids by that house. Can you tell me where that house is located? Thanks.

  48. @Judy--The address is:

    1736 Beryl Dr
    Pittsburgh, Pa 15227

    (It's in Whitehall, despite the Pittsburgh address.)

    The home owners have a web site. It's been mostly down for the past few days, but the url is

  49. After watching that video, only one thought came to mind: How could you *not* enjoy that?! I only wish I could see it in person ... Maybe when I drive to the 'Burgh to see my mom's side of the family ...

    It's colorful, catchy, and it's not hurting my electric bill ... What more could you ask for? But, I guess, there will always be whiners.

  50. That was freakin' phenomenal! My husband and I are still trying to figure out how the heck they synced it!!

  51. I totally enjoy looking at lights and I certainly enjoying showing them to my son. But I so so so don't have the desire to put them up myself. I'm not being a scrooge, just lazy.

    I'd much rather be a spectator than a performer in that aspect.

  52. That is so fantastic!!! I just got the biggest smile on my face, and a couple times my jaw dropped. I especially love the falling snowflakes.

    A few years ago, I saw a news article about a guy with the music/lights set up. He was apparently either the first or one of the first people to be doing that. He was a lighting engineer for the music industry or something (I might be getting the story all screwed up, so don't quote me). Anyway, I think the houses that put the time, effort and money into doing that are really wonderful to spread the holiday cheer.

    Oh, and my coworker watched the video with me and told me that they sell the machine to time lights to music at Costco! So I expect to see your lights set to music next year, BBM!

  53. You should go to Florida and Disney World, more specifically, Hollywood Studios to see the Osbourne Family light spectacular. We're talking over a million lights! And they dance! if I can figure it all out, I will post the video I took. Way cool, and I know that you would approve. :)

    Oh, and EPCOT's lights are pretty sweet as well, plus there is a fountain! :)

  54. Ironically, if you use LED lights it won't hurt your electric bill.

    Last year we pulled 53 amps...this year with LED lights we pull 13...we're still trying to be green as we possibly can.

    The most money spent on these kinds of displays happens with the controller's. Electricity is the least of it...

  55. Anonymous11:09 AM

    I grew up near that house.. they have been doing it for years. Its always so amazing!