What better way to kick off our Creative Energy blog than to spotlight a Houston family who caught the spirit of the holiday and lit it up, way up.
Three years ago, John Briers and his family had a discussion about why they only decorated the inside of their house for the holidays. John and his daughter immediately headed off to their Home Depot and, as John said, “Filled my Suburban with all the lights it would carry.” It was just a start.
The decorating has become a true family affair. While John and his 26 year-old son Michael do the heavy lifting, the entire family and extended family get into the act. John’s wife, an accomplished sculptor, designed a life-like Santa to ride and fiberglass sleigh built by her brother-in-law. The sleigh is mounted on a hydraulic scissor lift. Nieces and in-laws help to light every bush, tree and inch of the house.
Here are a few stats regarding their decorating efforts:
- 2500 straight strands
- Between 130,000 and 180,000 lights
- all are LED
- 900 man hours to install
- About $3.15 per hour to illuminate @ 5 hours per night for about 40 nights
An effort of this magnitude does require some planning. John says he and the family discussed what they wanted, deciding on something pleasant to the eye, kind of calm. There are no flashers or inflatables.
John owns his own contract construction business so his expertise in planning came in handy for developing a grid system for installing and dismantling the lights. They took painstaking care to straighten and align each strand, providing just enough tension to ensure that each of the 130,000+ bulbs stood tall and shined out.
Now creative energy isn’t always met with the same levels of enthusiasm. While most of John’s neighbors welcome the Briers’ display of holiday spirit and enjoy hot chocolate and popcorn as they visit, others made it clear that they didn’t care for it. John worked with City officials and Constables to make sure the house was never unattended while the lights were on to keep everyone safe.
The naysayers haven’t dampened the Briers’ enthusiasm. They installed an entire new electrical system in 2009, including a generator to replace their old one that helped to power three families during Hurricane Ike and that powered the lights. “We’ll be starting 35 days before Christmas on the 2010 display,” said John.
What keeps them going? “A mom and her kids came down from Cleveland, TX, just north of Houston, and stood in the front of the house with arms around each other,” John recounted. “One of the daughters looked up at the mom and said, ‘Don’t worry Mom, see, it will be all right.’ They had just lost their dad and the lights brought them comfort.”
Creative energy has the power to move people.
Labels: Axiom, Creative Energy