The Holiday Light Show
Fun Facts and Figures
Past and Present
- There are 34,500 LED lights on the Macy’s Magic Christmas Tree in six colors: red, yellow, green, blue, purple, and cool white, which breaks down to about 5,750 lights in each color. It is topped by a red Moravian (or Advent) star. The lights on the tree, the snowflakes, and the snowmen are dimmable.
- The rest of the light show has about 65,000 LED lights (the Parade studio attempted to do an actual count, but found it impractical to finish). Colors include red, yellow, orange, green, blue, pink, purple, warm white, and cool white. The LEDs use 90 percent less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs (which were from 5 to 7 watts per bulb in the old show). LED colors are purer than incandescent colors, and cameras sometimes have difficulty capturing the violet and white shades.
- The vertical strands have four steady LED colors: red, purple, blue and green. They also have two incandescent blinking colors: blue and white. These blinkers are still incandescent because the blink is in the bulb and is not controlled by the computer. LEDs are not developed enough yet to handle blinking.
- The old Wanamaker tree contained an estimated 23,500 lights, many custom-tinted just for the Show in shades of pink and purple, and the figures contained 29,000 bulbs. The show was fed by 1200 amps.
- When it was in use, the Dancing Waters (TM) Enchanted Fountain system used 3000 gallons of water. There was really no tank for the water. Rather, a heavy rubber sheet was placed in the balcony orchestra pit. It is fortunate that that sheet never developed any leaks in its long history of use. Restoration of the accompanying Fountain-and-Colored-Light Show on the balcony in front of the Organ case is not being considered at present because a redesign would be needed to protect the Organ and low-lying light and plug-in power strips that illuminate the case. Also Macy’s new Christmas tree is wider than its predecessor.
- The original Santa Express train engine weighed 700 pounds and the two cars weighed 500 pounds apiece. The entire Wanamaker light show—minus the tree—weighed three and a half tons.
- The original Magic Christmas Tree had 85 individual tree branches, topped by a cone-shaped section and crowned with a five-pointed star. That star had white, amber and blue lights. The figures had 23,635 individual 7-watt light bulbs. The vertical strings of lights contained 5906 bulbs, powered by 40 circuits so that the lights could be programmed to “chase” back and forth.
- The total electrical consumption during the 21 climactic seconds when the entire Wanamaker show was lit was a staggering 288,000 watts. Not everything could be turned on at the same time during the Grand Finale—the power surge would exceed the rated capacity of the feeder cables coming from the transformer vaults in the basement. Although this was a lot of incandescent energy, it was not wasted. The resulting heat helped warm the Grand Court.