Editor's note: This story was originally published on November 22. It will be repeated occasionally throughout the season.
From Thanksgiving night up until New Year’s Day, arrays of glowing bulbs will be popping up around the metro Phoenix area as everyone gets into the spirit of the season. You can see them pretty much anywhere and everywhere, from those adorning local businesses in your neighborhood to popular locations like the Phoenix Zoo.
Lighting up the night in festive fashion is a big part of the holidays, and everyone wants to get in on the fun, including the folks across the Valley who create enormously colorful displays lighting up their homes.
Some folks will keep things relatively simple with a few strings of lights. Others, such as renowned holiday decorators like Chris Birkett of Scottsdale or David Chuchla of Phoenix, channel the spirit of Clark W. Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and cover their entire property in enough lights, inflatables, and motorized attractions to make the hearts of even the
You’ll find many examples of the latter in the following list of the best, biggest, and brightest light displays around the metro Phoenix area. We’ve assembled a rundown of 20 of the best displays of holiday lights on homes around town, all of which are worth checking out when you’re not busy wrapping packages or trimming the tree.
Our list includes biggest and most impressive efforts in the Valley, including some you may have caught on ABC’s popular reality show The Great Christmas Light Fight.
Here’s where to see all the pretty lights during the holidays.
Candy Cane Lane
2801 East Pinchot Avenue
Every holiday season since 1988, the two-block stretch of Pinchot Avenue between 26th and 28th streets in central Phoenix transforms into a glittery wonderland that comes alive with color and illumination after dark.
Neighborhood residents adorn the towering palm trees that line this quiet residential street just north of Thomas Road with dozens of different candy cane-shaped multicolored light displays. Meanwhile, a glowing star and peace symbol both hang from the tree canopy overhead.
Stop by the street on certain weekend nights and you might encounter Pinchot Avenue homeowners holding a street party of sorts, including outdoor screenings of holiday movies or giving visitors rides on a motorized cart wrapped in lights.
Dates and Times: On display nightly until January 1, starting at dusk.
Winter Wonderland Extravaganza
8609 West Preston Lane, Tolleson
Tolleson resident Isaac Pacheco and his family definitely get into the spirit of the season during the holidays. They transform a portion of their home into a 2,500-square-foot display and family-friendly experience that features a multitude of lights, 20 distinctly themed zones, and various props.
Meanwhile, a host of holiday characters, including Rudolph, The Grinch, the stars of Frozen, and St. Nicholas himself, populate the attraction and a soundtrack of seasonal music plays. Bring your camera, as you’ll definitely want to snap some photos.
Dates and Times: Operates nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. from December 1 to January 6. Admission is $10 per person or $40 for up to six people.
1146 North Quail Lane, Gilbert
Call us sentimental, but the innocence and heartwarming nature of the holiday season will forever be associated in our minds with the Peanuts gang, thanks to the classic 1965 animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s one of the reasons why this charming Peanuts-themed display in Gilbert steals our hearts each year.
Laid out like an airport, complete with a runway and control tower, it features an inflatable version of Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace bringing his Sopwith Camel in for a landing while cutouts of Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Linus, Lucy, and other characters are waiting to greet him. It’s playful, amiable, and fun, just like the classic comic strip itself.
Dates and Times: On display nightly from 5:30 p.m. November 25 to January 3.
South Park House
7734 North 41st Avenue
Every holiday season, Emilio Palacio’s home in northwest Phoenix becomes a grand monument to famed Comedy Central cartoon South Park. This expansive display paying tribute to the show dominates the front on his home with more than 100 different characters from show re-created in cutout form (which, if you think about it, is true to South Park’s animation style).
All four of the main characters are present, as are such favorites as Big Gay Al, Mrs. Crabtree, Terrance and Phillip, Uncle Jimbo, Timmy, Jimmy, Officer Barbrady, and the Satan-worshiping Woodland Christmas Critters. In a nice touch, Eric Cartman’s alter-ego The Coon and his faux superhero sidekicks are perched along the edge of the roof.
Meanwhile, Jesus and Santa Claus are posed at the very top of the house, which hearkens back to South Park’s origins as a short entitled “The Spirit of Christmas.” A mix of audio clips from the show and songs from the album Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics play over a sound system, albeit in heavily edited form. After all, not everyone in Palacio’s neighborhood shares his appreciation for the profane cartoon.
