HOUSTON – Extreme Christmas displays are everywhere during the holiday season, but extreme displays by entire neighborhoods are truly something special.
When the entire neighborhood gets into the holiday spirit, there’s just something about seeing it that makes you in awe of the community. Someone didn’t just put up some lights -- there was cooperation and, often, competition reinforced by a measure of holiday joy unmatched by other neighborhoods.
We combed through postings about neighborhoods throughout the United States and beyond and found these neighborhoods that fit that criterion. Click through each link and you’ll see a sampling of the holiday lights celebrations on display in each area. Which neighborhood is your pick for the best display? Let us know in the comments.
We had to start out with the neighborhood in our backyard. This neighborhood is massive and nearly everyone participates. Of particular interest are the cul-de-sacs and areas that coordinate their efforts. A cul-de-sac called Heavenly Hearthside , in particular, is an entire corner decked out in blue-white lights. Every house is given the same treatment. Take two seconds to think about that. Everyone had to go along with that idea for their displays. It’s just extraordinary. And then there is an extreme display of inflatables with a Ditto sign that we recently ran a feature on that shows neighbors having a good time with the over-the-top dynamic between neighbors.
Another neighborhood with a remarkable set of displays. These homes are massive and so are the Christmas lights displays. Who knew you could make trees look so beautiful? Definitely worth checking out. Here’s this year’s route.
Dyker Heights’ lights in Brooklyn, New York is a tradition for the neighborhood. According to the local lights website, “There are a few versions of how the tradition got started, local historians say it dates all the way back to the 1940′s. One of the well-known pioneers is Lucy Spata, with her famed house on 84th Street where just about every inch of the property is decorated. The Spatas have been decorating for more than 40 years and add a little more each year. In addition to keeping the family tradition going strong and putting smiles on thousands of kids’ faces from around the world, the Spatas‘ use this fame to give back to the community through charities.”
In London, Oxford Street is a shopping area that is lit up each year for Christmas. Though this isn’t a neighborhood effort, but a commercial one, it’s still quite beautiful and one we wanted to include on this list.
Jeremy and Lorraine Stevenson have strung together a display featuring 420,000 individual Christmas lights in the brightly lit yard of their Albany home, ABC News reports. The display is a fundraiser for a cystic fibrosis cause and inspired by their 5-year-old granddaughter who lives with the disorder. It isn’t an entire neighborhood display, but it definitely shows a community effort. Stevenson told the outlet the display took three people working full-time six weeks to construct and covers an area of 2,500 square meters or 26,909 square feet.
The Candy Cane Lanes:
Candy Cane Lane, Wisconsin and Candy Cane Lane, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania both have impressive displays. The name of the streets must help with the holiday spirit, no? We’re absolutely sure we’ve missed many Candy Cane Lanes across the U.S., but these are a couple notable streets. We love when communities get together to help a charity during the holiday season like the Candy Cane Lane in Wisconsin. Candy Cane Lane has been collecting donations for The MACC Fund fighting childhood cancer since 1984, and is responsible for over $3 million dollars in funding, according to this local website.
The lights are there and so is the community involvement, but we especially like the renewed efforts to reclaim the lights tradition in 2021 as the pandemic continues.
The Tacky Lights Tour owns it. Really. We adore that people are embracing this in Richmond, Virginia. It’s like they went to a Home Depot or a Lowes, bought everything in multiple and then fired it all up on the biggest patch of land possible. It doesn’t match. It isn’t always according to a theme. It doesn’t always look pretty, but it’s definitely bright.
In Baltimore, Maryland, 34th Street is considered a Christmas miracle of community involvement. The street residents light up and maintain the displays and it is quite a thing to behold. Here’s a great walkthrough tour.
Jeater Bend in Celebration, Florida has a great lights display that has a few more fun bits if you walk through. We especially like the bubbles that turn into smoke at one particular house along the tour and how creative people are getting with their projection lights. Truly something to behold - watch around the eight-minute mark. Plantation, Florida is also of note -- a big contender in light fights between neighborhoods in the state.
We love the fact that an entire section of a neighborhood in Gilbert, Arizona has its lights synchronized to holiday music. What a collaboration between neighbors! Take a look with this excellent tour.
The Waikele Christmas lights are synchronized to music and take up an impressive chunk of a neighborhood with neighbors competing to light up their corner of the world a little brighter. This feature covers all the best points about holiday lights spectaculars: its history, the neighbors and how newcomers to the neighborhood learn to fit in amid the overwhelming holiday spirit.
Where did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.