Alabaster family creates synchronized Christmas light display

Published 12:37 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2016

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Travis and Stephanie Rice of Alabaster have a lot of love for the Christmas season and are dedicated to sharing it with others.

The Alabaster couple has created a Christmas light display set to holiday tunes for the community to enjoy at their home at 210 Ironwood Circle. The show went live on Nov. 24 and will last until Dec. 24.

“We had lived in our home for several years, and my wife said she wanted to decorate the house with some Christmas lights,” Travis Rice said. “I started doing some research, joined some online forums, and in 2015 we had our first computerized Christmas light show.”

This year, the Rice family decided to bring the show back, which lasts between 20 and 25 minutes. It is sequenced to eight songs, seven of which are traditional Christmas songs.

Because every square inch of the display is custom-built, Rice started assembling items for the show in May.

“Everything you see in the show had to be assembled,” Rice said. “All of it is custom-built and none of it can be bought off of a shelf at a store. I would spend an hour or two each day after work putting it together.”

The show is designed for motorists to view from their vehicles while listening to the music from 106.1 FM.

“People don’t have to get out of their cars or put down the window to hear the music,” Rice said. “They can hear it from the comfort of their car so if it is cold outside they can stay in and enjoy it. We have a lot of people who will pull up in their cars and they will catch the middle of the show, so they will sit through the remainder of the show and then wait for it to start over. Or we will have some people drive by and only listen to a few songs and then come back later for the rest.”

The show includes 8,243 pixels, which is three LED lights combined on a circuit smaller than the size of pencil eraser. There are 24,729 LED lights and channels of data, more than 60,000 feet of wire and three computers that run the show.

Rice said the show runs Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. The show is available rain or shine.

Rice said his family’s main objective with the Christmas display is to make people smile.

“We want people to come by and enjoy it and leave with a smile on their face,” Rice said. “Christmas is so over-commercialized, and if people can come and sit for a short time and enjoy looking at Christmas lights then that makes me feel good. As Christmas gets closer I will go out and interact with the people and pass out candy canes. It is really neat for me to see the people stop by, and we hope anyone who wants to will come out and enjoy.”