Decorating for the holidays at the Widmer house was much the same as everyone else, a few runs of C9's and a plastic Santa. The year was 1980 and we decided to go a little further. We sent away for a U-Build plan of Santa, Ms. Claus and the Reindeer. This required cutting out each piece and painting and assembling. This first scene can still be found in the rear display areas. They are a little worse for wear but still a favorite with the people.
From there we moved to creating the nativity scene and started adding at least one major item to our display each season. We began building motorized items and the merry-go-round was our first try at holiday mechanicals. We added several until we had a small home town fair.
Mini-lights started becoming more popular so we started retiring C9's and C7's. Then along came LED lighting which uses about 1/10th the power and so in the late 2000’s we began converting over to LED allowing us to expand the number of total lights and stay within our maximum amperage range.
We began to add sculptured pieces before they started showing up in every store in the bay area. We continued making scenes from wood, adding sculptured pieces, utilizing the new blow-ups for accent and of course topping off with lights.
We continued to expand from the front yard to the side yard to the rear of the property where we previously built a 8 hole miniature golf course. We now light 100% of our yard which is just under 1 acre.
We started decorating the inside of buildings and erect temporary structures to hold all of the current displays. The SPA was converted to a beautiful mini village. The grand-kids play house turned into a candy shop. Our Gazebo became Santa’s workshop. Mrs. Claus, Train Town, Disney, Rein-Deer, Penguins and Kinex, all have places of their own. Kim and Kris are the primary designers of all the inside scenes and spend considerable time getting everything just right.
We got into the computerized sequencing of lights in 2007 with some pre-programmed Animated Lighting products creating a new front yard scene sequenced to music. Since 2009, Craig Eicher, my son in law, has taken on the role of sequenced lighting programmer/designer and with Light-O-Rama product has created fascinating computer animation for our front yard. We have added several large light sequenced trees thanks to Craig's hard work.
Decorating has involved all of our family and takes 100's of hours to prepare the scenery for our December opening. We normally start repairs and painting in July and start working on the back yard scenes in early October.