Although we may have to social distance for Christmas dinner this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t hop in the car and enjoy the Christmas light shows!
Here’s our ultimate 2020 breakdown for Christmas lights around the globe.
Let’s take a little virtual journey on our own version of the Polar Express (Tom Hanks not included, sorry ladies!) Allll aboard!
First stop: USA!
It’s no secret that in America, the trick is to go big or go home. So be prepared for some pretty amazing light shows to visit around the good ole US of A.
Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore, AL
Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Alabama is celebrating the 25 years of Magic Christmas in Lights in 2020! Guests can stroll through a dazzling light display that features more than 1,100 set pieces, 3 million lights and 15 scenes throughout the 65-acre Garden estate. In addition, the Bellingrath Home is decorated in its holiday finery and enhanced with beautiful poinsettias. Tickets are on sale now online.
Glendale in Arizona
The dazzling Glendale Glitters lights are up and ready to shine during the holiday season. Enjoy a spectacular display of 1.7 million lights illuminating 16 blocks. The lights will twinkle nightly from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. starting 25/11/2020 through 9/1/2021. Due to the pandemic, there will be no opening weekend festivities such as the lighting ceremony, vendors and performers that had been part of this event in the past, however, there will be great new lighting designs and features that will add extra magic to each evening. There are also wonderful downtown merchants and restaurants that will be open and ready for business!
Candy Cane Lane in Los Angeles
Home to the famous Hollywood sign and the walk of fame, Los Angeles is an old hat to dazzling its patrons. So it’s no surprise that this light show features over 1 million twinkling bulbs, is over a mile long and has both visual and musical displays and attractions. Although it’s not too chilly on the South-West coast at this time of year, visitors can still enjoy the entire sparkling spectacle safely from their vehicles. If you live down in LA, check out this festive family run business for yourself!
Nights of Lights in Florida
Nights of Lights has been listed among the top ten holiday light displays in the world by National Geographic. Celebrating 27 years from Florida’s Historic Coast, Nights of Lights features millions of tiny white lights that create a magical atmosphere in the Nation’s Oldest City. Entrance is free and the light show will take place every evening from 14th November 2020 to 31 January 2021.
Callaway Resort & Gardens in Pine Mountain GA
Callaway Resort & Gardens is going all out this year with a festively filled Fantasy in Lights. Start in the Christmas Village and ride through the dazzling illuminated forest. Extend the celebration with an overnight stay, enjoy mouthwatering meals or cosy cups of cocoa in beautiful accommodations, and explore 2,500 acres of stunning natural landscape.
Virtual Events to check out around the US!
- Chicago isn’t going to let anything stand in its way of honouring its Christmas traditions. After all, they have been doing it for over 100 years! From the Christmas tree reveal, to the majestic lights shining down, the Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting offers a bright way to usher in a time of hope and joy for all.
- Macy’s is showcasing its Macy’s Santaland At Home and in a special treat, the Macy’s Santaland light show is going virtual with a beautiful lighting display to enjoy throughout the holiday season. To go along with the dazzling lights, a narrated story experience adds to the fun, engaging all the senses and enhancing the overall experience. With an iconic Christmas history, Macy’s pulls out all the stops to make this virtual Christmas lights display a memorable one for all ages.
- In Washinton DC things have been hectic this year, but nothing stops the National Christmas Tree Lighting, famous for helping Santa light is way in the North American snow. You can watch the lighting of the National Christmas Tree and holiday performances starting on 3rd December 2020.
- In Tennessee, the Graceland Annual Lighting Ceremony is going ahead online. Graceland is known for its incredible holiday lights, which are delightful to see no matter what kind of music you like. Check out the live switch on for yourself or see the Best of Graceland’s Holiday Lighting Ceremony at their website
These are just some of the many virtual Christmas events going on around the US this Holiday Season. If you don’t see your state featured then please go to your local government or city council website to see virtual events happening in your area.
Next stop: UK!
