12.17.10 11:36 PM ET
World's Most Outrageous Christmas-Light Displays
Upping 'Amazing Grace's Game
Utah resident Richard Holdman started small for his holiday decorations. “My wife said, ‘Let’s put up some Christmas lights on the house.’ So I put up some and every year, it gets more and more and pretty soon it turned into this,” he told his local CBS news station. Holdman has used his miraculous displays for the past four years to raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Cars line up along the Holdman's street, and those in the giving spirit drop money into donation boxes to spread joy and help raise thousands of dollars for the foundation. In 2007, Holdman’s synchronized decorations featuring Yule’s "Amazing Grace" made the rounds, even reaching The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Ohio Gets Lit
When a fan of Carson Williams’ Mason, Ohio, home posted a video of his 2004 display on YouTube, he never expected it to reach nearly 8 million viewers. The electrical engineer arranged an astounding 25,000 lights to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s "Wizards in Winter," and his efforts did not go unnoticed. Miller Lite featured his display in a 2005 beer commercial for the holiday season with the slogan “ Enjoy the Lites.”
Christmas at the Club
If the cast of Jersey Shore were to take the time to do something for the holidays besides smush, take shots, and fist-pump, we’d imagine they’d come up with something like this—a miraculous light display set to the 2000 trance music track "Sandstorm" by DJ Darude. One home in Chino, California—made famous by the TV show The OC, which touted it as a wrong-side-of-tracks town—used the song for their 2008 Christmas display, turning the house various monochromatic shades before becoming multicolored madness at the chorus. The show, which the homeowners dubbed “ Christmas Lights Gone Wild,” was replicated by dance-music fans everywhere. But here we have the original home that used "Sandstorm" for clubby Christmas light display in 2006.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Takeover
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “ Wizards in Winter” was used at least twice in the 2004-05 holiday seasons for over-the-top light shows. One of those displays belonged to Jeff and Bridgette Trykoski of Frisco, Texas, who have been decorating in such an extravagant holiday fashion since 2001. Jeff said the matching song selection was a coincidence, and though the Ohio home earned a TV commercial for its display, the Trykoskis earned the best computerized display award from PlanetChristmas.com Worldwide Decorating Contest for 2005.
Hyped on Sugar Plum Fairies
Americans aren’t the only ones to go crazy with their Christmas lights. Kym Illman of Perth, Australia, used 65,000 bulbs and more than 23,000 feet of cable to create this cracked-out Nutcracker techno display using the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.” He also synced up his neighbor’s house to the music, as he explained via satellite to the Today show, which named his display the “ World’s Best Christmas Lights 2010.” And the six hours Illman and his team spent working to erect the display is also for a good cause—he’s hoping to outdo his annual donations to the Perth’s children's hospital with $30,000 this year.
Florida’s Hottest Winter Wonderland
This Margate, Florida, home brought the Christmas cheer to the South in 2009 with its synchronized light show to David Foster’s “Carol of the Bells.” The home’s owner, Jeff Ostroff, has been doing spectacular holiday displays for more than a decade and has passers-by tune their car radios into a programmed station playing his song of choice for the full experience—a common technique among these grandiose decorators. Last year’s 64,000-light extravaganza earned Ostroff the best computerized display award from PlanetChristmas.com Worldwide Decorating Contest. He also goes all out for Halloween.
We’ll Have What They’re Having
From Chevy Chase’s turn in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick in Deck the Halls, the competition between neighbors for the best Christmas decorations has long been a holiday movie trope. Some, however, choose not to compete and instead go the humorous route with a simple one-word display with an accompanying arrow. The anti-keeping-up-with-the-Joneses approach of the “Ditto” decoration has earned its own brand of attention.