The Landon family of four was driving around looking at lights last winter, and a certain house in Plymouth really inspired the family.
"This house had synchronized lights and music and I thought, 'I could do that!'" Derek said.
Derek, a salesman by day, went to school for computer programming and electronics.
"This is stuff I know," he said.
Derek uses a program called Lightorama that allows him to control the lights and music from his computer. The unit he has controls 16 things, but he has hopes to triple that for next year.
Each night around 5:15, one can drive up, turn their radio to 89.1 and a variety of Christmas and pop music begins thanks to a FM transmitter Derek has programmed to play music from his computer. The lights starts around 5:30 p.m. and go until 9 p.m. on weeknights, 10 p.m. on the weekends.
You can vote for the Landons' display on Patch's holiday lights contest at now at deckthehouse.patch.com/contest/stmichael. There's a video of Derek's work, and it's pretty amazing stuff.
"It really merges two worlds I know really well," Derek said as he explained the set up and layout. The lights are all LED lights besides the Santa, the mailbox and the "Happy Holidays" sign.
"Because the lights are all LED, my prelit Christmas tree inside draws more power than everything outside," he said.
Even though Derek knows a lot about computer programming and electronics, the project was no small feat.
"It's not hard. It's tedious and time consuming, but I enjoy it," he said.
Learning the software and figuring out the timing of the songs and when lights should be on and off was the longest part and Derek estimates he put in over 60 hours.
"In order for it to look good, I needed to devote about an hour for every minute of the music."
To practice for the Christmas light show, the family did a smaller eight channel Halloween show and have plans to do the same again next year. Christmas will be even larger.
"Last year I hit all the after-Christmas sales and stocked up on the lights and materials I needed. I've already started stocking up on lights for next year's show," he said.
While the cul de sac traffic has been much steadier this winter, Derek hasn't heard any complaints, but he does recommend dimming headlights, and also not blocking neighbors driveways.
If you go:
Where:10420 30th Court NE St. Michael
When: Shows start at 5:30 p.m. each night ending at 9 p.m. on weeknights and 10 p.m. on weekends.
The light show will continue each evening through December 31.