|Timeline of Christmas at Dave's|
Christmas at Dave's is a tradition I began back in 1988. That first year, two strings of outdoor lights were strung at my parents house - one in a shrub and one in a maple tree.
The following year saw a set of white marquee lights in a pine tree and a set of multicolor marquee strung up a 35 foot tall radio tower on front of the house. A four foot star was added about half way up the tower midway through the season. The star was outfitted with 30 C9 (1970s era) Christmas lights. The arms of the star were made out of EMT electrical conduit. The last two inches of each piece were flattened and then drilled and bolted together.
1990 saw the tower transformed into a giant Christmas tree. Green lights formed the foilage portion and red lights formed the trunk. The star was moved to the top of the tower. The star remained lit well into 1991 as a reminder of troops fighting in the first Iraq War. Once spring time arrived, serious consideration was given to replacing the lights on the star as it drew over 150 watts of electricity and lit up the yard to where it shining in bedroom windows led to many sleepless nights for my brother whose bedroom window was at the base of the tower.
In 1991, the display took a turn towards its current format of telling the true story of Christmas. A two dimensional Nativity scene debuted illuminated by floodlights salvaged from the old sledding hill my brother and I had behind the house while growing up. Plywood cutouts had printed pictures glued onto them. Also, the star was equipped with mini lights.
1992 was the year a giant Christmas Card was displayed. My plywood Nativity Scene was on loan that year to my employer. The Christmas card was a left over from my grandparents when they sold their house and moved into a condomimium.
1993 saw me off to college. Over Thanksgiving Break, the wood cutout Nativity Scene returned with a few additional figures.
1994 saw the debut of a wireframe star. This star was smaller than its predecessor (3 feet across instead of four feet). But this smaller made storage easier as the four foot star was not disassembled for storage.
1995 was the year the display began to take on its current appearance. A half life size blow mold Nativity scene of the Holy Family debuted. The wood cutout Wisemen were reused this year to balance the budget.
The wood 2D Three Wisemen were replaced by plastic 3D versions in 1996.
The final wood cutout, an angel, was replaced by a blowmold version in 1997. An eight pointed star was built but never put into service.
1998 saw an overhaul in electric distribution. Rather than rely on powerstrips and three way adapters in plastic bags, the power strips were moved into cutom built wood boxes. The boxes have hinged lids and gaskets around the joint provide some weather proofing.
1999 No display as it was in storage due to two life changing events in my life: I got married and my grandparents passed away. In previous years, off season storage was provided by my maternal grandparents who lived a few blocks away from my parents. Unfortunately both Grandpa and Grandma had both passed away by the fall of 1999. This meant once their condominium was sold, I would lose my storage location. Being newly married, we were renting and thus did not have space to store it or a yard to decorate. A childhood friend of mine let me use an unoccupied stall in his horse barn for storage. He had his own outdoor decorations and thus did not need mine.
2000 The display resumed but in the front yard of a newly purchased home. For the first time, the display was lit from dusk to dawn instead of only until midnight or whatever time I had the timer set to turn off at. A small (6 x 12) room in the basement provided off season storage.
2001 In an attempt for a neon type look, the star was outfitted with purple rope lights.
2002 Falling ice destroyed the plastic manger. A temporary manger was built but its hasty method of contruction would lead to its demise in just a few short years.
2003 A store bought cedar stable was added. The back of the stable was after-market outfitted with electrical outlets which allowed me to eliminate one power distribution box.
2004-the purple rope lights on the star began to fail and were replaced with white rope lights.
2005-With its rope light failing again, the star was converted to LED lights.
2006, the temporary manger was replaced with a homemade cedar version similar to the original plastic version which I had saved a piece of.
2007 saw no changes. This was the first year where the display remained unchanged from one year to the next.
2008, a hand-made stable debuted minus its roof. The 2003 stable had deteriorated to where it was not usuable without major work.
2009 New 12 inch star. Nothing wrong with the old one exept I did not like how the lights looked on it.
2010 No display due to living arragements caused by a pending divorce.
2011 Display resumes at my fiance's house in Zeeland, Michigan. The angel was damaged in the m ove and not immediately replaced.
2012 New anchoring method utilized to keep figures from tipping over. Survived 40 mpg wind gusts without tipping.