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Christmas light tours are a family tradition that brings us all closer together. Wrap your family in the light of the season this Christmas. Whether you’re able to visit one of the best Christmas towns in the USA or you are taking one of these virtual Christmas lights tours from the comfort of your own home.
Christmas in the USA is a combination of traditions from around the world. 18th-century England helped to change mistletoe’s image from a poisonous plant to a poisonous plant that’s also a festive kissing tradition. The idea of decorating with poinsettias came from Mexico, with the name of the plant coming from Joel Roberts Poinsett (the first US minister to Mexico). Evergreen trees inside homes were popularized in Germany during the 16th century. But, there is one favorite Christmas tradition with an All-American origin: electric Christmas tree lights.
In this post, we will cover the history of Christmas lights, why they are so popular, and where to see Christmas lights. We have compiled an overview of the Top 10 Christmas Lights Tours in the USA, with videos, so you can learn more about the best Christmas towns in America. If you are not able to travel this holiday season then you can still watch these videos below to enjoy virtual Christmas lights from the safety of your home.
History of Christmas Lights
The tradition of the electric Christmas tree lights started in 1882. Edward H. Johnson, a friend and business partner of Thomas Edison, put a string of 80 hand-wired red, white and blue electric lights on a Christmas tree. However, it took about 50 years for Johnson’s creation to become popular because the majority of Americans didn’t have access to electric power until the 1930s.
Why are Christmas Lights Tours so popular?
In 2020, more than ever, many families are embracing the joy of Christmas. Traditionally in the USA, we don’t put up Christmas Trees until Thanksgiving (which is the last Thursday in November). However, with the challenges of 2020, there was a growing trend to decorate earlier and start the holiday cheer sooner. I saw some Christmas trees and Christmas lights up before Halloween!
If your children are like mine, they love Christmas lights! One of our family Christmas traditions is to take my favorite Christmas Lights Tours near me. Now, we live in North Carolina where we have many local options to take holiday tours of the Biltmore Estate or see the Christmas trees and gingerbread houses at Omni Grove Park Inn. Christmas Town USA is not far away. And we recently took a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights and festive spirit at Dollywood.
Where to see Christmas lights?
Some families prefer staying at home for the holidays, but others are searching for a little more Christmas cheer this year. After all, not every town is overflowing with twinkling lights, holiday parades, sleigh rides, and Christmas carolers. If your hometown isn’t super passionate about Santa, then there are plenty of small towns to visit for Christmas. You may choose to travel with kids near the holidays and visit the best Christmas towns in the USA.
If you are not able to travel this year, then you can still enjoy the shining Christmas lights. We have compiled the Top 10 Christmas Lights Tours in the USA to bring the joy of the holidays and the sparkle of Christmas lights to your home. We hope you and your children will enjoy watching these virtual Christmas lights tours.
Top 10 Christmas Lights Tours in the USA
Here is an overview of the Top 10 Christmas Lights Tours in the USA, so sit back and enjoy these twinkling lights. And maybe one day in the future you will have the opportunity to visit these Christmas destinations in the USA with your family, to see the Christmas lights live and in-person.
1. Christmas Town USA – McAdenville, NC
Each season the quaint town of McAdenville, North Carolina becomes a Christmas wonderland. A Christmas tradition has been decorating the entire town in Christmas lights, as the vibrant little town transforms into Christmas Town U.S.A.®, attracting visitors from across the country. It began in 1956 with the assistance of Pharr Yarns, the largest employer and landowner in the town. Now the Christmas light tour has 375 lit trees and over 200 wreaths attached to city light poles. The lights are entirely maintained by volunteers from the community, and no admission is charged.
Christmas Town USA is one of the best Christmas light tours near me, but if you’re not local then you can enjoy the virtual Christmas lights in the video. More than 600,000 vehicles visit each year, so if you’re planning a visit to NC, then check out the Christmas Town USA website for more information.
