There always seems to be that one family on your block who uses technology to push the limits of their holiday decorations. Ken and Rebecca-Ellen Woods of Fairbanks, Alaska have embraced the cloud to share their holiday decorations with the world. Their website, ChristmasInFairbanks.com, is rapidly becoming a viral sensation. When you first visit, you are greeted with a webcam feed of the couple’s remote Alaskan home.
The house is decorated with traditional Christmas decor, yet there is one twist. Visitors can control the Christmas lights with the click of a mouse. The links simply say “On” and “Off” for each specific lighting fixture. When you click on, you can watch the lights illuminate on the webcam feed above. The Woods family has mentioned that they utilize AWS EC2 instances to allow visitors to control their Christmas lights. Wood built the app and spun up the instance, initially thinking that the website wouldn’t cost much to maintain. As word began to spread about the cloud controlled Christmas lights, the family began to receive international press attention from various media outlets. “I used to say ‘This doesn’t cost us a lot, no worries,” mentions the Christmas in Fairbanks website.
“As of 22 Dec, the estimated bill for the Amazon EC2 server instance is $435.75, so if you’d like to donate we’d certainly appreciate it!” writes the Woods family. To help meet the shortfall, donation links can be found the Christmas in Fairbanks page.
In addition, John Zorabedian over at Sophos’ Naked Security blog claims to reached out to the Woods family to confirm that this website is not a hoax. “As I watched the live feed, I switched the tree on and off about a half-dozen times, at different intervals – and it worked each time, ” writes Zorabedian.