’Tis the season for bright lights and lots of them. It’s one of the many hallmarks of the holiday season and from now until 2022 dawns, they’ll adorn every location imaginable. Businesses and bars. Public parks and passing cars. Even people and their pets might be decked out with glowing bulbs.
Houses everywhere with also be lit up. But while most folks are content with just a few strings of bulbs, real Yuletide die-hards will go all out with hundreds of thousands of lights, flocks of inflatables, massive decorations, or even custom-built displays.
You’ll find these over-the-top efforts in our annual list of the biggest and brightest holiday displays on homes across metro Phoenix. They range from quaint and kitschy creations to cutting-edge and computer-controlled light shows. Some are single residences, others entire streets or neighborhoods.
Phoenix New Times assembled a rundown of the Valley’s best home and DIY displays, broken down by geographic area, where you can pile into your car and gawk at a few during a single evening. Just remember to dress warm, stay safe, and enjoy your happy holidays.
4415 East Calle Tuberia
A recent battle with COVID-19 isn’t stopping Lee Sepanek from putting up his famed holiday display in Arcadia, one of the most popular and long-running in the Valley. Tall trees are covered with hundreds of thousands of lights and LED icicles, as a flotilla of reindeer soar overhead. The garden is covered in even more glowing bulbs and figures, as is his large house. By early December, he’ll have a series of windows populated with ornaments, diorama, and miniature village scenes, and HD screens showing Christmastime movies. He’ll also have free cups of hot cocoa available and might even dress up for the occasion. He comes by his badass nickname of “Christmas Lee” honestly.
Dates and times: Runs nightly, 6 to 10 p.m., through January 2.
Pinchot Avenue’s Candy Canes
2801 East Pinchot Avenue
Sometimes, as the saying goes, less is more. For proof, look no further than this two-block stretch of Pinchot Avenue between 26th and 28th streets, adorned on either side by dozens of large candy canes wrapped in lights. There’s also an illuminated Christmas star and peace symbol hanging overhead. You could drive by in 30 seconds or less, but we recommend slow-rolling it to check out the gorgeous houses along the street, some of which will also be decorated for the holidays.
Dates and times: Nightly starting at dusk from November 25 until January 1.
Makela Family Light Show
104 West Marco Polo Road
The synchronized light shows flashing across the tens of thousands of LEDs at this North Phoenix home are more hyper than a teenage raver hopped-up on energy drinks — and are twice as colorful. Rainbow-hued animated bursts of illumination bounce, swirl, and dance across glowing panels shaped like Christmas trees, arches, snowflakes, and large circles adorning the front of the house. Tune into 96.1 FM and hear remixes of the Star Wars soundtrack and holiday favorites during the 15-minute-long light shows programmed by homeowner Sean Makela. He’s also thrown some Skrillex into the mix, in case you’d like to headbang and rage (or get strange looks from other onlookers).
Dates and times: Runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 6 to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from December 1 to 31.
North Phoenix Lights
18639 North First Avenue
Carl Jimenez crams every inch of his front yard with a wholesome horde of glowing vintage plastic blow mold figurines encompassing every Christmas trope imaginable. Santas and snowmen? Yep. Nutcrackers and toy soldiers? Them too. There are also gingerbread houses, an army of elves, numerous holiday trees, dozens of glowing gifts, and thousands of lights. What it lacks in subtlety it makes up for with flat-out cheeriness. Donations benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona are accepted.
Dates and times: On display nightly, 6 to 9 p.m., from December 1 to 25. Animated light shows and music broadcast on 92.9 FM start on December 10.
Miracle on 34th Lane
22415 North 34th Lane
James MacGregor’s holiday decorating started small before exploding into a full-blown obsession. First, the North Phoenix resident put up a few simple strings of bulbs in 2014 and things grew from there. Fast forward to today and the MacGregor family homestead is decked out with more than 40,000 lights, a miniature Ferris wheel and carousel, different wreaths, a nativity scene, multiple Santas, and a 20-foot-tall mega-tree.
Dates and times: Nightly, 6 to 10:30 p.m., through December 31, weather permitting.