2. Night of a Million Lights Tour at Give Kids the World Village – Kissimmee, FL
Here is a tour of Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Florida. This bright and merry wonderland is a walk-through, socially distanced Christmas light tour spectacular that is scheduled to run through January 3rd, 2021. There are 3 million lights that decorate the village, including 45 villas.
The lights are donated by Walt Disney World, and various companies decorate the villas including Universal Orlando, LEGOLAND Florida, and Kennedy Space Center. This holiday event will provide the public with a rare glimpse into the magical, whimsical non-profit resort that fulfills the wishes of critically ill children from around the world. Tickets can be purchased at www.gktw.org – this event is to help support Give Kids the World Village.
3. A Frozen Holiday Wish – Disney Magic Kingdom, FL
Come celebrate the excitement of the holidays like only Disney Parks can with festive sights and sounds of the season. This is the Walt Disney World 2019 Cinderella Castle lighting at the Magic Kingdom! Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff encourage Elsa to turn the castle to ice.
4. Stony Brook Shines – Lancaster, NY
Stony Brook Shines is a neighborhood event that occurs each winter from Thanksgiving until January 1st. The neighborhood turns into a winter wonderland with 9 streets that decorate their trees with white lights. Neighbor donations and business sponsors raise money for local children’s charities in NY. Visitors can walk through the neighborhood to enjoy the lights, or drive-through and tune in your car radio to enjoy some holiday songs during the Christmas light tour.
5. Dyker Heights – Brooklyn, NY
Dyker Heights is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. There are more than a hundred homes in the area with breathtaking decorations and inspiring stories. The neighborhood is famous for its Christmas holiday decorating and Christmas light tours. The inspiration, passion, and dedication of the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights have paved the way for this world-famous annual holiday tradition.
6. Rockefeller Center – New York, NY
New York City is one of the most amazing places to visit during the Christmas season. Enjoy this Christmas lights tour with beautiful decorations and the largest, most magical Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center. Since 1933 the Rockefeller Center has made the Christmas Tree an annual tradition. You can also watch the Christmas Tree Live Stream here.
7. El Paso Christmas Lights Show – El Paso, TX
The El Paso Christmas Lights Show won ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight in 2014. Fred Loya Sr. and family have been putting on this community Christmas lights tour since 2009 in El Paso, Texas. You can watch all their past virtual Christmas lights shows here.
8. Larsen’s Light Show – Elburn, IL
The Larsen Family started their first Christmas light show production on their home in 2006. Their home was featured on the first season of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight and won the grand prize in 2013. Watch the virtual Christmas lights in the video above. To enjoy this Christmas lights tour in person and hear the music tune your radio to 88.5FM when you visit Larsen’s Light Show.
9. Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood – Pigeon Forge, TN
Experience a traditional Christmas in the Smoky Mountains with this award-winning festival, Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas, named the best in America for over a decade. More than 5 million glistening lights surround you, covering every building, illuminating each walkway, and sparkling in the sky above. Located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, every part of the Dollywood theme park is saturated in uniquely colored lights so no area feels like the last. Dollywood has amusement rides, award-winning shows and music, culinary delights, seasonal shopping, and, most importantly, this is an epic Christmas light tour near me!
10. Leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth is a dreamy Christmas town in Washington state. This quaint Bavarian town is a winter wonderland that becomes a village of lights from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. Usually, the Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth attracts people from all over the world. People gather downtown on Front Street to celebrate the holiday season with songs, food, and of course watching a half-million sparkling Christmas lights turn on! Unfortunately, the festivities had to be canceled in 2020, but you can watch the video above to enjoy a tour of virtual Christmas lights from the past.
Best Places to Tour Christmas Lights in the USA
If you’re looking to learn more about the best Christmas towns in America, then this video is a wrap up of some more great locations to see the best Christmas lights in the USA.
Christmas light tours are a family tradition that brings us all closer together. Surround your family in the light of the season this Christmas, whether you are taking a virtual Christmas lights tour from the comfort of your own home, or you are able to visit one of the best Christmas towns in the USA.
And remember, let’s BE Family so you can enjoy the journey.
Until next time,
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