Houma family’s dancing lights usher in the holiday

Junior Auxiliary of Houma welcomes its newest members
December 16, 2014
Hint of Christmas: Christmas tree sales a family affair for Bowens
December 16, 2014
Junior Auxiliary of Houma welcomes its newest members
December 16, 2014
Hint of Christmas: Christmas tree sales a family affair for Bowens
December 16, 2014

Anyone driving Forest Boulevard in Houma may notice a particularly bright house with lights that appear to be alive.

Folks can see 50,000 lights of all colors dance to all of the popular Christmas songs created by Shawn Smith.

“The first time I turned them on they were awesome, but definitely needed some work,” he said. “Every year, I tweak it more and more until I perfect it. I think this year is pretty good.”

One of Smith’s favorite parts of the display is his mega tree. He got the idea from an online forum website lightorama.com. The 20-foot tree is a real doozy, but Smith loves how it adds to the display too much to not put it up.

“I had to rig it up because I am not a big person and I am terrified of heights so I am not climbing a ladder to get a star on top of a tree,” he said. “I use ropes and pulleys to get everything up.”

Smith got the inspiration after seeing the The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Orlando’s Walt Disney World.

“My wife and I go to Disney quite often. Her family is big Disney people. We saw the Osborne lights at Hollywood Studios for the first time,” Smith said. “I wanted to do my house Griswald style with lights all over. I thought I could make up a dance for them. I started researching, and ever since then, I have gotten more and more and more.”

Smith now has 64 channels that turn the lights on or off or make them twinkle. The channels allow Smith to create any vision he may have for his dancing lights.

With more than 100 sequences on his computer, he uses 16 songs including the “Hallelujah” collaboration on “The Voice” by Adam Lambert, Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera.

“I got that when the Sandy Hook tragedy happened. I got that song and made a sequence. I use that every year,” Smith said. “I have been using the same sequence the last three years for the most part.”

While Smith has been keeping things consistent in recent years, he finished a light sequence for the movie “Frozen’s” popular hit “Let It Go.”

Smith said the display has come a long way over the years.

He added snow to his display last year, which shoots out flurries every 10 minutes on the weekend. The reactions to the snow have surprised Smith.

“Believe or not, most of the adults passing by my house see the snow, and I can hear them say, ‘Oh my God, it’s snowing!’” Smith said. “Usually the kids go for the big Santa Claus in the window. It is on a big projection screen. We have found Santa letters in our mailbox.”

Smith spends a couple of hundred dollars every year on lights and other displays to add.

“A lot of people think I must be rich. Honestly, I am not. The controllers to turn the lights on and off are $200 if assembled, or you can buy it disassembled for $100. I have four of the disassembled controllers,” Smith said. “I have just accumulated the lights over the years. I usually buy them after Christmas when you can buy a box of lights for cheap. The green extension chords are considered Christmas items so those get marked down by like 70 percent so I buy a few of those.”

Smith has not only tried to make his light display better, but he has been collecting LED lights for cost efficiency purposes, although he does not even notice a change in the electric bill.

“The November bill is a couple of hundred and so is the December bill. The lights usually are not all on at one time, so that is why I don’t run it up as much as people think. I also have about 25 percent LED lights, so that helps, too,” Smith said.

The biggest change Smith has noticed is the amount of time it takes him to put it all out.

“I have a unique process when I take them down to know where the lights go. Before, I used to just take it all down and figure it out the next year,” he said. “Now I am not rushing to do it, I can get it done in three or four weekends.”

The display is visible at smithchristmaslights.webs.