My least favourite time of year is coming to an end. Yes, I am talking about the holiday season, and by holiday I mean all the American celebrations associated with November and December, like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Chanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s etc. And I’m not using the word holiday to be “politically correct”, because I could rant about the Pagan origins of Christmas and how it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ but I promise to keep my mouth shut and talk about other things.
Another holiday thingamajig is the tradition of going to see decorated houses. Even though Elburn calls itself a Chicago suburb, it is over 50 miles away and closer to Aurora, the second most populous city in Illinois. I also don’t think of it as a suburb because driving there was a scary experience with not a single street light or any sign of civilization anywhere. Last weekend I happened to be nearby in the Fox River Valley, so I thought I’d check it out because I am always looking for random and interesting things. I knew I’d have no trouble finding a big house in the country bedecked with over a million lights, 2,400 strobes, and six lasers, especially when I found myself in a traffic jam at 8 p.m. in the middle of freakin’ nowhere. Yes, there were hundreds of cars lined up on a country road, but luckily a 5 lane parking lot, sort of like a drive-in movie theatre, is located next to the house so people can sit in their cars and watch the Pink Floyd Christmas light show.
This is all the brainchild of Scott Larsen and his wife Angela, who started the Christmas display back in 2006. The high points were Christmas Eve 2012 when over 800 vehicles showed up and this past year when the family competed for a $50,000 prize on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. Did I mention this is no ordinary Christmas light show? The whole thing is choreographed to holiday songs broadcast from a low-power radio transmitter. You just turn on your radio, sit back and watch/listen as Larsen emcees the show. I stayed for about 3 songs. Lights and music are controlled by a computer network in Larsen’s home office. Programming a single song to the light display takes several days. And in case you’re wondering how much a million Christmas lights cost, well, the family uses energy-efficient LEDs, so the total increase to their electric bill is only about $200. And because it’s almost 2014, the Larsen’s Christmas Light Show is all over the internet with a Facebook, Foursquare (don’t forget to check-in or nobody will like you) and of course its own freakin’ website. Anyway, Happy New Year!