Merry Christmas, everyone! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!
This is, by far, my favorite holiday. I love everything about Christmas — seeing the decorations, hearing Christmas carols, eating sweets, giving presents to my loved ones, and watching my favorite Christmas movies. And one of the things I love most about this season is the Christmas lights.
When I was a child, one of my favorite holiday activities was hopping in the car with my mother, father, and brother, and driving around various neighborhoods to marvel at Christmas lights. We had so much fun judging the light displays; colored lights were always a hit, rooftop Santas earned serious bonus points, and if a house’s blinking lights synced up with music, then it totally won in my book.
Last year my son was finally old enough to appreciate Christmas lights, so every night, once the sun set, we jumped in the car and explored various towns to see their houses lit up. Seeing the wonder on my son’s face was such a joy, and I’m so thankful that as my children grow older I can share one of my favorite holiday traditions with them. Plus, viewing Christmas lights is a great way to entertain kids in the winter as the sun continues to set earlier and earlier.
Since moving to Massachusetts two years ago I’m slowly, but surely, discovering the most amazing local light displays. Here are a few for you to check out this holiday season.
What’s a Christmas in Boston without a stop to see Boston’s official Christmas tree in Boston Common? The Boston Common tree lighting ceremony is December 3 from 6-8 p.m., and for the rest of the season visitors can marvel at the tree as well as the many lights illuminating the park. While you’re enjoying the lights in the Common, you can also make a stop at the Frog Pond to go ice skating. I had a great time last year wandering the park after we finished watching “The Nutcracker,” and it made for such a joyous day.
Faneuil Hall is my family’s favorite spot in downtown Boston, and Blink! makes this Boston landmark even more magical. Blink! is a state-of-the-art spectacle that uses 350,000 LED lights to illuminate the entire marketplace. The seven-minute show is set to the songs of the Holiday Pops; the show at the main tree at the Marketplace Center and the trees at the South Market begins at 4:30 p.m. and runs every hour on the half hour, and the show at the North Market begins at 5 p.m. and runs every hour on the hour.
On Saturday, December 19, from 4:30-10:30 p.m., the city of Somerville offers trolley tours so visitors can view the city’s best decorated houses. Trolleys leave from city hall and explore East or West Somerville. Coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies are also served at city hall, where there are additional activities for adults and children. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. This is a great event to experience the holiday spirit in Somerville and see some beautifully lit houses!
Animals and Christmas lights?! What more could you ask for? Visitors at Zoo Lights can stroll through illuminated tree-lined paths in Yukon Creek, which features bald eagles, Canada lynx, and arctic foxes. This event runs through January 3 from 5-9 p.m., and on certain nights children have the opportunity to meet and get their pictures taken with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and reindeer. Admission is $7-9 and free for children under 2.
If you have a child who absolutely loves trains, then this is the holiday display for you! Edaville USA’s Festival of Lights in Carver is one of the amusement park’s most beloved attractions. Passengers can enjoy an array of holiday lights, all while staying comfortable and warm inside a railroad coach. You can also roam the sprawling grounds while taking in thousands of Christmas displays. This event is included in the admission to the park.
Beginning in 2012, Scott and Denise Weikel in Leicester have opened up their yard and invited the public to tour their Christmas display — that would make Clark Griswold green with envy. The Weikels started setting up this year’s display shortly after Halloween because it takes approximately 400 man hours to create the spectacle, which will include around 200 inflatables. This year’s characters include Minions and the cast of Frozen, among many others. Santa Claus even makes an appearance on the weekends. This event is free; they do not accept any donations, and any money they do receive goes to charity.
Located in Attleborough, La Salette Shrine’s Christmas Festival of Lights features 300,000 lights spread out over 10 acres. The display is open daily through January 3 from 5-9 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. La Salette can get very crowded, but you can pack a picnic dinner and arrive before dark to ensure you get a parking spot.
Fatima Shrine’s Festival of Lights features numerous displays, including a beautiful nativity scene. This light display in Holliston is open daily from 5-9 p.m. and runs through the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). Like La Salette, Fatima Shrine can get very crowded, especially on the weekends. Last year, however, we went on a Tuesday night right as the display opened, and we had a great time. Because the grounds are so vast, and there weren’t too many other people visiting on the weeknight, we felt like we had the lights all to ourselves.
I hope you have as much fun as I will taking in all the beautiful Christmas lights in and around the city of Boston this season! For these events and more, be sure to check out our BMB Holiday Events and Festivities Guide.
How do you like to decorate your house for Christmas? What other holiday displays would you recommend?