Nothing brings more joy at the end of a dark year than the bright, colorful lights of Christmas. And when your annual holiday drive around the neighborhood brings you upon that ONE special house — the one with festive tunes pulsing from speakers and choreographed trees dancing along, with lights so over-the-top that Santa can surely see them from the North Pole — that's when it truly feels like the hap-happiest season of all.
These distinctly festive family homes throughout Dallas-Fort Worth are attracting visitors with their immersive displays, high-tech shows, quirky extras, and — in one case — lights worthy of a reality competition show.
Remember to pack patience in the family car, as many have become so popular that they take some time to drive past or walk around in a safe, socially distanced manner. And take special note of those collecting donations for good causes.
Burkman Holiday Home of Frisco, now-December 31
Currently the most famous "Christmas light family" in DFW, the Burkmans of Frisco were recently featured on Live with Kelly and Ryan, and taped an episode for ABC’s The Great Christmas Family Light Fight competition in 2021. Decorating a home for the season has been a family tradition for over 20 years, since son Alex, who has autism, began playing with lights as creative expression when he was a toddler. This year, the interactive display of 70,000 lights includes a 400-piece train village in the garage, a post office to mail Santa letters, and many selfie stations. They encourage people to get out of their car, walk around, and take photos. They're also collecting toys, clothes, and donations for Hackberry elementary school families in need. The lights are on 6-11 pm nightly (weather permitting). Parking can be tight, so be prepared to park and walk a block or two. The home is at 3809 Hazelhurst Dr., Frisco, on the Frisco/Little Elm border. Follow their Facebook page for updates, charity info, and more.
Electric Lizzyland, Old East Dallas, now-December 25
After taking a break last year, Liz Simmons has brought the Lakewood-area favorite back for 2020. Her front lawn is aglow with tens of thousands of lights, plus vignettes that include Santa and his reindeer, an Abominable Snowman, a new glittery mural adorning the house, a walk-through lights tunnel, and much more. The eclectic holiday house is practically its own Christmas town, with bright lights and photo opps at every turn. Walk through the spectacle most nights from 6-8 pm (weather permitting). Find it at 714 Newell, Dallas, 75223. Follow their Facebook page for updates on weather and more.
Santa House, University Park, now-late December
Once hailed "the single best Christmas light display in Dallas," this perennial favorite fills the front lawn with hundreds of lighted blow-mold decorations that homeowner Wayne Smith has amassed over the years. But look up — way up to the roof — and you'll find his distinctly "Dallas" touch: the head of the State Fair's very first Big Tex, restored to his original form as St. Nick in 1949 and donning a Santa hat. Find it nightly at 3629 Southwestern Blvd., Dallas.
Timberhollow Circle, Lake Highlands, now-late December
On this Lake Highlands street, "The 12 Days of Christmas" come alive on Timberhollow Circle. The display has been a tradition for more than two decades. Each home is decorated as one of the days, from a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming. Several residents have moved over the years, but they’ve passed along the decorations to the new homeowners to keep the tradition alive. While you drive by, tune in to 87.7 FM to listen to different versions of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The entrance is located one block south of Royal Lane off Abrams Road on Moss Haven Drive, 75231. The lights stay on nightly until 11 pm through the end of December.
'Movie House,' Allen, now-mid-January
This family home north of Dallas has a fun and unique theme: favorite holiday movies. Some 8,000 lights and 11 characters and props are set to a seven-minute choreographed show, complete with music and movie quotes from classic characters like Clark, Buddy, Ralphie, and more. It's the Smith family's first big holiday display, but they plan on building many more to come. You'll find it at 1600 Wagon Wheel Dr., Allen. The show runs nightly through mid-January, from 5:30-11 pm.
The Browne Family Holiday Light Show, Parker, now-January 5
This family has a tradition of turning their home into a destination. The Browne Family Holiday Light Show is a full light show synchronized with music taking place throughout the Christmas season. While the show is free, it is an official drop-off point for Toys For Tots; visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate. The show runs from dark to 9 pm Sundays through Thursdays, and dark to 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, at 2701 Dublin Park Dr., Parker.
Lights on Oak Bluff, Sachse, now-December 31
This fantastic lights display has won multiple awards from the City of Sachse and the neighborhood HOA. Expect over 7,000 individually computer-controlled lights, a 13-foot Megatree, Singing Faces, yard decorations, and two pixel matrixes. The Christmas show is synchronized to music; tune to 92.9 FM to enjoy from your car. It's free to visit, but they welcome donations to the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation to help a 5-year-old neighbor. The show runs nightly from 6-10 pm, at 4310 Oak Bluff Ln., Sachse. Follow their Facebook page for updates. While you're in the Oak Bluff neighborhood, drive over to 7906 and 7910 Edgeglen Tr., two homes with a coordinated lights show that runs 5 pm-midnight through January 1.
