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The sparkle. The music. The awe. Driving around the city looking at Christmas lights is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. This night is one that all six of us look forward to every December. We dress in comfy clothes…sometimes pjs. (Tip- make sure everyone has an actual pair of shoes in case you need a potty break.) We make sure we have Christmas music and the Charlie Brown Christmas DVD in the van. Then comes one of the most important parts of the trip: the food and drinks!

We eat our way through an 8 course meal as we travel to each stop. After each display we get out the next course. The meal starts off with something that kind of looks like a supper. For us it is normally meat, cheese and crackers. Then we alternate between yummy, healthy and really yummy snacks. We also make sure to have a fun hot drink and cold drink, along with some water. Hense the need for shoes for a bathroom break.

We try to start the night around 5:00 so that we can end it at a decent time. If we do our whole route, it last 3-4 hours. This may be more than your kids can handle, so don’t feel like you need to hit every light display. As the kids get older and schedules get busier, we often break it up into two nights so that we can enjoy all the sights and not get home too late. You can also just pick a couple that you think your kids will enjoy the most and just do those.

Here are some tips for the night:

  • Bring a trash bag for garbage.
  • Have a tray or container for the kids to eat out of to making eating a little easier.
  • Make sure everyone has shoes. You might want to even schedule a potty break when convient on your trip.
  • Make sure someone is in charge of checking to make sure the car lights get turned back on after looking at a display. (Otherwise a friendly cop might remind you!)
  • Have everyone pick their favorite snack so everyone has something to look forward to.
  • Take drinks that have lids or put them in containers with lids.
  • Have napkins/wipes available.
  • Clean out the car so kids can move about when you are parked looking at the lights.
  • If the troops are nearing the end of their rope, call it a night. It’s not worth pushing through.

Here is our Christmas Lights Tour for the KC area. (Kansas Side)

If you can’t do all 8, here are our top favorites:

  • Best Neighborhood Display: #6- This the most beautiful neighborhood ever!!  (But if you have littles, #1 is more fun and unforgettable!)
  • Best Lights Display: Depends on what you are looking for: #7 is the longest and biggest. #2 has Charlie Brown’s Luke 2 reading!! #5 does a good job syncing the music with the lights and is shorter than #7.
  • Best Walking Display: #8 -If you have never experienced this one, you should. It will be something you will never forget!
  • Best Date Night: #3 – Buy her a fun warm drink as you walk through the lighted path.
  • Short on time: Best displays in shortest amount of time: #5-8

If you live in another part of the KC area, here is a great resource to find lights near you. Johnson County Christmas Lights Tour

If you live somewhere else, google it. I am sure someone has put together a list of good lights displays near you.

What is your favorite holiday tradition??


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