Luckily, the Puglias encourage people to come witness to breathtaking show. For the past four years, Chris Puglia, 18, a senior at St. John's
Setting up the show is a little more complicated: Each string of lights is connected by an extension chord to one of eight controllers, each one handmade by Puglia. Inside
"The most time consuming part is synchronizing the lights to go on with the music," said Puglia.
With the help of a low-power transmitter, Puglia is able to broadcast his playlist to the radio station.
"There's no actual radio station that broadcasts to that frequency," said Puglia. "The FCC allows you
This year, Puglia has also begun to ask for non-perishable food donations to give to the Townsend Ecumenical Outreach.
"I saw how many people were coming last year and thought 'How can I make Christmas even better for even more people?'" he said.
Before Puglia starting adorning his parents' home four years ago, the family had never strung lights up along their home.
"We have a really long driveway, we don't really live by the street, so no one would see them anyway," said Puglia.
But after seeing the lights of other people's homes, Puglia came up with the idea for the show. Now, the several-hundred-feet driveway serves a purpose, allowing for ample parking to see the show, which has become more and more necessary over the years.
"Last year, on Dec. 23, at one point we counted 15 cars in the driveway," said Puglia. "I sometimes go out there hand out candy canes and stuff like that. Everyone always seems to love it; they always want to bring back their friends."
The first year, the display was not animated, but after stumbling across an online "how-to" forum on devising electronic controls, Puglia decided to give it a try. By creating the controls himself, the cost was significantly reduced.
"I didn't have enough money to buy all the stuff like that," he said.
The entire project takes up to a year to complete, with Puglia spending a couple hours a week on it. In January, he begins with buying new lights for the following year and devising a playlist and design concept. In February, he starts purchasing the necessary electronic components that he needs to build the controlling boards. When March and April come around, that's when the hard work really begins: The programming.
"To program a full three minute song usually take me about 20, maybe 30 hours depending on the complexity of the song," said Puglia. "I have to listen to it a lot of times to get all the beats straightened away."
The set-up begins in November and usually lasts through Thanksgiving. Then the show debuts only a few days later.
Puglia first began experimenting with electronics around age 10 He has built an electronic scoreboard in his backyard and a motorized moped bike. Next year, he plans to go to college to get his degree in electronic or computer engineering. Although he hopes to continue the show in the future, it depends on his time allowance once he is in college.
But, he said, "I'm optimistic."
Puglia has set up a website with photos and directions at ChristmasInTownsend.com.