ReinDeer Valley Christmas
3302 West Adobe Dam Road
The family behind this cheery effort love bad puns (the name plays off their location in Deer Valley), glowing bulbs (more than 50,000 lights are used), and all things Disney (Mickey Mouse is all up in this display). And because Christmas is all about excess, their already enormous display has gotten even bigger in recent years with more elaborate synchronized light shows with music happening nightly and jets of bubbles and artificial snow filling the air on weekends.
Dates and times: Runs every night, 6 to 10 p.m., from November 28 through January 1 and 6 to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
UZA MysCreation’s Christmas Haunted Attraction
2935 West Libby Street
Like your holidays to be more scary than merry? This combination display and haunt will offer a ho-ho-horrific mix of festive revelry and bone-chilling scares. A candy-cane cemetery in the front yard sets an ominous tone for visitors before they walk through a haunted attraction with two different themes during the Yuletide season. A two-floor “jolly haunt,” inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas, will run the first week of December with a “not-so-scary level” and a “kinda scary level.” A Krampus-themed haunt takes over later in the month and will pile on the frights. You might need to add anxiety meds to your Christmas list after attending.
Dates and times: The Nightmare Before Christmas haunt runs December 3 to 5 and the Krampus attraction is from December 10 to 12. Both run from 7 to 9 p.m. each night. Tickets are $10 online, $12 at the door.
Christmas Lights on Voltaire
4600-4800 East Voltaire Avenue
More than two dozen homes on Voltaire Avenue between 46th and 48th streets, as well as on the adjacent Sharon Drive and 46th Place, get in the spirit of things with this cooperative display. Each individually features different lights, inflatables, luminarias, and other cheery decorations and is linked together by a preprogrammed and synchronized light show where everything flickers and flashes in unison. Meanwhile, a megamix Christmas music plays over 98.1 FM for people to listen to as they cruise through.
Dates and times: Operates from 5:30 to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 5:30 to 11 p.m., Friday through Sunday, from November 25 to January 1.
Moon Valley’s 12 Homes of Christmas
Moon Valley Neighborhood
The residents of this North Phoenix ’hood will never rat out their neighbors to the cops for having too big of a display. That’s because the various subdivisions found west of Seventh Street between Greenway Parkway and Thunderbird Road feature many homeowners dressing up their domiciles in festive and creative ways when the holidays roll around. It’s part of an annual contest where Moon Valleyites judge the best displays. This year, the results of the contest and a list of every participating house will be posted in a free app devoted to Moon Valley’s light displays in early December. It can be downloaded at app.moonvalley.org.
Dates and times: On display nightly through early January. Hours vary by house.
1610 East Hermosa Vista Drive, Mesa
The display created by retired Mesa pediatrician David Kipp is just what the doctor ordered. Every year, his gorgeous two-story home gets even more eye-catching, when its exterior becomes a super-sized canvas for a festive palette of vibrant colors and holiday revelry. Animated shows programmed by Kipp and powered by 30,000 lights, hundreds of LED pixels, and various video projections take place throughout every evening and feature seasonal tunes people love (“Wizards in Winter” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra, José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad”) and love to hate (“Let It Go” from Frozen).
Dates and times: Runs nightly, 6 to 9 p.m., through December 26.
Dingman Residence (a.k.a. Santa’s Runway)
2329 North Recker Road, #104, Mesa
If St. Nick grows weary while crisscrossing the globe on Christmas Eve, Mr. Claus oughta consider taking a pause and park his sleigh in the driveway of Danny Dingman’s east Mesa townhouse. It will be hard to miss, as the property boasts 65,000 lights, hundreds of glowing decorations, and a cavalcade of Disney characters. Landing lights are also available should Santa have trouble touching down.
Dates and times: Operates nightly through December 31.
1335 North Papillon Circle, Mesa
The Pelky family’s display combines revelry and reverence in a ginormous array of decorations dominating the front of their home. It’s overflowing with packs of plastic snowmen, multiple reindeer and polar bears, a chorus of angels, a nativity scene (on an elevated platform), and a total of 150,000 lights. There’s also a candy cane forest, a selection of pop-cultural holiday characters, and a pair of window displays they added this year housing a variety of ornaments and miniatures.
Dates and times: Nightly, 5 to 11 p.m., starting at dusk through December 25.