Dates and Times: On display nightly through January 1 starting at dusk.
541 East Mountain Sky Avenue
Tucked away in the shadow of South Mountain, this quaint and kitschy display in the front yard of Frank and Dianne
It’s been the centerpiece of the couple’s annual Christmas display for more than three decades and can even be activated by the headlights of passing cars. Other highlights of the
Dates and Times: Operates nightly until 11 p.m., through January 1.
1335 North Papillon Circle, Mesa
A grand total of 100,000 lights twinkle away within this enormous display in the front of Mike and Shelley Pelky’s home on the eastern edge of Mesa. Besides a menagerie of different animals and characters, including one inspired by the “Island of Misfit Toys,” there’s also a nativity scene, illuminated arches, snowmen, and other seasonal delights. They've even got a giant birthday card for Jesus Christ.
Dates and Times: On display nightly from dusk until midnight through December 25.
Christmas in Scottsdale
8543 East Avalon Drive, Scottsdale
This beautiful animated display created each year by married couple John Slade and Caroline Leon at their Scottsdale home — which features more than 50,000 LED lights, a 25-foot-tall tree, and a singing snowman and Santa Claus — is a collaborative effort between the two. He programs the hour-long sequence of swirling, flickering and flashing lights that are set to a series of amusing holiday parody songs that she picks out and edits. The result is a delight for the senses with its mesmerizing visuals, joyful tunes, and the aroma of fresh-baked cookies wafting through the air from inside the house. Plus, they’ve also got free hot chocolate and candy canes to boot. Your inner child will have a blast.
Dates and Times: Sunday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. through January 3.
7914 West Dahlia Drive, Peoria
Christmas is sort of a big thing in the Sirakis family. Siblings and Arizona residents Joe, Chickie, and Roy spend countless hours during the buildup to each holiday season creating and hand painting colorful and cartoonish wooden cutouts of various fictional characters to adorn each of their front yards. This year’s version of the display at Joe Sirakis’ residence in Peoria is laden with dozens of Disney characters ranging from Mickey and Minnie to the cast of Frozen as well as dancing candy canes, a 3-D Santa, and other festive touches.
Dates and Times: On display Monday through Thursday from dusk to 9:30 p.m.; and Friday through Sunday from dusk to 11 p.m. from November 30 until December 25.
632 West Aster Court, Chandler
Disney fans will dig the merry milieu offered outside of this Chandler home situated lakeside within the Ocotillo upscale housing development. A fanciful winter scene populated by a vast array of cartoonish Disney characters is on display for all to see. There are also inflatables, shooting stars, figurines, and even regular showers of snow.
Dates and Times: Check out the display nightly through January 1.
Christmas on Milky Way
4606 West Milky Way, Chandler
Frank Kostyun’s holiday displays tend to grab a lot of attention. At his former home in Ahwatukee, for example, thousands of people came to see the enormous Christmas tree made from a 65-foot ham radio tower and strings of lights dominating the scene, as well as an epic audio-visual show.
His latest display, Christmas on Milky Way, debuted in 2017 at Kostyun’s current residence in Chandler and has proved to be just as popular and eye-catching. Befitting its name, it boasts an array of 26 stars made from color-changing LEDs that are perched atop the house. According to Kostyun, there are more than 100,000 lights used in the display and a few miniature trees.
He kept the synchronized light show, however, which is choreographed to songs like Darude’s hit “Sandstorm” and a number of holiday carols and favorites. There are also several video clips, including the famous scene from Christmas Vacation where Chevy Chase flips on his display.
Dates and Times: Nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. through January 1.
A Molar Christmas
8252 W. Camino De Oro, Peoria
Much like Hermey the Elf from the beloved Rankin/Bass holiday special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, local dentist Charles Gatti has a yen for both proper tooth care and Christmastime. And for six weeks out of every year, the 50-year-old Peoria resident transforms his four-bedroom home into his own personal Christmastown featuring more than 80,000 individual lights, four leaping arches, a 25-foot-tall tree, and a video screen in an upstairs window. A low-power FM transmitter broadcasts a mix of 18 different holiday songs that are synched up with the animated light display. On certain weekends, you can encounter a costumed elf greeting visitors, although he refrains from reminding people to brush and floss properly.
