Light Up A New Christmas Tradition

Photo credit: Judy Hedding

Take a break from the holiday madness and create a new family tradition. When my family lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, we went to Christmas in the Park at Cesar Chavez Park in downtown San Jose to check out the Christmas trees, which were decorated, by local schools. They had an outdoor ice rink, rides for the little ones and of course, you can buy hot chocolate to warm up while strolling around the Christmas trees. As part of our holiday tradition, we would go to Vasona Park’s Fantasy of Lights in Los Gatos, it was about $15 per car and we would drive through a mile of Christmas lights decorated as Santa, the reindeer, and holiday ornaments. The younger the kids were, the more amazed they are by the lights and even as an adult, it reminds me of the magic of Christmas.

When we moved to Arizona, I thought, we needed to find a new holiday tradition. It’s easy to forget about making memories with the kids when you have a ton of cooking, Christmas shopping, and preparing to make your guests feel at home. This year, it seems part of the holiday pressure is finding something inexpensive to do with the family. Whether, you and your family check out a local Christmas light parade or if you just go around and find beautifully lit homes in your neighborhood, try this new tradition with your kids.

Here are our suggestions, tell us your favorite places to go see Christmas lights in the comments and we’ll add them to the list for next year.

California

Vasona Park Fantasy of Lights

When: The Fantasy of Lights runs from November 26 to December 31, 2010
Time: 6 – 10pm nightly.
Where: Vasona Lake County Park, 333 Blossom Hill Road (near University Avenue), Los Gatos, CA
How much:
$10 discount admission per vehicle through December 9th.
$15 from Dec 10th – Dec 31st.
For cars, minvans etc. holding 10-25 people, cost is $25 (no discounts) $50 for commercial busses.

Arizona

Photo credit: Robert Tolar

Queen CreekLoop of Lights

Since this is a neighborhood, visitors have the option to walk or drive the loop.
When: Dec 1st through Dec 31st
Time: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Where:
Waverly Subdivision @ Pecan Creek South
San Tan Valley, AZ 85140
How much: FREE or a $1.00 donation

Phoenix – Celebration of Lights

When: Every night, through Sunday, January 2, 2011.
Sunday, Monday through Thursday: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday, Saturday and Holidays: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: At 99th Avenue and Loop 101 (at Thomas). This is a new location in 2010. Check the link for the map and directions to the event.

How much:
Passenger vehicles: $15 per vehicle
Buses: $1 per person, $15 minimum
If you plan to make more than three trips through this holiday season, you might want to inquire about a season pass.

Seattle

Close up of NativityThis is a house I found while going on an evening jog on Beach SW Avenue at Alki Beach in West Seattle.

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