See the Lights
Meet the Holiday Home-Glower
In 2010, you might have seen the Simmons Dancing Christmas Lights on 'The Early Show' on CBS, which named the California home the "Coolest Christmas Lights Display in America." And wow, what a glowstopper. Nearly every square inch of house and yard is draped in LEDs. We think Michael Simmons should also win an award for ultimate cheer-LED-ing.
For the 2013 season, the Simmons' display will compete against other extreme home-glowers on ABC's new reality show 'The Great Christmas Light Fight', which premiers on Monday, Dec. 9 at 9-10pm ET/PT (More Info).
Our interview with Michael Simmons:
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?
Michael: For 2013, we have over 200,000 eco-friendly LED lights -- all lights are 100% LED. All of the lights are connected to more than 3,500 computer-controlled lighting/animation channels and synchronized to music. Christmas lights are a year-round thing at our house. It takes us approximately four months. We start early August.
How many years having you been putting up your display? How did it become a tradition?
Michael: I have been putting up Christmas lights for almost 25 years. I've been doing it ever since I was a child. This is the fifth year doing an animated display where the lights are computer-controlled and synchronized to music.
What's your favorite part of your display or what are you most proud of?
Michael: The favorite part of the display has got to be the "house walls of lights." We can essentially make our house any color we want, and this year we segmented each wall section to give us even more creative effects. Also, this year we implemented RGB LED lighting which allows us to make each bulb of a light string do anything and be any color we want -- giving us unlimited creative possibilities.
If you were to dedicate your display to anyone or thank anyone, who would it be?
Michael: We dedicate our show to FIND Food Bank and the local community. I would like to thank all of the family, friends, volunteers, and especially Luis Lua. Without Luis' help, none of this would be possible.
Do you support any charity with your display?
Michael: We collect money and food donations for FIND Food Bank through a fundraising program we started called "Shine the Light on Hunger." It's a non-profit organization located in Indio, Calif. They provide food to more than 100 organizations in our community, feeding more than 90,000 hungry people. A $1.00 donation provides seven meals! Visitors can donate to FIND using text-to-donate from their mobile phone, website, credit card, or cash in the donation box.
And just for fun... What's your favorite holiday movie and song?
Michael: My favorite holiday movie would have to be 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'. I believe we have finally outdone Clark Griswold, which has always been a childhood dream of mine! My favorite holiday song is a tough one, but I would say it has got to be "Wizards In Winter" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I've heard the song more times than I would like to, but it's still a goodie and makes me have goose bumps.