Dates and Times: Operates nightly, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., through December 31.
1610 East Hermosa Vista Drive, Mesa
The home of Dr. David Kipp becomes an enormous canvas on which bright lights and vibrant colors dance about during a light and sound showcase set to Christmas carols and holiday songs. The shows are quite fanciful and feature a gigantic screen broadcasting pixel-style videos.
Kipp, a local pediatrician, created and programmed everything himself using a Raspberry Pi computer, various audio and video controllers, a rear-projection HDTV, multiple Christmas trees, and approximately 30,000 individual lights.
Dates and Times: Nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. through to January 1.
8535 South Stanley Place, Tempe
The gorgeous home of Stanley and Andrea Benson in south Tempe becomes even more eye-catching when the couple rolls out their animated yuletide array of more than 100,000 lights. Strewn throughout the branches of three enormous trees and arranged practically everywhere else on their house and in its yard, the property is happy hullabaloo of color. Things are made even livelier by an enormous animated Santa measuring 30 feet tall that stands over the scene as various elves deliver gifts, decorate trees, and frolic on a teeter-totter.
Dates and Times: On display nightly, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., through January 1.
Halloween Christmas House
1001 East El Freda Road, Tempe
Tempe couple Jessica and Francis Brown love both Christmas and Halloween, pretty much equally. So back in 2017, when they were deciding how to decorate their newly built home for both holidays, they drew inspiration from another of their favorite things: the Disney animated classic The Nightmare Before Christmas.
“Our main reason for the theme is that my husband and I love both Halloween and Christmas and that the two holidays can collide,” Jessica tells Phoenix New Times.
Collaborating with the artists of local company Therascapes Design, the Browns’ 5,885-square-foot residence became a merry and macabre tribute to the film. Multiple characters from film (such as Sally, Jack Skellington, and the trio of Lock, Shock, and Barrel) and a mix of both Christmas and Halloween-style elements, like monstrous wreaths and a spooky-looking Toys for Tots donation box, decorate the place. The entire front of the house resembles an enormous beast with second-story windows that look like eyes and a porch resembling a toothy maw.
The couple has added a few new elements to the display for this year’s holiday season, including interactive wooden boxes shaped like houses representing various holidays that were similar to those seen in the flick. They also have a life-sized recreation of a headless horseman.
“Each year we plan to add a little more,” Jessica says. “Basically the mood of the house changes [between Halloween and Christmas].” All of the big pieces stay the whole season. The lighting changes. A few more Santa hats pop up. But for the most part we stick to the Nightmare Before Christmas theme.” Basically, the display is both frightening and festive, just like the film that inspired it.
Dates and Times: Operates nightly from sunset until 10 p.m. through January 1.
Loop of Lights
Pecan Creek Drive and Gantzel Road, San Tan Valley
It’s a bit of a drive to get to this neighborhood attraction located on the edge of the southeast Valley, but one worth splurging on a tank of gas.
A majority of the residents in this San Tan Valley subdivision of Pecan Creek South Waverly participate in the annual Loop of Lights, as more than 100 different homes are festooned with intricate arrangements of lights and enough other decorations to practically fill a Wal-Mart. Domiciles aren’t the only things getting decorated, as fire trucks, vehicles, and even a horse-drawn carriage also get a festive makeover of the glowing variety.
Dates and Times: 6 to 9 p.m. nightly, from December 1 until December 25.
10526 North 119th Street, Scottsdale
Kyle and Sammy Pratt have obviously learned a thing or two about grabbing people’s attention from their dad, legendary Valley radio personality Dave Pratt. Their annual holiday display, Christmas Forever, serves up a show-stopping and eye-popping collection of choreographed lights, video projections, and even pyrotechnic displays. It also offers a soundtrack featuring a few rock songs and plenty of charming elements. We’re sure their pops is very proud.
Dates and Times: Christmas Forever will run nightly, 7 to 9 p.m., on weekdays and 7 to 10 p.m. on weekends from November 23 to December 25. Visitors are asked to avoid parking in front of the driveways of neighboring homes.
