As long as there has been electricity, people have been decorating their homes with Christmas lights.
Inflatable snowmen, flashing Christmas trees and blinking reindeer have been lighting up Valley neighborhoods for weeks now.
Ruhenstroth holds a decorating competition among neighbors with the winner receiving bragging rights for a year.
Both Heritage and Minden parks have their gazebos lit up for the season, and Candy Cane Lane at Carson Valley Inn offers a peek into Santa’s workshop.
Bringing the Christmas spirit to others is why Wayne Kremer and his family put their home on display for a month each year.
The Kremers put on a 35-minute light show set to music at their Saratoga Springs home. They call it Nevada Christmas.
“I enjoy seeing all the people’s faces and how much entertainment and joy they get out of it,” Kremer said. “We’ve gotten letters from people telling us how much they enjoy it. It brightens their season.”
One of the families Kremer heard from couldn’t afford to buy Christmas presents for their children, so they brought them to the light show for their gift.
“If our display can lift the spirits of anybody out there, it’s worth it,” Kremer said. “That’s what makes me want to do the display.”
The Kremers spend about two weeks setting up the more than 46,000 lights. Wayne also spends about 30 hours sequencing each of the six songs.
Show pieces include a mega-tree, eight mini-trees, a mega-wreath with a 22-inch wide LCD screen in the center, and a happy holidays sign.
“I try to add something new and do something different each year,” Kremer said.
The centerpiece of this year’s display is the 21-foot tall, 1,200-pixel tree. Each pixel can be two million different colors.
“In years past I could only do one string of lights down the tree. I got bored with it going in patterns of different circles,” Kremer said. “The pixel tree allows me to do all kinds of things. The star at the top has 180 pixels in it. It turned out incredible. It’s more than I expected it to be.”
Kremer, an IT technician for GE, started decorating his house in 2001 just for fun.
In 2004, he began taking donations from viewers and giving it to a designated charity. Recipients have included the Carson Valley Community Food Closet, Backpack Buddies and Rebecca Martin.
This year, Kremer is asking the public to pay it forward.
“We were looking at all types of angles on this. This year, we decided to mix it up and find a way to help many,” Kremer said. “Every year it’s our gift back to the community, and it’s our best way of improving our community.”
The NevadaChristmas.com website states that paying it forward involves doing something good for someone in response to a good deed done on your behalf or a gift you received. When you pay it forward, however, you don’t repay the person who did something nice for you. Instead, you do something nice for someone else.
Examples Kremer gives include; giving up a place in line to someone who appears in a rush, shoveling a neighbor’s driveway after a snow storm, visiting an elderly neighbor or asking if they need anything repaired, buying someone a cup of coffee, or helping a new mother.
Kremer’s display has earned him a couple of accolades and sidejobs over the years.
In 2006 he received a global award for best animated display from Light-O-Rama, and Micronesia Mall in Guam has hired him to program their commercial display.
“It’s a lot bigger than mine,” Kremer said of the Guam display. “I’ve never been there, but I design it. They have a team over there that puts it all together.”
Display hours are 5:30-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 5:30-11 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“We get about 30 cars each night on average,” Kremer said. “Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is packed.”
Kremer lists some rules for viewing on his website to keep traffic flowing and his neighbors happy.
The lights display runs through Dec. 27.
For more information, or directions to the house visit www.NevadaChristmas.com.