Fort Worth area
Wisdom Way Lights, Haltom City, now-January 3
The Gonzalez family's choreographed show of 8,300 LED lights features a six-minute tribute to pop icon Selena. Clips of Selena concerts are projected on an LED screen while music and snippets of interviews are played over speakers and lighted Christmas trees on the lawn "dance" along. The 15-minute high-tech show also includes characters from Nintendo game Super Smash Bros. and cartoon favorite Peppa Pig. It's the family's ninth year to turn their house into a Christmas show, but the first time they've geared it toward adults, with a Selena theme — a fitting tribute on the 25th anniversary of her death. Visitors can view the free show from their cars and listen on radio channel 90.7 FM. Wisdom Way Lights runs nightly from 6-11 pm, and until midnight on Friday and Saturdays, through January 3. Find it at 4521 Wisdom Way, Haltom City, and follow Wisdom Way Lights on Facebook and YouTube for updates.
Grapevine Santa House, now-December 27
The Murillos have filled their front yard in Grapevine with more than 1,000 lighted Santa decorations as a beacon of awareness for local nonprofit Grace Grapevine's Christmas Cottage program. The Grapevine Santa House is a "Where's Waldo?" maze of Santa blow-mold statues, which visitors can walk among and snap photos with for free, then make an optional donation to Grace online. Since they flipped on the lights a few weeks ago, they've attracted national media attention and will be featured on ABC's Good Morning America on Christmas Eve. To date, the Santa House and matching donations have helped raise more than $55,000 for Grace. The lights go on every night from 5-10 pm through December 28. The home is on a cul-de-sac in the Western Oaks neighborhood, and visitors can park along the street. The exact location is 3373 Spruce Ln., Grapevine. Follow the Grapevine Santa House Facebook page for updates.
Diamond Loch, North Richland Hills, now-January 1
This North Richland Hills neighborhood has dressed up for the holidays for decades. Drive through the cul-de-sac slowly to check out three adjacent houses that join forces to present a massive computerized show. The rest of the street decorates nicely to make an enchanted "Whoville" Christmas experience. They grow the show every year, and there are several new features for 2020. To find it, navigate to the address 6217 Windsor Ct., NRH.
Curry Christmas Chaos, North Richland Hills, now-January 6
Three houses collaborate to present a lights show synchronized to music that's anything but the "chaos" that the name implies. From start to finish, it's just over an hour long, and features a mix of pixels and standard LED lights "dancing" to music. Visitors can tune in to 89.9 FM to listen as lots and lots of Christmas trees light up on the lawn. The show runs every night (unless mother nature decides differently), 6-11 pm, through the first week in January. Find it at 3506 Reeves St., NRH. Follow the Facebook page for more information and updates.
Rushing Meadow Court and Harder Drive, Dalworthington Gardens, now-January 1
Homeowner Dave Kulesz started a neighborhood tradition when he lit up his property with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. Surrounding homes got into the fun and now attract visitors from miles around. Kulesz uses the exposure to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease, to which he lost his mother. A sign in his front yard encourages people to make gifts to the Alzheimer's Association. See the lights every night from 5:45-11 pm. Find it on Rushing Meadow Court in Dalworthington Gardens.
Montego Road, Ridgmar neighborhood, west Fort Worth, now-December 31
The Montego Road Christmas Show project, now 15 years strong, takes an entire street to pull off. Two residences (mirror images of each other) comprise the main program, with two more "support homes" flanking them and curb lights of 12 other homes leading the way to the main event. The show of more than 125,000 lights is fully choreographed to Christmas music (heard on an FM radio station in the car or via outdoor speakers) and lasts about 30 minutes. It begins at 6 pm and runs until midnight each night. To find it, exit Interstate 30 at Ridglea/Ridgmar Blvd. and go north. The streets are in alphabetical order until you reach Montego Road. The display begins there, at Ridgmar Blvd., and continues west on the 1100 block of Montego Road.
Foley family home, Park Glen, far north Fort Worth, now-January 1
Since 2015, the Foley family has been lighting up their home with a choreographed lights display. It plays each night from 6-10 pm and features over 20,000 LED lights and approximately 30 songs. (Half of them play on one night and half the next, so you can see different shows on different nights.) Listeners can tune to 100.1 FM to hear the music from their car or listen to it on speakers throughout the yard. One of the two centerpieces of the show is a singing Santa face. The other is a 10-foot mega-sized Christmas tree topped with a Bethlehem Star. Peek through the front window of the house to glimpse a hologram Santa, then drop off a letter to St. Nick in a special mailbox (he might just write back!), and walk through a Christmas light tunnel on the sidewalk. The home faces the Arcadia Park hike-bike trail, so it's easy to walk or bike up to the house for an all-outdoors experience. Find it at 8301 Greylock Dr., at Island Circle, Fort Worth, just south of Keller.
Tell Family Lights, far north Fort Worth, now-January 1
The family home near Keller Central High School puts on an annual synchronized Christmas lights show, which is more high-tech than ever this year. Guests can scan QR codes to vote on the songs and, essentially, control the show. Tune your car radio to 99.9 FM to listen along. Find the home at 5016 Keating St., Fort Worth, 76244. The lights are on 5:45-9 pm Sunday through Thursday and 5:45-10 pm Friday and Saturday. (Make sure to not block anyone’s driveway and be careful driving down the street, they advise.) Follow their website or Facebook page for more information and updates.