‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through McBain 6
Not a student was stirring, not even a (rhymes with six)
When through the door St. Nicholas came with a bound
Triggering Christmas lights, a zipline, and Christmas sound!

These are surely the verses that Clement Clark Moore (CC 1789) would have penned had he chanced upon this McBain double containing a high-tech Christmas display, complete with fake snow falling from the ceiling, Christmas lights that flash to the beats of shuffled Christmas tunes, and a miniature Santa who ziplines across the room in his sleigh.

Astoundingly, it’s all triggered when you walk in through the door! Chief creator, Joe DelPreto, SEAS ’13, explains the magic of photoresistors is at work. “There’s a flashlight above the door that shines onto a photoresistor taped to the floor. When you walk in and break the beam, the photoresistor triggers the lights and music. It’s really a pretty simple process.”

It may be simple, but required lots of time and labor. “ I started working on it during finals week,” Joe recalls, “and I was almost done in time for break, but there were still some issues. So I actually finished two days after break.”

But pulling off this project takes a lot more than ingenious engineering. The display is spectacular specifically because it’s contained within a cramped McBain double. If this were a blind double, Joe might never have gotten permission to hang dozens of Christmas lights and a ziplining Santa over his roommate’s bed. But his roommate Juan Gonzalez, also a SEAS sophomore, has known Joe since early freshman year, and has a certain admiration for Joe’s elaborate vision. “It all makes sense when he explains it,” he admits, “but I could never think to do something like this.” That raises the obvious question: why convert your room into a motion-activated, multimedia Christmas display? “Simple,” Joe answers. “I just really like Christmas.”

Video and all images except the last from Joe DelPreto.