The Eden Project in Cornwall
If you live around Devon or Cornwall, you’ve likely visited the famous Eden Project, the famous charity funded attraction features enormous biomes that house the largest rainforest in captivity. If so then good festive news is coming your way because the Eden Project is reopening on Thursday 3rd December for it’s annual “Christmas at Eden” light show! Although some parts of the park will be closed, the Ice rink is currently open for bookings! Even better, if you live in the area there are also big discounts and free admission community days! Now that’s in the true festive spirit of the season!
Longleat Zoo in Wiltshire
Good news if you live in the south of Britain, Longleat Zoo will reopen its doors on 3rd December to showcase it’s brand new “Land of Light” festive event! This show is great for children, featuring oodles of fantastic light installations across seventeen unique and colourful zones featuring all the seasons of the year before finishing with an incredible laser show of immersive colour and sound!
But if you feel like more of a stay inside kinda guy, the park also offers a Winter Safari! A six-and-a-half-mile Safari Drive-through where you can see Giraffes peeking overhead and lions and tigers wandering around, as well as a Santa Storytelling.
National trust Christmas Lights and Winter Illuminations in Multiple locations
The National Trust is going all out this year in a bid to beat away the winter blues. They have several locations set across the UK for people to enjoy, including Belton in Grantham, Dunham Massey near Manchester, Kingston Lacy near Bournemouth, Stourton Warminster and Waddesdon Aylesbury. All locations will be open from 3rd December 2020 but do not forget to book!
Tunnel of Light in Norwich
If you live in or around Norwich the annual Tunnel of Light is returning for 2020! More than 45 metres long and made up of more than 57,000 bulbs, the Hayhill display is believed to be one of the largest of its kind in Europe. No tickets required! But the city council does ask that you keep safe and follow the floor stickers placed one metre apart. Just enough time for a quick Christmas selfie!
Virtual Events to check out around the UK!
- Leeds is going virtual for the first time ever with its Millenium Square Christmas lights Switch-On 2020! Watch Live on Youtube and Facebook on Wednesday 2nd December.
- Peterborough will broadcast a pre-recorded live stream of its Christmas lights switch-on Tonight at 7 pm via Youtube and Facebook. Hosted by Kev Lawrence and many local heroes around Peterborough.
- London is staying safe and social distancing by introducing an online Virtual Christmas Lights Tour hosted by London Guided Walks. Tickets cost £16.76 for the 90-minute walkabout, including a peek at hidden passages, fashionable Mews and meticulously decorated designer shops accompanied by historical stories of those shopping and living in the area.
- South Tyneside has made their very own Christmas Lights Switch on Tale that’s sure to impress kids and adults alike. This charming little story contains some great actors from around the South Tyneside area, and of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the fantastic pantomime outfits!
- North Berwick has made a smashing Christmas lights video that’s already getting tons of likes on Youtube and Facebook. Featuring many local businesses, trusts and community groups, the video makers have really outdone themselves to show the North Berwick shine! And if you miss Christmas carols, you really should click here!
These are just some of the many virtual Christmas events going on around the UK this Christmas. If you don’t see your town or city featured then please go to your local council city website to see virtual events happening in your area.
Next stop: Europe!
It’s no surprise that Christmas markets aren’t quite as in season this year, but there’s no reason not to enjoy a little bit of Christmas cheer as the nights turn nippy.
Colmar in France
Colmar has been ranked as the number one destination for Christmas lights in 2020. Colmar is a town in the Grand Est region of northeastern France, near the border with Germany. Its old town has cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings that come alive under the majestic and intricate lighting that is put up around the holidays. Indeed, if you happened to find yourself in Colmar at Christmas time, you would probably think you’d walked too far north and ended up in Lapland itself!
Prague in the Czech Republic
Although the usual Christmas markets and tree lighting will not take place this year, it would not be a true European Xmas list if we didn’t mention the city of Prague. Every December this city’s markets are usually humming with activity, the smell of Pražská Šunka (Prague Ham) roasting over a spit, and the sight of people sipping hot Svařák (similar to mulled wine with citrus flavours) amongst other delicious delicacies. This year, however, the city council is playing it safe by keeping markets to a minimum and setting up the tree without a ceremony. Even in 2020, the feeling of Christmas is still alive and well in the Czech capital, with just a slightly less boisterous tone this year.
