“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!” – Dr. Seuss

Rusty Griswold Christmas Lights

WHO IS RUSTY GRISWOLD?

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 the Rusty Griswold Light Display has become during the Christmas season. 

So why Rusty Griswold 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, 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 Griswold.

(I am NOT related in any way to Mr. Musson or the Musson family, nor is my last name actually Griswold.)

WHEN DO YOU START HANGING UP LIGHTS?

I have adopted the Gingerbread House theme from 2017 as my foundational template. I typically start building the display around the 2nd week of October.  Blueprint designs for new props need to be drawn up and completed 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 begin buying supplies.  Regardless of when everything is hung, I do not turn on the lights until mid-to-late November.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON YOUR HYDRO BILL?

Over the years, the technology for Christmas lights has improved.  As I continue to adopt LED bulbs from conventional, my wattage/amperage requirements drop, which results in lower power consumption. Hydro rates differ depending on where you live, but my display of ~10,000 bulbs in 2021 cost me an average of $1.25 / 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

DO YOU USE ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF ELECTRICITY SUCH AS GENERATORS?

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 circuit’s maximum wattage capacity.  A 15 amp circuit supports 1,440 watts at 80%, and a 20 amp circuit supports 1,920 watts at 80%.  Using four separate circuits, I supply more than enough power safely to my entire display.  (Please have a certified electrician validate and authorize your circuits as safe.  I am not a licensed electrician and do not warranty these values.)

DO YOU TAKE FINANCIAL DONATIONS OR PROFIT IN ANY WAY?

In 2021, we accepted donations for SickKids Foundation and were pleasantly surprised to surpass our goal of $1,000 when we raised $2,445! Each donation that qualified under Revenue Canada’s taxation rules received a charitable tax receipt from SickKids Foundation.

Outside of that, 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 SickKids, as there are families during the holiday season who could benefit much more through that kind of donation. 

The music/audio heard in my show or shared in a video on Facebook or YouTube is copyrighted by their respective owners.  I do not own the song(s), nor do I profit in any way by their use through advertising credits or any other means.  All music is purchased through retail methods and can be proven via an auditable record of receipts.

ARE YOU AVAILABLE FOR HIRE TO BUILD ME A LIGHT DISPLAY AT MY HOME AND/OR BUSINESS?

The short answer is 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.

WHAT STORE DID YOU BUY YOUR ANIMATED MEGA TREE/GINGERBREAD MEN/CANDY CANES/LOLLIPOPS AT?

There is no store in Canada that I’m aware of, that sells these items ready-made.  I purchase materials from multiple vendors in and around Canada and assemble each item myself.

WHERE CAN I LEARN TO BUILD MY OWN LIGHT DISPLAY?

There are many resources available on the internet, as this hobby has attracted folks from around the world! By searching YouTube or Facebook groups, you will quickly find many examples of great displays along with helpful tips and instructions from other hobbyists. I too have begun documenting my journey in building my Rusty Griswold display within a number of articles on this website. Be sure to check them out!

santalights

OUR NON-LEGAL LEGAL SPEAK / CONTACT US

Any and all registered trademarks or copyrights used throughout the website rustygriswold.ca, or linked to from this website, are the property of their respective owners.  No disrespect is intended, nor am I profiting in any way through their use. Should you own anything used on this site, and would like it to be removed, kindly send an email to [email protected] outlining your concern.  No need to get lawyers involved.  We can address your concern the Canadian way…through courteous dialogue or a game of NHL 22 on the Playstation.  WINNER TAKE ALL! 🙂