663 West Natal Circle, Mesa
More than a dozen houses situated around this Mesa cul-de-sac sparkle with scores of glowing bulbs, illuminated inflatables, and other electrically powered decorations and knick-knacks this time of year.
It’s been a holiday tradition that the residents of West Natal Circle gleefully participate in, and each home offers its own lighting scheme and particular theme. For instance, one yard features Christmas at Bikini Bottom with Spongebob SquarePants characters, while another boasts a hallowed religious theme complete with cutouts depicting the birth of Jesus.
Dozens of inflatables are also viewable, including one humorous blow-up with Santa and his sleigh getting busted by a cop. Looks like even St. Nick can’t get out of a ticket.
Dates and Times: Running nightly, 5 to 11 p.m., through January 1.
396 West Liberty Lane, Gilbert
The annual light display created by Gilbert resident Chad Richins is quite massive, so much so that it not only encompasses his own two-story home but also four neighboring houses. “They don’t mind me putting up lights, as long as they’re not the ones that have to do this,” Richins tells New Times. “They let me take over their yards.”
The display features more than 100,000 individual lights that sing with color while glittering and flashing through an impressive choreographed audio and visual sequence that lasts for 13 songs.
Richins, who’s been creating light displays for a decade, programs everything himself, which requires a lot of man-hours for each song. “It takes me about 100 hours per song,” he says. “It’s a lot of work.”
The display has earned plenty of attention, both from Valley residents (who flock to the display) and from the producers of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight, who featured it in an episode that aired last year. If it’s good enough to make the airwaves, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Dates and Times: Operated nightly from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., through December 31.
4600-4800 East Voltaire Avenue
If nothing else, the holidays are all about coming together with others in a spirit of unity. A fitting tribute to that particular notion is this group of homes located along several blocks in one north Phoenix neighborhood that are linked together by a fantastic-looking synchronized light display.
Close to two dozen residences situated along Voltaire Avenue between 46th and 48th streets, as well as on the adjacent Sharon Drive and 46th Place, are individually adorned with strings of lights, inflatables, luminarias, and other cheery decorations. Everything flickers and flashes in unison thanks to a preprogrammed sequence.
Meanwhile, a low-power radio transmitter broadcasts a mix of Christmas music — including such tunes as Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy” and “Dreams of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night)” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra — on 98.1 FM for folks to listen to as they’re driving by all the displays.
Dates and Times: Nightly, 6 to 10:30 p.m. until January 1.
Christmas on Comstock
3642 East Comstock Drive, Gilbert
If we were ranking this list, Christmas on Comstock would probably reach the top for a few reasons. First off, it’s enormous, encompassing more than 110,000 lights, 50,000 feet of wire, 300-plus strobes, and various snow machines and other attractions spread out among 13 adjacent homes along Comstock Drive in Gilbert. It’s also one of the most popular displays in the Valley, with upwards of 400 cars packed with people driving through every hour it’s operating to view its illuminated majesty and synchronicity.
While its possible to drive around and check out the display, organizers recommend patience, or even parking a short distance away and checking everything out on foot. At the very least, doing so will allow you more time to check things out as opposed to having a bunch of impatient drivers behind you.
Dates and Times: Operates Sunday through Thursday, 6 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 to 10:30 p.m. starting December 1.
3611 East Kachina Drive
No joke, almost every single square inch of Kim Taylor’s Ahwatukee home is covered with lights and decorations during the holidays. Besides 300 different wooden cut-outs of various Disney and other kid-friendly characters, there are a flock of emojis on the roof, a 20-foot-tall castle inspired by Frozen, dozens of illuminated statues, bubble and snow machines, and hundreds of thousands of lights.
So impressive is Taylor’s yearly display, which he and his family start arranging months in advance, that he was a contestant on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight back in 2016. Although he lost out to a display in New York, Taylor and his house will always be tops in our book.
Dates and Times: Nightly from 5 to 10 p.m., through January 1.
8211 South 63rd Avenue
There’s absolutely zero chance you’ll miss Mel and Patti Tasker’s sprawling display out among the farms and ranches of Laveen, since it’s easily visible from at least a mile away. It’s probably because their house is perched atop a small hill with not much in the way of street lights out in this neck of the Valley. Oh yeah, and there’s also the fact they’ve got upwards of 300,000 lights covering a majority of their property.
