As a native Arizonan, I feel like I've never had the chance to get the full Christmas experience. While songs on the radio talk about sleigh rides, chestnuts roasting on an open fire and a White Christmas, I have never experienced any of those things.
Due to the climate here in the Sonoran Desert, the Phoenix area does not get snow. As a kid, one of our family traditions was to pile in the car and drive around to look at Christmas lights.
You see, when there is no snow, some folks try to make up for it by putting up a few extra strings of lights. And then there are the people who go completely and totally overboard with lights, illuminating the entire neighborhood like Times Square. Those houses are my favorite.
To help you find these over-the-top decorated houses, the Arizona Republic publishes a map on their website of the most decorated houses in town. This year's list includes 110 homes ranging from 8,000 lights up to 250,000 lights.
Here are some photos of a few of the houses near me:
The owner of this North Phoenix house has made decoration a tradition for over 30 years. He has been featured on the local news and in the paper numerous times, and won awards for his elaborate setups each year. He used to open his home to the general public but unfortunately that ended in 2010. The sign out front says that this will be his last year of doing decorations.
Visitors to this house will be treated to over 80 Christmas trees decorated and lit that are also synchronized to Christmas music. Simply roll down the window and listen to the music until 10pm!
This house in Moon Valley features a giant inflatable snowman and train in the brightly lit front yard.
Just a few blocks away, I spotted this trio of houses that looked like the Las Vegas Strip! The house in the center displayed an award they had won for decorating.
A closer view shows just how much is going on here.
The house at the end of the street was pretty well lit up, too!
That's all the photos I have for now. Hopefully I will make it to some of the grander displays before the new year. Hope you enjoyed the photos! Thanks for looking and have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!