Local Guy Makes THE App for the Holiday Season

It only took Mike Kane, a self-taught programmer from the Philly suburbs, three weekends to design his ChristmasPrism app. Late on Friday nights and early on Saturday mornings, before breakfast.

The app allows homeowners with Christmas light displays to upload a photo of their home to the ChristmasPrism app. People out hunting for cool Christmas light displays could then pull up the app and map them out. The app was originally just to showcase Delaware County which borders Philadelphia, and he expected about 50 users by Christmas. The user count just a little more than two weeks later: 55,000.

There are users in 40 states, including Alaska, There are even users in Puerto Rico.

The ChristmasPrism app is still only available in the Apple Store. But Kane was able to put together a website in all his spare time that allows Android users to map out Christmas lights in their browsers. You just can’t add houses on the website interface.

Kane also insists on approving all the images uploaded to ChristmasPrism, as a form of quality control and keeping the site clean. “So it’s been me and my wife late into the night with a bottle of wine doing all the approving,” he explains.

We used the app for the first time and loved it. I was not quite sure what all the different icons meant, but it seems that based on the number of likes a house gets, the icons change.

An elk means you have just a few likes. A snowman means you’re getting better. And it goes on from there up to a giant snow globe, which indicates you have more than 25 likes.

Here’s a house that has a giant inflatable Grinch (30 feet tall by one estimate).

I don’t know if driving around looking at Christmas lights is just a Philly thing, but it doesn’t sound like it. And if you like doing so, I can highly recommend this app. #DelcoStrong

*the picture up top is from a house that must have had a few hundred inflatables in their yard.

Sources used:

Delco Dad’s Christmas Lights Map App Goes National

A Philly-Area Dad Just Built an App That Lets You Find Houses With Awesome Holiday Lights

Christmas lights app by Delco resident offers pandemic-safe entertainment

62 thoughts on “Local Guy Makes THE App for the Holiday Season

  1. Sounds pretty cool. We take the grandkids out to view the Christmas lights here. There are competitions for the best Christmas lights here. Some of them are amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think it’s a great idea, but isn’t part of the joy of driving around, coming across some unexpected finds? Some things thrive on the treasure hunt principle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is nice to see a local guy do well. It still amazes me a bit just how hard it is to gauge the response to something new. He has become a victim to his own success. Great post, Jim, and perfectly timed!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m looking forward to his next app, the one that shows all the car crashes caused by people too busy looking at lights to keep their eyes on the road 😂

    All that electricity being used to power lights, all that fuel to power the cars driving around. Why?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were a few slow moving cars checking out the lights, but everyone seemed to be driving carefully.

      But yes, I can’t imagine what the electricity bill must be for some of these light displays.

      perhaps you can partner with him on your app idea 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I still don’t get the fascination with light displays or travelling to see them. Don’t you guys have other forms of entertainment that might be less damaging to the planet? We have people here who do that but they are generally thought of as idiots 😂

        I doubt my app idea would take off 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. That looks like a fun app. We drive around every year, looking and admiring. Our town is so small, I don’t think we need an app, as we already know where the best displays are.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You are welcome! 🙂 It was one of the first things my in-laws had brought up to me when I first met them. I really hadn’t thought of it before that. It was just so common to say Pa. that I didn’t think of it being strange! LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

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