Get ready to hop in your car and be enchanted by the bedazzled holiday light displays of New England ― some quintessential, others with modern twists.
Some New Englanders start as early as October preparing their homegrown holiday spectacles featuring twinkling lights, enormous inflatables, cheery music and handmade decorations of all kinds. Now it's prime season and their time to shine. odm collapsible light manufacturer
The first outdoor holiday light shows in the U.S. became popular in the 1920s and commercial sales of decorative lights started to gain steam. Today, especially among New England's snow-covered winter landscape, they're a tradition and treat every December.
We created a "New England holiday lights road trip" of sorts for die-hard light seekers featuring a fantastic example of a display in each state. So gas up the car, pack some snacks, plug these addresses into your navigation system and get into the holiday spirit.
Vermont:Your guide to finding the best holiday lights in the Burlington area this year
Amarante's Winter Wonderland has nearly 20,000 likes on Facebook and is not to be missed. Beginning in 2010, the spectacle features 185,000 lights, a gift shop and charity giving.
Daniel Amarante sets up the massive display each year at his home on the corner of Route 101 and Pratt Road in Dayville. Amarante is nicknamed “Mr. Christmas Jr.," the original Mr. Christmas being Mervin Whipple, a man with a huge Christmas display for about 35 years at his home in nearby Ballouville that Amarante visited as a child.
In 2017, Amarante's Winter Wonderland was shown to millions of viewers as part of “The Great Christmas Light Fight” show that aired on ABC stations.
The display is open to the public to enjoy every night but Monday.
One of the biggest homegrown holiday displays in Central Massachusetts, Scott and Denise Weikel's house on Waite Street in Leicester has lit up every December for more than two decades ― and it's gotten bigger every year.
In 2015, when a video of their display received national attention via TV celebrity Marcus Lemonis, the town police chief recommended detail officers be posted on Waite Street for traffic control on the weekends. Lemonis ended up paying for all associated fees himself.
Eastern Massachusetts:Dreaming of a bright Christmas? Drive or walk through these holiday light displays
The Weikels' display, with more than 50,000 Christmas lights and 200 inflatables, is interactive. People are invited to walk their yard, and on many nights, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus are present. The hours are 5-8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
The Weikels operate a Facebook page for their light display where they've posted that 2022 will be their last year.
Last month, they wrote, "A big reason we do it, is to give people that may be having a tough time, someplace to go with their family where they do not have to spend money."
Through the years, the family has raised more than $50,000 in donations for charities via the display.
The lights are on! Sorry it is side ways | By Leicester Christmas Display | Facebook
What started with one man's commitment to providing a Christmas spectacle each year in his front yard has turned into a streetwide affair. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Al Bailey's creativity has inspired his neighbors to join in on the fun.
Bailey has been creating handmade Christmas displays for more than 35 years, and his home on Ocean Road becomes a different scene every December. Last year, it was the "Muppets." In 2020, it was "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and in 2018, "Peanuts."
For last year's "Muppets" display, Bailey got his neighbors involved and helped decorate most of the street. The display was lighted and accompanied by music every night. Neighbors also featured characters from "Ice Age" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas."
To find out how Bailey will put his skills to use this year and what the 2022 theme is, take a drive down Ocean Road sometime after Dec. 10 to see the street in all its glory.
The Winter Wonderland holiday light display at Slater Memorial Park in Pawtucket began in 1999 as an idea by two women, and is now a full-blown annual affair that works in conjunction with the city.
The 30-acre Christmas display in Slater Park calls itself Rhode Island's "largest Christmas display and festival." It includes 650 decorated Christmas trees, more than 100 light displays and 20 Victorian-style houses.
Lights and music are on all December long from 4 to 9 p.m. and the Winter Wonderland will also hold "festival nights," on Dec. 10 and 11, when roads are closed to welcome families into the display for activities.
Rhode Island shining bright:Here's where to see the best Christmas light displays in and near RI this year
213 Canterbury Road in Wells, Maine, is the home of Stan and Melissa Norton, which during the holiday season doubles as a light attraction and big fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Maine.
The Nortons cover their front yard in Christmas lights and set up a box marked “Make-A-Wish” that stands at the foot of their driveway, where people can drop donations to the Scarborough-based foundation that grants wishes to children battling life-threatening illnesses.
In Wells, Maine:Norton Lights makes dreams come true
The Nortons have been decorating their home every Christmas since 2006. They began presenting their annual light show – set to music at 88.9 on your car’s FM dial – as a way to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Maine in 2009.
The Nortons' website urges people to "come see our over 60,000 dancing bulbs and help us spread cheer one light at a time." The light show is held Sunday-Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., and Friday-Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m.
Maple Street Park in Essex Junction, Vermont, becomes a family-friendly holiday light spectacle with a magical lighted tunnel, trees and holiday music created by parks and recreation employees.
More:A national travel site calls 3 Vermont towns 'winter wonderlands.' Here are 3 they missed.
Led Humidifier Light Christmas music plays from speakers from 5 to 8 p.m. through Jan. 1, and kids will enjoy looking for hidden lit-up ornaments in the trees as part of the park's "Winter Lights Scavenger Hunt." People can print out a copy or scan a QR code hunt while entering.