Hi there. I'm Mike M., and I live in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Like many others, I am also inspired by the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. By building my Christmas light display each year, I try to recapture the excitement and magic of Christmas morning for kids. Now as an older kid, I'm sharing my enthusiasm for the season through Christmas lights. Although my display pales in comparison to other productions, I'm quite proud of what my house has become during the Christmas season.
So why Rusty and not Clark? It's simple. The title of "Clark Griswold" in Burlington, Ontario, Canada will be forever held by Doug Musson. His display spread the joy of Christmas for many years in Burlington, and Southern Ontario. Having visited his display in the past, it added to my inspiration. Like the Musson family, I too am a former Calgarian. Call it 'western hospitality' to respect the original, one and only, Clark Griswold of Burlington, Ontario. I'm proud to carry on the Griswold tradition in Burlington, as Rusty.
(I am NOT related in any way to Mr. Musson or the Musson family.)
This all depends on what plans I have in my head. I have adopted the Gingerbread House theme from 2017 as my foundational template, so typically I start building the display around the 2nd week of October. If I decided to go with another theme, I would have to have my blueprints done by April at the latest. I start checking older strings and props typically in June/July, preparing a list of things I might need for repairs. At the same time, I start buying supplies. Regardless of when everything is hung, I do not turn on the lights until the first weekend after Remembrance Day.
Over the years, the technology for Christmas lights has improved. In 2017, 78% of all of my bulbs used were energy-efficient LED. In 2019, 91% will now be energy efficient. As I continue to convert the conventional bulb to LED, my wattage/amperage requirements drop, which results in lower power consumption. Hydro rates differ depending on where you live, but my display of ~4,500 bulbs in 2017 cost me an average of $1.02 / night.
For comparison, 1,000 incandescent mini-lights require 408 watts of power to run. The same quantity of LED mini-lights requires only 69 watts, or around 83% less electricity.
When doing my calculations, as a general rule of thumb for C9 LED bulbs, I follow:
100 bulbs = 9.6 watts = 0.083 amps
No. All electricity is provided through standard household outlets. Most household outlets are either 15 or 20 amps. As a general rule, you should never exceed 80% of a circuits maximum wattage capacity. A 15 amp circuit supports 1,440 watts at 80%, a 20 amp circuit supports 1,920 watts at 80%. By using 4 seperate circuits, I supply more than enough power in a safe manner to my entire display. (Please have a certified electrician validate and certify your circuits as safe. I am not a certified electrician, and do not warranty these values.)
No. I do this as a labour of love, and my payback is watching people on a nightly stroll stop to take pictures, or tell me a simple "thank you" when I'm outside or through an email. If you feel so inclined, please donate to your local food bank, as there are families this time of year who could benefit much more through that kind of donation. I am recognized as a Bronze Leader with the United Way, so if so inclined, feel free to donate to them.
The music/audio heard in my show, or shared in video on Facebook or YouTube is copyright by their respective owners. I do not own the song(s), nor do I profit in any way by their use. All music is purchased through retail methods, and can be proven via an auditable record of receipts.
A lot of research has gone into this, and although the build and control of the tree and props is relatively straight forward, there is an investment of time and money required. There are many vendors on the internet who provide the individual hardware components, do your own research before selecting a primary provider. I have yet to find any Canadian suppliers, but would love to hear from you if you are one.
There are many different ways to build a mega tree, the following list is what I use:
No. I build my light display purely as a hobby, in hopes of putting a few smiles on faces throughout the holiday season. I’m happy to provide tips or advice so you can build your own.
Any and all registered trademarks or copyrights used throughout the website rustygriswold.ca, or linked to from this website, are the property of their respected owners. No disrespect is intended, nor am I profiting in anyway through their use. Should you own anything used on this site, and would like it to be removed, kindly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org outlining your concern. No need to get lawyers involved. We can address your concern the Canadian way...through courteous dialogue or a game of street hockey. :)