Source: Sherman Publications

Top this, Griswold!
Hickmott house features 58K lights that dance to Christmas music

by CJ Carnacchio

December 19, 2012

Jason Hickmott is at it again.

Not only did the 1996 Oxford High School graduate put up more than double the number of Christmas lights strung by the fictional Clark W. Griswold, he enlisted the aid of a computer and the radio to bring movement and sound to his holiday extravaganza.

“The lights are synchronized to music,” Hickmott said. “You can tune in, listen to the music in your car and watch the lights dance.”

“I started working on it after Christmas last year,” he noted.

Folks looking for a delightful holiday experience can visit Hickmott’s Metamora Township home – located at 190 Amy Lynn Drive – set their car radio to 100.1 FM and watch the dazzling, colorful lights move about as part of a 22-minute show that consists of nine or 10 Christmas tunes designed to melt the heart of even the most Scrooge-like people.

“I’m actually broadcasting,” Hickmott explained. “(100.1 FM) is a vacant station. You can’t broadcast on any station that’s being used. So, I had to find an empty station.”

Hickmott calls his radio station “The ELF.”

The show runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, it goes from 6-11 p.m. On Sundays, the display is active from 6 to 10 or 11 p.m., depending on the level of traffic.

“I’ll have it up until January 1,” Hickmott said. “I do it all for my family, friends and community. We don’t take any money from anyone. We don’t do it for that at all.”

And we’re not just talking about a few lights scattered here and there in a haphazard manner. Hickmott strung a total of 58,000 lights across his home and property.

To put that in perspective, Hickmott’s light display is larger than that of Griswold’s, played by actor Chevy Chase, in the 1989 classic movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Griswold strung a paltry 25,000 lights – and they didn’t even twinkle like they were supposed to. Thanks for noticing, Art.

This is Hickmott’s second time beating Griswold’s record. Last year, he had 25,712 lights glowing and twinkling every night. It’s interesting to note that if one were to lay all the extension cords that Hickmott’s used from end-to-end, they would span about a half-mile.

Take that, Griswold!

Hickmott started stringing all his lights around Oct. 15 and finished Nov. 15. But he didn’t activate the display for public viewing until Dec. 1.

“I wanted two weeks of testing – this being my very first year with all the electronics and computer control, ” he said. “You can’t really test it until it’s set up. I took two weeks to troubleshoot and make small changes, little edits here and there.”

Hickmott’s animated light display isn’t just about entertaining folks, it’s also a matter of necessity. Fact is, he can’t have all 58,000 lights burning at the same time. His house simply doesn’t have enough power. If Hickmott did that, he said he’d “blow” his home’s 200-amp main breaker.

The reaction to Hickmott’s display has been 99 percent positive. “So far, they all love it,” he said. “We have a lot of people that come back multiple times.”

All of Hickmott’s neighbors have been supportive of the display – “except for one.”

Hickmott had placed a sign along Metamora Rd. to make it easier for folks to find his home.

“One neighbor saw the sign and said, ‘I’m nervous about traffic,’ so he asked if I would remove the sign,” he said.

Not wishing to cause any trouble, Hickmott nixed the sign, but he finds it somewhat amusing because he believes the postings on Facebook generate much more traffic than a road sign ever could.

“I guess it’s all over Facebook,” he said. “A little sign on a back country dirt road is nothing compared to Facebook.”

Even Hickmott’s doctor in Lake Orion knew about his display.

“He goes, ‘I’ve had two patients tell me about your house – that I need to get out there and see it,” Hickmott said.