The Forums are back!

The old forums had a sorted history...

The Forums!

It was 1997 when the Internet was relatively new and the domain had just been granted. Back then you filled out a paper form, mailed it in and waited several weeks to see if you got the domain name you wanted.

I found some free software for a bulletin board application, installed it on the new PlanetChristmas domain, made a few posts and forgot about it. Several weeks later there was another post and after about a year there were a handful of Christmas decorating fanatics exchanging ideas. How we found each other is still a mystery to me because Google didn’t exist yet.

Over the years the forums kept growing. I kept updating the original bulleting board software but it kept crashing because the PlanetChristmas community was constantly  outgrowing it. Over the years we finally settled in with Invision PowerBoard and it has proved quite stable. We shifted from being called a bulletin board to being called a forum.

In the early days there were no rules and we all got along fine but it soon became obvious there were some very passionate decorators with very strong opinions and just about everything. January was always the worst time because the name calling and insults would really start flying. Multiple times I’d have to shut down the entire website for a few days so people could cool off and start being civil again.

Soon the PlanetChristmas rules came into existence. I wanted them to be simple enough for anyone to follow… and they still guide us today:

At PlanetChristmas we are:

  • Positive
  • Family Friendly
  • Christmas-Centric

The PlanetChristmas forums kept growing over the years. At one point there were over 22,700 registered users and multiple people were moderating the activity making sure we all stuck to the three rules. We even had our own digital publication called PlanetChristmas Magazine (pretty clever, huh?).

My favorite story was back around 2005 when the PlanetChristmas website was hosted on a computer in my office. Back then Internet access for servers was expensive so I ‘borrowed’ bandwidth from my company. I got to my desk early one morning and noticed I couldn’t access the Internet. Other employees started drifting in and they were all complaining of the same thing. I got a call from one of my decorating buddies saying the PlanetChristmas website was on the ‘CNN crawl’ pointing to a video of a house with computerized Christmas lights. I glanced over at the PlanetChristmas server and saw the disk activity light was solid on. It ends up the whole world was trying to watch the famous Carson Williams video of the dancing lights he had posted months before on the PlanetChristmas forums (see more about Carson at This was before YouTube. I suddenly understood why no one in the company could get out to the internet… because everyone was trying to get into PlanetChristmas. I walked down to our IT department, told the frazzled supergeeks what might be happening and they worked their magic to prioritize traffic. Later that day I was told to relocate the PlanetChristmas server.

A few years later Facebook took over the world. PlanetChristmas forum activity started declining as people drifted toward what was officially becoming social media.

I kept the PlanetChristmas forums alive mainly because there was a huge amount of Christmas decorating information gathered over the years.

In early 2022 we crossed the 50GB database storage limit of the PlanetChristmas host provider and they wanted me to shift to a new, more expensive plan. I shopped around for other companies and realized the PlanetChristmas forums had grown so large that they were becoming impractical to maintain. I compared it to needing to buy a bottle of water at the corner market but the only way to get there and back was to drive an 18-wheel tractor trailer rig.

I started looking at all that PlanetChristmas information and came to the sad conclusion most of it was so out-of-date that it was useless.

I ended up shutting down the PlanetChristmas forums. The website shifted to information-only and many of the old articles from PlanetChristmas Magazine were re-published on the revamped platform.

I updated the PlanetChristmas Facebook page hoping forum activity would end up there. I don’t know about you but there’s so much stuff flying around Facebook it’s mighty easy to wander down a useless rabbit hole when you’re looking for a simple answer to a simple question. Then I started to see some Facebook posts asking about the old PlanetChristmas forums and began to reconsider my decision.

Say hello to the modern PlanetChristmas forums. But… we’re kinda starting from scratch, again. All the old categories are gone and simple new ones created.

The Forums!

If you had logged into the old PlanetChristmas forums over the last four years your basic account was migrated to the new forums. Most of your profile information was left behind as well as your password. If you received an odd email from PlanetChristmas in September (2022) asking to reset your password, that was us. If you ignored the email you can log in to the new forums with your old account email address but you’ll need to click the link saying you forgot your password so the process of creating a new one can begin.

I view the new forums like still wanting to purchase that bottle of water from the corner market. Now I can walk there and back without having to worry about traffic and parking.

Now you know a bit more of PlanetChristmas history.

The Forums!

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