Three years ago, William Higginson had friends coming to town for Christmas. They wanted to see what Boise had to offer for lighting spectacles, so he created a crowdsourced Google map pinpointing Christmas lights around the Treasure Valley.
“I originally posted it for my Facebook friends and they liked it,” Higginson says. “And then I posted it to the Boise subreddit page and it really kind of took off from there.”
More than 60 homes are on the map this year, each with a little green Christmas tree hovering over their address.
“I basically just input an address on there and then it adds a place mark and I can add an icon. There’s little Christmas tree icons, and then somebody suggested I add a different icon for displays that have music next to them and so those are the little yellow music notes.”
He says the big trend now are the music-synced light shows, which require special equipment and months of programming in some cases.
“The music is then broadcast through a little FM transmitter that’s in the house and you turn your radio to the frequency,” says Higginson.
People also send Higginson descriptions, photos and videos. He says the Google Maps platform is meant for mobile, so families can pile in the car and go house-to-house looking for the best lights.
“I think that it’s a very selfless thing that people do, because it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort and it raises their power bill, and they’re doing this just so other people can drive by and admire and enjoy what these guys have to offer.”
So what’s his favorite light show? Well, he can’t pick just one.
“There’s a beautiful house that’s up on Johns Landing, and that’s kind of near Collister and Hill Road. And there’s no music or anything but it just has so many lights it’s kind of amazing. And it’s kind of a peaceful place you can walk through.”
If you have your own display to add to the map, send a note to Higginson: BoiseChristmasLights@gmail.com
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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