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I remember my childhood, when we would gather at my aunt’s house for Christmas. Out-of-town guests – like us – would come a day or two early, and the rest of the family would gather on Christmas Day. Everyone would bring a special dish, often pre-determined years in advance because of a favorite recipe (yams with marshmallows on top) or limitations in cooking skills (store-bought rolls).

We would have the special meal together, catching up on each others’ lives. Whose business was going well? Who was having a hard time with a co-worker? Who had fallen in love and invited their special someone to dinner for an informal inspection?

After dinner we would circle around the Christmas tree for gifts. The youngest children – for several years it was me – would be responsible for retrieving and handing out the gifts.

It was fun to handle all the gifts and to be the center of attention of so many people who loved and cared about you.

But it was the night before Christmas I remember best.

The Night Before Christmas: Lights!

The night before Christmas, my aunt and uncle treated me and my mom and two or three other family members to an annual treat. We’d pile into their conversion van for a tour of the most spectacular lights in the Columbus metro area.

My aunt and uncle started with a general idea of where they wanted to go, but made up the details when we got close. There were always delightful displays on houses, and entire streets that seemed lit up from the curb to the backyard, and from the ground to the top of the house.

It was memorable, if for nothing else than spending time together, again, as the center of attention, and seeing all those lights on a night filled with anticipation of family and gifts.

Where to go for a Guaranteed Light Show

Every community has a few houses that are adorned with amazing Christmas lights each year. One or two particular houses prompt you to ask the classic Christmas Vacation question, “Is your house on fire, Clark?” Just so you can hear the familiar refrain, “No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.”

But piling in the car for a handful of spectacular houses doesn’t seem like the great investment it once did.

So many families, in order to get the best value for their holiday dollars, are driving through nearby light shows, like the Christmas Glow at Land of Illusion.

While a neighborhood might offer an occasional great house, Christmas Glow offers a guaranteed show for everyone in every seat of the car. With themed tableaus and beautiful vistas, your family is certain to see a remarkable winter light display.

There’s never been a better time to load your immediate family to see Christmas lights from the safety and warmth of your own car.

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