Here’s a prediction that can’t go wrong: Eucalyptus Avenue in San Carlos will deliver another shock-and-awe Christmas light show beginning tonight, December 1st. Expect traffic and lots of blinking and jaw dropping.
David Newman, who owns the two houses that arguably draw the most attention on the street, says he made some changes this holiday season.
First, he’s added LED lights. He’d like to add more but since they’re three times the cost of regular lights, he’s waiting for prices to drop before he stocks up.
“We’ve also brought in some real trees. We’re trying to get away from the plastic stuff,” said Newman, who’s added to his display every year for the last 20 years or so.
How can Newman afford to do all this? A little background is in order: Newman owns D&J Tile Company, based in San Carlos. It handles high-end commercial and residential tile and stone projects, including the Westfield Mall, the Ferry Building and the Cal Academy of Science in San Francisco, just to name a few.
This explains why Newman didn’t blink while explaining he spent $30,000 to install 300 amps of power for the houses, the outlets around the properties and all the special stuff built under the eaves to get everything set up. And yes, all those lights run on timers.
Newman notes the Frankoni’s across the street (the house with the giant Christmas tree) have a lot of lights, too, but do a better job in the decoration department. “I’m more into the lights, into the flash-bang,” he said.
Newman said a family down the street started the tradition. His contribution? We just bumped it up a notch,” he said, smiling.
FAQ’s. Posed to Newman..and the Answers:
How many lights are there?
½ million to ¾ million.
What’s the PG&E bill?
Last year: $4,000. This year estimated: $5,000-5,500 (The LSS wants to know the actual cost now that those darned smart meters are in!)
Where does he store all the stuff?
His business facility in San Carlos
How long does it take to put up all the lights?
400-500 hours and yes, he has help. About 4-5 of his employees assist. He also uses a cherry picker for those hard-to-reach places.
How long does it take to take down?
About two days. Some stuff gets tossed because it’s impossible to take down without ruining.
Where does he buy all the lights and decorations?
Everywhere. From Target to online. Newman doesn’t have one favorite source, although he says he prefers to buy products made in America, like the lawn ornaments made in Oklahoma.
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