Monday, December 10, 2012
Start your own “Christmas Vacation” with this incredibly lit house in Plano
Each second of music takes between 15 minutes and 1 hour to set up.
PLANO People driving down Westridge Drive in central Plano during December can be forgiven if they initially think that Clark Griswold has moved to Collin County.
This is not the case, however, as the 16,000-plus Christmas lights at 2708 Westridge Drive are actually owned by Jim Beckham, who has set up his over-the-top display -- much of which is choreographed to music -- for the past three years.
"I don't know why Christmas is so special to me," Beckham said. "I remember growing up all the neighbors were so friendly and I got to see relatives that I didn't see the rest of the year. When I am decorating for Christmas I am thinking about the good times."
The display features eight songs as well as a 16-foot-tall Santa and a 20-foot-tall lighted tree that Beckham dubbed "mega tree." As can be expected, Beckham spent hundreds of hours on his decorations.
"I do the majority of the work myself, but there are a few neighborhood kids that help me out," he said. "I start programming the musical sequences in June since each second of music takes 15 minutes to an hour to program. The day after Halloween I start throwing up decorations in the yard full force since everything has to be ready by Thanksgiving."
This year's display features 5,000 more lights then last year's, mostly because Beckham's next-door neighbors allowed him to put decorations in their yards. With the help of his two neighbors, Beckham said next year's display could be even bigger.
"I am going to ask my neighbors across the street if they want to join in," he said. "If that happens, we could be up near 40,000 lights. I think it would be really neat to be able to light up 20 10-foot tall trees across the street so people would be enveloped in the twinkling of the lights."
Even with all his lights, Beckham said his electrical bill will only increase by about $38 since he only uses LED lights, which require less power to operate.
While Beckham's display is on one end of the extreme, most homeowners who decorate simply hang up a few lights to show their holiday spirit. Those who want a professional-looking display that will wow their neighbors can plan on spending a number of hours planning everything out -- or they can simply call one of several companies that specializes in outdoor lighting.
One of those is Alfresco Living in Anna, which is operated by Jim Petersen. Some of Alfresco's work can be seen at the Heard Museum in McKinney, where Petersen strung up 3,000 lights along nature trails, and decorated 100 trees with additional lights.
Petersen said the company decorates residences throughout DFW, helping customers create the Christmas light display of their dreams.
"We decorate the roof line and can also do lights in the yard if that is what the customer wants," Petersen said. "We design the wiring harness to hide all the wires and also cut the lights to the exact length that is needed."
Alfresco uses LED lights, which Petersen said use about 1-watt per bulb, compared to 7 watts for an incandescent bulb, while providing the same amount of luminosity. This allows the homeowner to not only save money, but also to install more lights without the need to increase the amount of amps available.
Customers have the option to purchase lights from Alfresco, or have the company install lights already owned by the homeowner, Petersen said. Another option is for the customer to lease the lights from Alfresco for the year, with the company retaining ownership of the lights at the end of the season.
For information on Alfresco Living, visit alfrescolighting.com or call 877-544-4820.
Pegasus News Content partner - Star Local News
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