All the lights are taken down and put away, which puts the final bow on the 2020 Christmas season. The teardown was completed earlier this year than it ever has been in the past, we had some good weather early January then a really nice March which allowed me to get it all finished up early. We are also still under struck lockdown conditions so have no commitments with the kids. Being done by Easter is usually a good year, this year we were done by the spring solstice.
The last night of the show was Saturday January 2nd. The weather was nice and with the coronavirus restrictions in place we had no commitments so I could start the tear down immediately. The first pieces I attacked were all the ground decorations and the cover on the garage. Not all the ground decoration could be taken out as many of them were still frozen in with the snow or the cords were frozen to the ground (and I’ve learned the hard way about trying to force pull frozen cables). It was pretty depressing and quiet the first night without the lights 😦 .
Although I took down many of the decorative items I didn’t take down any lights as we still needed to support team Canada during their games at the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships.
The next weekend after the World Juniors were over I took down all the pixel panels. We had some really good weather in early January which melted all the snow on the roof, this allowed me to get down all the lights on the house and the last of the decorative lights in the yard.
I’d now got to a point where only the trees and some items on the ground that required significant thawing needs to be taken down. It got pretty cold for a couple of weeks in February (-25 to -30 most days and fourteen straight days were we didn’t get above – 10). I also bought a new TV in this cold spell so once it broke I wasn’t overly motivated to get outside the rest of February.
As we got into march the sun began to shine and the temperatures were above freezing which motivated me to get out and finish up the clean up, the first weekend in March I took down the lights from the tree’s. First was the Ash tree then the spruce tree.
The next weekend was the Pixel tree and anything left on the ground that had freed from the ice and the frozen ground.
Now it was just a matter of checking items each day and grabbing a cable or pathway light as the ice released them. Once the final lights were out the ground they could be packed away for the summer. Once all the lights were out it was time to reorganize the garage which requires removing all the lights, taking the car our and then packing away the light for summer. This is usually a day long job but its a good one because I have a car to drive at the end of it and access to bikes and other spring time things.
With that it is a wrap on the 2020 season. Overall it was a very successful season, we had much more traffic than we had seen in prior years. Some nights this caused me a bit of anxiety because of the number of people walking around and cars maneuvering for the best view. We also introduced the dancing Elf which made my kids feels part of the show and also seemed to significantly increase the amount of donations we saw when he was outside dancing.
Because of the reasons mentioned above we also had a successful food drive for the Calgary Food Bank. We collected just under 1,000lbs of food and over $1,000 in cash and online donations.
A big thank you to everyone who donated throughout the holiday season.
In 2020 we added the Flower Bed Lighting, Garage and Front Door Pixels, Pixel Arches, North Poles, Pixel Candy Canes, Pixel Stockings, Curtain Lights and a Star above the living room window.
We also added the following new songs in 2020: Jingle Jingle Jingle, We’re a Couple of Misfits, Mary Did you Know, I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
And that is is for 2020. Now it is time to start thinking of 2021, the first question is if I am going to do it all again. It takes a bunch of effort, around 60 hours putting everything up, about another 40 hrs of programing and about 20 hrs to take it all down and put it away. On top of that I am wired that I have to out do last year each year with usually comes with about a 3K investment in lights and hardware. There is also a significant amount of anxiety that I incur through October and November as I am getting it all up. The anxiety comes from the light and cable failures and weather delays that always happen as I am pushing towards the go-live date. I feel more on the fence than ever this year. If I do decide to do it again this year I am thinking of adding a pixel matrix to the 1/2 circle above one of the kids windows, adding more Arches, likely on the edges of each neighbors yard and maybe a few more spotlights and North Poles.