December 23, 2011
| by Rachel Cericola
We’re dreaming of a white Christmas. However, Kevin and Fran Thomas have something completely different in mind. If you’re anywhere within a 20-mile radius of this Kent, Wash. home, you’ll know that around the Thomas household, Christmas is all about reds, greens, blues, and every other color of the rainbow.
Since the age of 8, Kevin has been celebrating the holiday with grand lighting schemes. This year he’s planning to string a total of 150,000 lights, all of which will be automated and choreographed to music. Thankfully, that enormous display doesn’t translate into an enormous electric bill, thanks to Light-O-Rama software and hardware, and a few DIY tweaks.
“Our bill is only about $100 more for the month of December,” Kevin says. “Remember, when you animate the lights, they are mostly off. We do have static lights that are on before and after the show, but those are all LEDs. Just don’t ask me how much I spend on lights and other display things.”
Technology isn’t just a seasonal indulgence, though. Kevin, whose been known to go by the nickname “The Wire,” has plenty of other high-tech goodies, including security, lighting, CCTV, whole-house audio and a home theater.
The Christmas display is the big show, though. Kevin spends about five weeks setting up the display, which runs from December 1 through 31. That time is spent setting up lights, with up to 100 hours dedicated to setting the display to music.
All the time, effort and expense is well worth the reactions it elicits from people, says Kevin. “Many a parent has had to drag their kids off crying because they didn 1 want to leave,” he says. “That’s why I do it.”
If you’re in the Kent area, you can catch Kevin’s display at 18531 SE 224th Street. Plan your trip by checking out his holiday schedule at http://www.ChristmasInKent.com.
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.