See the Lights
Meet the Holiday Home-Glower
Everything's bigger and brighter in Texas. So James Schuck's glow-popping Santa-beacon is not just his own home, but includes five houses synchronized together for a scintillating show. He recommends anyone coming to visit to please park a few blocks away and to walk down to enjoy the display -- so the traffic and cars don't block the fun.
Our interview with James Schuck:
First, the two questions everyone asks: Approximately how many lights are in your display? And how long does it take you to put them up?
James: For 2013, we have added some additional LED ribbons and built some LED Modular assemblies to accent our peppermint poles, bringing the total light count to 58,348 LED lights and our channel count to 1812. Our show has five houses now synchronized together with about 100,000 lights. A sixth house on our cul-de-sac has a synchronized show also, with another 20,000 lights.
And how long does it take you to put them up? Build out will be 41 days and will go live Thanksgiving night. The triple mega tree has just over 10,000 lights and the weight of C-7 LEDs add up to several hundred pounds, which requires a lot of structure to be in place. There are 42 concrete anchors for our 32 ft. Triple Mega Tree, with multiple guy wires, which hold it in place. Every weekday afternoon, and all day every weekend until Thanksgiving, is spent physically putting up the lights and running cable, over 2 miles of extension cord and Cat 5 cable running four networks.
How many years having you been putting up your display? How did it become a tradition?
James: This will be our seventh year for synchronized lights. How did it become a tradition? Totally by accident. I was hooked the first time I saw Carson Williams' video. I had to learn how to do it.
What's your favorite part of your display or what are you most proud of?
James: The gingerbread trim is still special, but in 2012 we added two 10 ft. Nutcrackers, which have become big attractions.
You mentioned you had an interesting moment in 2012? What happened?
James: We were contacted by an individual who wanted to make a surprise marriage proposal at our display. With a little advance coordination we were able to get a sign with "will you marry Me" spelled out in lights and incorporated into the display one evening and it was fun. They got an applause from everyone as the proposal went down in the middle of the show.
If you were to dedicate your display to anyone or thank anyone, who would it be?
James: I have to thank my family for their patience and just letting me pursue this adventure. It takes a lot of time, and when you get into it time flies.
And just for fun... What's your favorite holiday movie? Is there any one celebrity you'd like to meet?
James: Movie: 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.' Song: "Holy Night" with Michael Crawford. Celebrity: Paul O'Neill with TSO.