From a 300 light Christmas Tree in 1982, I expanded the display to over 6000 lights in 2002. My philosophy is more is not always better, and thus have kept in reserve, the 10,000 extra lights I had in my basement. In 2002 my system comprised of 3 computers, 12 relays, 6 power supplies, 6 strobe lights, 5800 lights, 12 micro-controllers, 14 motors. I added the meteor in 2002.
Due to the duty cycle of the lights (flashing on and off), my power bill was $1.50 extra per day, or $45 for the entire month the lights are on. An old PC ran a timer program and Power Point presentation and when the time counted down to zero, an output pulse from the computer turned on 10 relays that applied power to the entire display, whether I was there or not. All the computers were set to "boot" automatically. At 10:30 PM the same computer turned off the relays, and got ready for the next cycle starting at 6:30 PM the next day. On the monitor for the power point presentation I mounted a wireless camera with microphone so I could catch people's reactions and watch for vandals.
2002 was the last year I had the full display, anticipating a move across the country where I had to leave much of my equipment behind either sold or disposed of. At my new location I set up only the Snowflakes. Santa Playground is intended to be a "portable display" that I can take around to schools and community groups and is a work in progress.