How did this all begin?
The house started in 2001, when we bought it. In 2005, after we’d begun animating the lights with music, a YouTube video of our house got several million hits. Then in 2006, the city of Frisco approached me and said, “Hey, we’d like to take your concept and move it to downtown Frisco and get more people into the new Frisco Square area.”
That first year with your house, how many lights did you put up?
The first year was maybe 10,000 lights.
Did you have a conversation with your wife at that point, or did you just come back from Home Depot with 10,000 lights?
Came back from Home Depot with 10,000 lights, which was 100 boxes. Back in the day, you could buy a box for about $1.50, so it was about $150.
So you keep up with Christmas light prices.
Yeah, they’ve about doubled. I also import sets of lights. All the lights you see in Frisco, the Gaylord Texan. I sell lights to a lot of cities.
You’re a Christmas light mogul. LED or incandescent?
LED. I converted my house three years ago.
How many incandescents did you have at that point?
I had 85,000. The problem was, we couldn’t run anything else inside the house when the lights were on, because of the power pull. It was 180 amps, so the meter was spinning like in the movie Christmas Vacation.
Do I understand correctly that you didn’t do it at your house last year?
My wife—now my ex-wife—and I wanted to see what it would be like to have a semi-normal Christmas without people always in our front yard and driving by. We’d decided a few years ago to take a year off.
Did you get any negative reaction last year when your house was dark?
The only challenge we had is that we are one of the largest collection sites for Frisco Family Services. We collect canned goods. Last year, our donations were down. So this year, I’m excited to bring back the lights so we can collect more food for the food bank. That’s what Christmas is all about. It’s about giving back to the community through the gift of lights at my house and the lights in downtown Frisco. The other reason I really like doing the lights is, when I was a kid, I have memories of going to these one or two houses year after year, and it became a tradition in our family. For a lot of people in Frisco, coming to my house and going to Frisco Square has become a tradition.
What do you have planned for this year?
In Frisco Square, about 175,000 lights. They handle the install and pick the music. Relatively the same display at my house. But in 2015, we’re going to change it up dramatically.
Putting up lights is one thing. Taking them down is a chore that I hate. What’s your process?
At my house, it takes 10 friends and me to put them up. Taking them down is a piece of cake. The first week of January, my display comes down in about six hours with the help of one friend. It goes into about 50 numbered bins. Everything has a place. It’s very clean and organized.
Trykoski lives at 4015 Bryson Dr., Frisco. His lights will run December 7–27. For more places to see Christmas lights, check out the December issue, on newsstands now.