Simple answer: We spend time, energy, and money. More complex answer: Around mid-year we start discussing our layout plans. We then decide how much, if any, we are going to increase. Around October we start getting setup down and going through inventory. We begin building after Halloween with the intention of starting the day after Thanksgiving.
It's a labor of love. The entire family enjoys working on the setup and love the shows. My wife and I enjoy building and planning the whole thing. About the only really bad part is getting on the roof.
It's hard to say. We usually get a minimum of 3 or 4 stops a night. Each year has gotten bigger and more well known. Our neighbors certainly notice the uptick in traffic.
Getting on the roof and putting that all up. Special thanks to our friend Jae!
...It depends. There are costs associated throughout the entire process.
Not much, maybe $20 to $25 for the entire show. That might be less than most people's addition to their electric bill during this time, and that is due to several factors. We use only LED strands. You might notice the lights don't stay on most of the time. Finally, we have specific times during which we run the show.
If we are making a major increase in number of strands we might buy at a discount. That being said we don't usually increase in light strands that much. This means we pay the same amount as most others, with a few exceptions.
The software is pretty cheap. We use Light-o-rama products (more info below). Each controller setup costs approximately $400. For our first year, we bought pre-made extension cords at the big box store. Worst idea ever! Now we make our own extension cords. One thousand (1000) feet for less than $200.
We budget about $400 to $500 each year to increase the show and pay costs.
We start with a CTB16PC. This literally controls the lighting effects. We then use an Easy Light Linker to limit wires running around the house. Finally, on a computer in the house, we run ShowTime Designer Suite to run the schedule and each sequence with the music. To play the music on this website and the FM station we use Signstek 0.5 W 05B Dual Mode Long Range Stereo Broadcast Home FM Transmitter.
In 2017, we had approximately 6000 lights. In 2018, we increased to 8000.
The actual physical setup takes approximately 3-4 weekends, with various time spent on the weekday evenings. Sequence writing and planning takes quite a while throughout the year. Of course, we have 3 kids, so that may add a few hours into the equation.