Dec 22

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A technacular Christmas in Portola

Who needs to go all the way to Noe Valley or downtown, when you have the house with the most extravagant Christmas decoration right in your neighborhood and in my case right next door?

Yes folks, I am talking about the house with Giant Santa on Felton St, and to be precise, a 16 foot tall Giant Santa, tied down by 8 cables. Last Sunday I walked over to 12 year old, David Gohstand’s house to talk to him about his masterpiece. David has been designing and decorating his families house on Felton street for the past few years.

David with his Dad- It all started with the reindeer by the lawn

David with his Dad- It all started with the reindeer by the lawn

It all started when his grandma took him to Big Lots and bought him a small motorized reindeer that was quickly installed in the lawn outside. He was hooked! Ever since he has been slowly adding to his Christmas collection resulting in the stunning display that captivates the interest of kids and adults alike and single-handedly amps up the Christmas spirit in the neighborhood.

If you have not made your way up on Felton street, you should, bring your camera along, cause this is a picture you will want to take and perhaps even post on your Facebook page.

Circuit Board that David built..

Circuit Board that David built..

What made my jaw drop is not the spectacular decoration or the mind-blowing size of Santa; it is the technology that controls these giant blow-ups. Yes, you read it right, it is the “Technology”. Each of those giant blow-ups are controlled using a circuit board that David built with the help of his father and it can be controlled from anywhere in the word via the internet. So let’s say that David travels to the North Pole to try and convince real Santa to show up for next year and he wants “Giant Santa” back home to deflate, all he has to do is get on the computer, execute some commands, and magic!

David at the computer explaining how the system works via the internet- it took him and his father 3 months to write the program.

David at the computer explaining how the system works via the internet- it took him and his father 3 months to write the program.

I think if there were ever a Bay area Santa, this is how he would like to be controlled, via the Internet. And what if there is a hurricane (aka many an evening in the Portola), what if Santa is in danger of being uprooted? Don’t worry y’all, David has that covered. He has a meter running that measures wind speed, and if the wind speed crosses a certain threshold, motors get cut-off and Santa just becomes a pile of nylon.

I know there are several houses around San Francisco with tons of Christmas decoration and even really exquisite ones like the one in Noe Valley (21st street), but I doubt that they have a wind meter, a homemade circuit board and a 12-year-old boy writing code behind the scene.

I asked David about his plans for next Christmas, and he told me it is a secret, but the one thing he did say was that he is going to use every inch of space left to launch his new decorations. As his neighbor, I know the only space left for decoration is his roof. So watch out, maybe you will see a giant space shuttle with a futuristic looking Santa landing on David’s roof next year!

The house decorated for christmas- 1940

The house decorated for Christmas – 1940

His advice for folks who wish to start on this festive adventure is to buy your decorations after Christmas, when they are on sale and also use LED lights to save on electricity. Wise boy. I personally am very inspired and will probably do my share next year to amp up the holiday cheer on Felton Street. You can find this wonderful creation at 1543 Felton Street.

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2013/12/technacular-christmas-portola/

1 comment

  1. shannon

    I love it! Thanks for sharing the insider view on those decorations. I live on Felon near Palega and sometimes went out of my just to take a look at that house. They are so great, that I made my husband take a ride with me and check them out one day too.

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