It’s so big that you can drive a car through it, as the display is arranged along the Tasker’s circular driveway. Be sure to take it slow, however, both for safety and to give yourself time to check out each of the hundreds of cutouts of cartoon and kid-friendly characters (including everything from Astroboy to The Legend of Zelda), a bestiary of zoo creatures made from lights, and an animated display set under the sea.
Dates and Times: Monday to Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m., and Friday to Sunday, 6 p.m. until 1 a.m., through January 2.
Phoenix Winter Wonderland
4237 West State Avenue
Practically every single inch of space at David Chuchla’s west Phoenix home, both inside and out, is occupied by something Christmas-related. The exterior goes full-tilt with more than 70,000 lights, 50 different trees, and hundreds of animatronic and inflatable characters while each room inside (save for his bedroom) brims with models, miniatures, and ornaments. It can be overwhelming at times, but those who think too much Christmas is never enough will definitely dig it.
Chuchla puts plenty of time, effort, and money into his famed display, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, spending approximately six months out of the year unpacking several storage sheds worth of decorations and ephemera before meticulously arranging it. Chuchla racks up an estimated 450 man-hours assembling everything and drops more than $1,000 on the electricity bill each year. The Grinch he is not.
And if you tune into this season of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight, which premieres on November 26, you’ll see Chuchla’s home featured in all its glory. No joke.
Dates and Times: Open every night
4415 East Calle Tuberia
After going dark last year due to issues with the city of Phoenix (which have been resolved, more or less), the annual yuletide tableaux of light, color, and music created by Lee and Patricia Sepanek at their Arcadia home is making a return, and thankfully, it’s just as spectacular as it was in previous years.
There's no shortage of joy and cheer contained within their massive creation. More than 250,000 lights are contained within the display, which also includes five animated window displays, inflatables, animated figures, a bubble machine ("Those are really big with the kids," Lee jokes), and more.
"It's always evolving, it's always changing. We've don't put the same color combination of lights out every year," Lee says. "This year we've added more lights and switched over to LED so it appears brighter than it used to before. We always try to make it fun."
Plus, they've got hot chocolate available for visitors, with a small a donation only.
"It's just something that people really like. It just another thing that brings people together. That's what we're trying to here," Lee says. "We're not trying to out-do anybody else, we just want people to come over and have some Christmas cheer."
Dates and Times:Nightly from Thanksgiving until January 1. Hours are from dusk until 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursdays; and dusk until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Visitors are asked to avoid parking in front of the driveways of neighboring homes.
Birkett Family’s Winter Wonderland
8414 East Valley Vista Drive, Scottsdale
The enchanting Winter Wonderland experience that created every year by the Birkett family at their Scottsdale home isn’t so much a holiday display as it is a snow-covered, multimedia extravaganza filled with charm, color, and fun.
A series of choreographed light shows featuring music and audio clips take place several times each hour, building to an epic conclusion where the music reaches a crescendo and air jets blast a flurry of faux snow into the air.
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The facade of a gigantic Disney-esque holiday castle looms overhead atop the roof while a sea of snow-covered hills and a variety of green, red, and white lights glow in the front yard, including one arrangement spelling out the message “Believe in Magic.” At the front of the garage, there’s a snow-covered holiday village featuring miniatures purchased from the late Bob Rix, a renowned Christmas enthusiast and Valley resident who was famous for his over-the-top displays.
Around the corner are other displays along a path that winds its way past a fire pit for roasting marshmallows and through a miniature mine filled in lights and decorations that leads to the backyard where an “Island of Misfit Toys” from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is faithfully re-created around his pool.
It’s definitely magical, and it’s a family affair. Each year, husband and wife Chris and Sarah arrange the display along with their daughters, Avari and Evie. It’s become a popular destination during the holiday season that’s visited by countless Valley residents. Last year, the Birketts’ fanbase grew exponentially larger when they won an episode of The Great Christmas Light Fight . True to form, the Birketts incorporated the bulb-shaped trophy they won from the show into the display.
Dates and Times: Nightly, 6 to 10 p.m., from December 1 through December 31. Admission is free but donations are accepted.