Zagreb in Croatia
This year’s Advent in Zagreb will take place with a slightly different atmosphere, in accordance with the recommendations of the city’s council. Although slightly tampered, the Christmas spirit is still alive and well in the city of Zagreb. Windows in some of the most historic and cherished parts of the city are adorned in beautiful and brightly coloured Christmas decorations, all viewable online. The city has also invited its usual tourist crowd to enjoy a traditional Croatian Christmas from home by creating a whole host of cooking videos for budding culinarians to try out. Including this rather moreish looking recipe for traditional Puricas Mlincima (Stuffed Turkey with flatbread)
Malaga in Spain
Turning to a much warmer Christmas climate leads us to the doorstep of Malaga in Spain. The city’s lights are already up and on display for all to see, with the design this year shown to be as stunning in daylight as it is in the evening. Giant angels, golden arches and bright blue autumn leaves follow Christmas shoppers down streets, lighting their way down the Alameda Principal. Nativity scenes are commonplace throughout the city, representing one of the best-loved Spanish traditions during the festive holiday.
Vilnius in Lithuania
It’s no surprise that the Vilnius Christmas tree has been named the most beautiful in Europe for 2020. Standing at a magnificent 24 metres tall, this metal panel take on tradition doesn’t allow for any tinsel, but it does stand out for all the right reasons. The panels are adorned with colour-changing lights on the outside and mirrors on the flip side and the metal frame is decorated with real spruce branches collected from fallen trees in nearby forests. The multifaceted modern facade opens up just enough to reveal a live and sprightly decorated spruce inside. The homely interior ensures that the spirit of Christmas lives on despite the pandemic.
Last stop: Australia!
And so we come to the last leg of our journey, in the land down under! Australia has been extra cautious about the virus this year and thankfully the country seems to be coming out of the tunnel and leaving the darkness behind. Let’s see how they plan to celebrate this achievement!
Adelaide Christmas Pageant
The Adelaide Christmas Pageant is a long-standing tradition in Australia. First started in 1933, the parade this year boasted 3000 costumes, 33 Dance groups, over 160 moving floats, 18 bands. Over 300,000 people showed up to bring the Christmas spirit down in South Australia this year and enjoy the hot Aussie sunshine.
Christmas Square and Light Projections in Melbourne
Over in Melbourne, they’ve really been keeping things up their sleeves for Christmas. Fed Square has been transformed into Christmas Square, a festive wonderland. In the centre, a glittering 16-metre LED Christmas tree sits, topped by a twinkling star. Inside Santa’s Big Workshop the man in red is making toys and presents. Crown Melbourne is celebrating Christmas with their Christmas Spectacular in The Atrium, Crown Towers which lights up once again featuring a brand new ceiling installation and the amazing animatronic show. The 10-minute viewing features a sing-a-long medley of much loved Christmas songs including ‘It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas’, ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, and ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’. Melbourne’s famous Christmas projections have also returned over three locations. Residents can stroll along Swanston Street to see projections light up at State Library Victoria, the Melbourne Town Hall and Princes Bridge. There’s also a special thank you to Melbourne’s COVID-19 heroes that will have you feeling all the emotions.
Christmas lights in Sydney
Sydney knows how to put on a show and this year they have gone to epic proportions with some larger-than-life festive installations. The spectacular Darling Square precinct showcases three humongous Interactive Swinging Bells. Kids will love the inbuilt swings with bright lights and sound effects! A Giant Christmas Bauble in all it’s 6-metre glory as it illuminates a kaleidoscopic of technicolour alongside dazzling 6-foot tall Christmas presents. There will also be roving entertainers around the bay throughout the month and spreading Christmas 2020 cheer! On the outskirts of Sydney, the Christmas Lights Spectacular is seriously worth the drive up north if you want to experience a true Christmas fairytale. Explore the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest and most breathtaking illumination display at Hunter Valley Gardens with over 3 million lights.
What’s happening in your area this Christmas time? Are you taking part in any of the virtual events this December? Let us know!