Cox Family Lights
8607 East Via Del Palacio, Scottsdale
While most teens his age are busy pwning on PlayStation 5 or posting to TikTok, 17-year-old Brolin Cox of Scottsdale has been planning and preparing his family’s lights. He’s crafted a snazzy display with 35,000 glittering bulbs winding their way around the Cox’s expansive property and covering imitation Christmas trees, real palm trees, and a giant icehouse. More than 30 hours were spent programming a synchronized light show lasting 40 minutes and set to 15 different holiday themes. And Brolin gives 100 percent of the money donated by visitors to various local charities. This kid is alright.
Dates and times: On display 6 to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 6 to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from November 25 to December 31.
Birkett Family’s Winter Wonderland
8414 East Valley Vista Drive, Scottsdale
When the Birkett family’s display won an episode of ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight in 2017, it confirmed for the rest of the world what local residents have known for years. Their whimsical, delightful, and Disney-esque creation is a must-see destination during the holidays. It’s a snow-covered, multimedia extravaganza big on color, charm, and fun. The facade of an enchanted castle is on the roof while the yard offers rolling hills and a field of lights. Around the side is a large mockup of a mine, which has been expanded this year, leading to a backyard scene with characters from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer animated special posed around the swimming pool.
Dates and times: Nightly, 6 to 11 p.m., from December 10 through January 2.
11161 East Starkey Avenue, Mesa
Disneyland-loving nerds will geek out over the display in front of Mike and Stacie Parsons’ home as they’ve built a large structure resembling the facade of “It’s a Small World,” right down to the signature clock face. After dark, it comes alive with color during computerized light shows that are wired up to glowing displays on five neighboring houses. Your kiddos will also dig a snow machine that shoots faux flakes into the air or mailbox where they can drop letters to Santa and get a personalized letter in return. Just like its source material, it’s a magical place.
Dates and times: Runs 5:30 to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30 to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
1146 North Quail Lane, Gilbert
This Peanuts-inspired creation put on by the Metz family of Gilbert isn’t the biggest or most elaborate display around (it’s quite tiny, frankly) but like Charlie Brown himself, it’s got a lot of heart. Wood cutouts of characters like Lucy, Peppermint Patty, and Lucy populate a pint-sized airport where a version of Snoopy dressed as a World War I pilot lands his Sopwith Camel. There are also aviation-themed inflatables like Santa in a helicopter and a variety of lights. Feel free to hum Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts theme song when you visit.
Dates and times: On display nightly, 5 to 10 p.m., from December 1 to January 1.
Christmas on Orchid Lane
6480 West Orchid Lane, Chandler
Here’s a holiday pro-tip: If you’d like to take in several decorated houses in a single trip, head for this upscale street located northwest of Kyrene and Ray roads in Chandler. Feel free to thank us later, as Christmas on Orchid Lane consists of a series of astounding and amazing displays set up on 15 neighboring homes. You can also get photos in front of a large sleigh and other Insta-worthy props or just take in all the joyful sights.
Dates and times: Operates 6 to 9 p.m from November 27 through December 31.
The Keeley’s Light Show
1851 South Brighton Circle, Mesa
If your perfect Christmastime activity involves rocking out to Queen, Imagine Dragons, and Goo Goo Dolls while witnessing a concert-worthy light show, head for the south Mesa home of the Keeley family. A soundtrack of rock, pop, and holiday songs (as well as a mashup of Harry Potter music) will be broadcast over 99.1 FM and synced to an elaborate audio-visual display with more than 15,000 lights on the house and in the yard. Feel free to hold up a lighter or some hookem’ horns at the end of the show. (A small speaker operated by a push-button will also play the music until 9 p.m. each evening.)
Dates and times: Nightly, 6 to 10 p.m., through January 1.
Christmas on Milky Way
4606 West Milky Way, Chandler
Frank Kostyun’s creation is out of this world. A vast array of 25 LED stars reaches into the sky atop the roof of his home and twinkles in unison with 150,000 other lights making up the interstellar display. A 45-foot tree in his yard stretches into the stratosphere and is so tall the Federal Aviation Administration needed to approve its installation since a local airpark is nearby. Closer to Earth, an HD video screen above the garage plays movie clips, trippy visuals, and the occasional music video. We suggest adding David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” or “Life on Mars” into the mix.
Dates and times: Nightly, 6 to 10 p.m., from December 3 to January 2.
