Are you feeling festive yet? We are! As your leading Northern Virginia real estate agent, Yvonne Holland loves checking out Christmas lights around the region. It’s one of the best ways to get to know our neighborhoods and enjoy a hearty helping of holiday cheer. Bundle up, grab a cozy hot chocolate and head out to check out some fabulous local light displays. But how can folks find the best Christmas lights around?
Loudoun pediatrician and Christmas light aficionado Bill Incatasciato launched the website loudounchristmaslights.com three years ago. Bill, whose home in Leesburg’s Northlake community is a feast for the eyes, just can’t get enough Christmas cheer and has a nose for finding the best displays. Bill told Loudoun Now newspaper that light shows fall into three general categories:
- Delightfully tacky “Griswolds” named for the iconic Clark Griswold of Christmas Vacation fame.
- Elegant: lovely traditional displays with lots of classy white lights.
- Techie/synchronized: featuring a sophisticated set-up with computers, sequencers, and synchronization with music.
In many cases, Christmas light enthusiasts will flock to a single, over-the-top home. But Christmas light mania becomes contagious in some neighborhoods, like the Stone Ridge neighborhood in Aldie and many communities in Leesburg and Sterling. When neighbors ramp up their displays in the spirit of friendly competition, it’s a win for fans around the region. Neighborly inspiration leads to what Bill calls “clumps,” where a whole street or neighborhood street becomes a draw.
One of our all-time favorite Christmas lights displays is located in the beautiful Leesburg neighborhood of Woodlea Hills. The spectacular Hillview Place home is known throughout the community for its annual Halloween and Christmas light and music extravaganzas–and the kindness and community spirit of its owners. It’s one of those homes that gets better every year, thanks to creative owners passionate about the holidays. This year’s Woodlea Hills Lights display features a whopping 20,366 LED lights and a music soundtrack with holiday favorites, including Clark Griswold’s Hallelujah, Mariah Carey and The Carol of the Bells. With computer synchronization, thousands of lights on the house, and fun illuminated props in the yard, Woodlea Hills Lights is a must-see. Check it out at facebook.com/WoodleaHillsLights.
Loudounchristmaslights.com is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for the best displays around. Bill is always looking for new listings, so give him a shout if you have a fantastic set-up to share. For many households, spreading Christmas cheer is truly a labor of love, with families spending lots of time and money to bring joy to the community. Some homeowners also support local nonprofits, encouraging visitors to leave donations for local food banks. But be aware: many HOAs have rules about how long those lights can stay up. So catch them before Christmas if you can.
If you’re looking for an immersive holiday light experience, the Bull Run Festival of Lights at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville features a 2.5-mile drive of festive light displays. It’s a regional treasure and just a short drive from Loudoun. In Vienna, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens’ Winter Walk of Lights is a charming, walkable installation with hot chocolate and s’mores stations for extra holiday fun. And Franklin Park near Purcellville offers a smaller, budget-friendly holiday lights walk that’s fun for all ages. Live closer to Winchester? Make sure to visit Walking in a Winter Wonderland, a half-mile walk through a light display with music at Clearbrook Park, just west of Winchester (https://www.ticketsignup.io/TicketEvent/WalkinginaWinterWonderland)
There’s no place like home for the holidays! We’re wishing everyone a joyful season full of family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Yvonne Holland, and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous new year.