Lighting up December nights12/24/08

Dec. 24, 2008

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

For the third year in a row, a Williston family is making the holiday season an audio-visual experience like no other.


    Courtesy photo
The Germain family’s light display, shown above at their home on Aster Lane, flashes to the tune of popular Christmas songs.

The Germain family of Aster Lane in the Meadowridge neighborhood has decked its house and property in a grandiose Christmas display. Don Germain, owner of the house and technical mastermind behind the display, said anybody and everybody is welcome to pull into his driveway and see the home.

The display is completely computerized and built by Germain and his 16-year-old son, Josh.

“He’s the wonder worker here,” Germain said of his son. “He’s Mr. Christmas.”

Josh also designed a Web site — — that gives a detailed explanation of how the display was set up and other information.

“Let’s Celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ, the Reason for the Season,” the Web site says.

The lights are designed to flash and dance along with music that can be heard on a low-frequency radio station, 88.3 FM.

The station can best be heard from the driveway, Germain said. The lights have been programmed to match songs on a programmed rotation, including the popular Christmas songs “Sleigh Ride,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bells.”

Germain said he and Josh begin setting up the display in September, by building sets in the yard and eventually decorating the house. Typically, the display doesn’t come down until a January thaw, Germain said, and barring that, not until the spring.

“It’s such a huge undertaking,” he said.

When the family started the “light party,” as Germain called it, the father and son used 35,000 lights. This year’s display uses 60,000 lights, he said. On top of that, Germain built all the circuit boards from scratch, as well as the 208 electronic switches that program the display to music. Germain has an electrical engineering degree from the University of Vermont to thank for his technical expertise, he said.

Germain said the creation of his family’s Christmas display couldn’t be done without his son’s involvement. In fact, Germain said he’s not sure how big the display will be when his son goes off to college.

“I can’t imagine what his house will look like when he owns one,” Germain said.

Being a very religious family, Germain hopes many people come by and see the show for themselves and get into the spirit of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ.

“It’s a lot of work we do and we’d really like people to enjoy it,” Germain said.

The Germain Christmas light display will run until New Year’s Eve. Anyone can stop by and check out the show, which runs daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, the show will probably run until midnight, Germain said. Visit for more information.