Christmas on Comstock
3642 East Comstock Drive, Gilbert
See how the other half celebrates the season by rolling down this street in a section of Gilbert where more than a dozen adjacent homes are rigged up with elaborate decorations and a synced-up light show. More than 100,000 lights, 300-plus strobes, and numerous snow machines and other attractions await and residents are known to bring Santa by for a visit on weekend nights. Thousands of cars come through every hour but we recommend getting out and walking the route instead. If nothing else, it beats having angry drivers behind you getting pissed while you pause to check something out.
Dates and times: Sunday through Thursday, 6 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 to 10:30 p.m. starting December 1.
541 East Mountain Sky Avenue
First, the bad news: You won’t be able to board the namesake train at the center of Frank and Dianne Polimene’s long-running display outside their Ahwatukee home, since it’s built at 1/6th scale. (Plus, you’d look pretty foolish trying to do so.) Instead, you’ll have to make do with watching the quaint contraption chug along an 80-foot-long track, circling a miniature illuminated volcano and Ferris wheel. There are other things to do, like interact with an animatronic Santa, get plastic-wrapped candy canes from a dispenser, look at star-shaped lights twinking on the South Mountain foothills behind the house, or ask the Polimenes how many “chugga chuggas” should be said before “choo choo.”
Dates and times: Operates nightly until 11 p.m. from November 25 until January 1.
A Winters Dream
37868 North Bonnie Lane, San Tan Valley
Once Halloween is in the rearview, Brandon and Alina McCaslin’s house goes from horrifying to wholesome as the couple ditches their annual haunt and puts up Yuletide decor of a more festive and bright variety. Fierce creatures are replaced with glowing reindeer, cuddly polar bears, candy canes, and thousands upon thousands of lights. (They keep the pyrotechnics around, though.) Snowfalls take place on Saturday evenings and both St. Nick and the Grinch will drop by in the days leading up to Christmas. Is it as quaint as all get out? Yeah, but that’s Christmas in a nutshell.
Dates and times: Open 6 to 10 p.m. nightly from December 1 to 25. Santa Claus is scheduled to visit 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on December 17 and 18.
Christmas on Upland Drive
2617 West Upland Drive, Chandler
Dozens of homes on this residential street in Chandler will sparkle with glowing bulbs, illuminated inflatables, and other electrically powered decorations. It’s a tradition dating back to the ’90s that typically see all the homeowners rocking their own distinctive lighting scheme. Certain nights during the holiday season will offer food trucks, horse-drawn carriages, and even movies being screened (check the Facebook page for more details).
Dates and times: Nightly, 6 to 11 p.m., from December 1 to January 2.
8211 South 63rd Avenue, Laveen Village
Patti and Mel Tasker scoff at anyone complaining about how the holiday season starts too early. Since November 1, they’re been welcoming carloads of visitors to roll through the circular driveway of their sprawling home in Laveen to check out 300,000 lights, a bestiary of illuminated zoo animals, and more than 500 cutouts of cartoons and comic books — from The Avengers to Zootopia — decorating the scene. A word of warning: You might need a full tank of gas to get there since its far-flung location is deep in the southwest Valley. The Taskers are right next to the Loop 202 freeway, though, and (unlike other local drive-thru holiday displays) it’s completely free.
Dates and times: Hours are 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. nightly through early January.
Phoenix Winter Wonderland
4237 West State Avenue
If “Christmas mania” was an actual psychological condition, David Chuchla would have a confirmed case of it. He starts preparing the enormous display that dominates his west Phoenix home over the summer, spending six months unpacking and arranging more than 80,000 lights, 50 different trees, and hundreds of blown plastic, animatronic, and inflatable characters that cover every bit of space of his front and back yards, roof, and driveway. (Seriously, he goes all out and then some.) Inside, you can stroll through almost every room of his residence and see huge collections of Christmas ornaments, figurines, miniatures, knick-knacks, collectibles, and ephemera situated practically everywhere. We hope Chuchla doesn’t recover from his obsession anytime soon since his Winter Wonderland is a monument to holiday overabundance you have to witness at least once.
Dates and times: Open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 6 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from November 25 to December 29.
7734 North 41st Avenue
Emilio Palacio’s display is a love letter to South Park that’s been around almost as long as the infamous animated show itself. Adorning his front lawn, porch, and roof are more than 75 characters recreated in painted plywood form that he’s created since the early 2000s. Everything looks suitably DIY, befitting the cartoon’s cutout aesthetic. Expect to see deep-cut and old-school South Park residents like Officer Barbrady, Big Gay Al, Mayor McDaniels, and Starvin Marvin in the crowd, as well as more recent characters. Just don’t expect to hear any of the show’s profane humor in the dialogue and music mix Palacio plays over loudspeakers. It’s a little “weak,” as Cartman might say, but it keeps the homeowner from annoying his neighbors.
Dates and times: On display, dusk until 11 p.m., from December 1 through January 1.
Lights in Verrado
3131 North Evergreen Street, Buckeye
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Verrado is a haul from the rest of the Valley, but this massive light show and display at the home of the Rutt-Williams family are worth the drive. A mesmerizing audio-visual feast plays out across various 24,000 LED pixels covering items and surfaces like giant snowflakes, icicles, a large mega-tree, and a row of candy canes lining the edge of the front yard during hourly light shows. If sitting in your car seems a bit lonely, visitors are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets to sit on the sidewalk. Just resist the urge to camp out overnight.
Dates and times: Nightly, 6 to 9 p.m., from November 26 to January 1.
Scary Christmas House
4431 West Escuda Drive, Glendale
If you’re a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, you’ve got Tim Burton’s stop-motion classic on repeat this time of year. If you’re a fan like Bob Spacy Jr., you transform your house into a gigantic monument to the movie. Such is the case outside his two-story residence, which is filled with handmade props from the flick and characters like Jack Skellington, Oogie Boogie, and the trio of Lock, Shock, and Barrel. A flying Zero zooms around while 100,000 LEDs light up his yard with greens, reds, and purples. He’s created even more this year, including spider snowflakes and Oogie’s spinning dice. Unlike Jack Skellington, his fascination with merging Halloween and Christmas isn’t going to abate anytime soon.
Dates and times: Hours are 6 to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 6 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, until January 2.
A Molar Christmas
8252 West Camino De Oro, Peoria
We swear this is the tooth and nothing but the tooth: Much like Hermey the misfit elf from the Rankin/Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer animated special, retired dentist Charles Gatti has a soft spot for both dental care and Christmas. Every year, his two-story Peoria home is festooned with more than 135,000 individual lights, various leaping arches, a 25-foot-tall mega-tree, and video screens decorating the place. A low-power FM transmitter broadcasts a holiday mix of music as spectacular light shows unfold.
Dates and times: Operates 6 to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 6 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
6988 West Firebird Drive, Glendale
Too much Christmas is never enough for Howard Meci, which is why his Glendale home is teeming with a holiday hullabaloo. Swing by and you’ll encounter 45,000 lights, custom-made displays, animated fireworks, a 25-foot-tall mega tree, a cannonade of laser lights, and a 30-foot-long street motif hanging across the driveway declaring “Merry Christmas” to visitors. If you somehow needed to see an enormous dragon wearing a Santa hat, he’s got that too.
Dates and times: Nightly from dusk until 9:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and dusk until 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
The Lights on Maui
13439 West Maui Lane, Surprise
You don’t have to travel to Hawaii to see this impressive collection of thousands upon thousands of lights, a flock of singing Christmas trees, and other seasonal revelries. Instead, head over to this two-story home off Greenway and Dysart roads, which hosts shows consisting of cheery tunes and flashing lights every 50 minutes. Holiday trivia and visits by Santa via remote video also take place. You can leave the sunscreen at home but feel free to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and other seating. Mele kalikimaka!
Dates and times: Runs nightly from 6 to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 6 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
8374 West Meadow Drive, Peoria (Joe’s display)
8820 West Echo Lane, Peoria (Catherine’s display)
Much like the other members of their family, siblings Joe and Catherine Sirakis have a ridiculous amount of decorations gracing their respective homes every December. Some of it is handmade, including the hand-painted wooden cutouts of colorful characters the family creates and sells online. This year, Joe will have 30,000 lights, more than 40 Disney-inspired character cutouts, a 25-foot-tall Mickey Mouse mega-tree, a foam snow machine, and holiday music. Meanwhile, Catherine will host a display outside her home with 15,000 lights and 20 themed inflatables.
Dates and times: Joe’s display runs 6 to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 6 to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, starting December 1. Cathy’s goes from 6 to 11 p.m. nightly, weather permitting, from November 28 to January 7.