'TIS THE SEASON when normally modest houses shimmer like showgirls, when the electric meter spins like a top, when the crowds gather to ooh and aah. At Christmastime, many bay area families write their love of the holiday in wires and bulbs. At top, the moon rises over the home of Brian and Connie McSorley, who drape their Spring Hill winter wonderland with wire art figures, thousands of lights and even an artificial snow machine. Above is a detail from the home of Ann and Jason Burton of Temple Terrace, whose glittering display is outdone only by Mr. Burton, who dresses up as Santa on Christmas Eve. Inside on Page 3 you'll find our annual list of displays we think you'll take a shine to.
26 New Florida Ave. Animated North Pole display case, more than 8,000 lights and ornaments.
Pine Ridge Estates, 4743 W Phoenix Drive. "The most unique and animated display in the county."
Off Baker Avenue, 7288 S Eastlake Drive. Lots of inflatables, animated carousel, lifesize nativity.
22315 Snow Hill Road. Manger in the front yard, Santa and reindeer on the rooftop, large candy cane and North Pole. Neighbors decorate also. From 6 to 9 p.m. starting Dec. 13, we will celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Charity canned food collection.
Lake Lindsey, 15290 Brice Drive. "Hernando County's largest display," 2.5 acres of spectacular beauty. 35,000 synchronized lights and music. Visit www.candycaneacres.com for pictures and directions.
13055 Seagate St. Christmas character scenes, nutcrackers, snowmen, gingerbread house, nativity, carolers, Santa with sleigh and reindeer.
3499 Plaza Ave. Lights display begins Sunday.
5509 Applegate Lane. "This is our 20th and last year. Everything is handmade."
7452 Alhambra Court. Located at end of the court. Lights, nativity, Santa, reindeer, garage display with more than 200 lighted buildings with animations. Take Waterfall to Alhambra Court, then go to end of court, or County Line Road to Randolph to Alhambra.
Deltona, 3391 Lambert Ave. Helicopter, trains, Santas, trees, nativity set, sleigh.
Orchard Park, 2116 Orchard Park Drive. Dozens of animated wire art figures with real snow.
Turtle Lakes, 1235 Waterbury Loop. More than 100 figurines, decorations and Christmas sculptures, about 20,000 lights, including the never-ending "hedge to nowhere." Spot the one decoration that is out of place. Lights out at 9 p.m. Turtle Lakes is 3 miles east of U.S. 41 on SR 54. Enter on Foggy Ridge, go 7/10 mile to Waterbury Loop.
Lamplighter on the River, 8415 E Fowler Ave. Santa and Mrs. Claus, nativity scene, blowups, snowmen, more than 50 homes decorated.
5905 N Habana Ave. Almost 20,000 lights around the property, six reindeer, Santa, nativity.
Area near 3407 Hollyhock Way. "There are 74 homes in the subdivision, and about 54 of them put up lots of lights."
400 El Prado Blvd. Many lights throughout yard, including on large oaks. Santa and sleigh, Santa's house with mice in front, gingerbread, reindeer, elves, lighted snowmen.
840 S Boulevard. Santa and Mrs. Claus with elves, nativity scene, toy soldiers, candy canes, snowman, music, thousands of lights, oversized ornaments, 7-foot wreath, 3-foot ornaments.
9711 Riverview Drive. Gingerbread men, animated animals, candy canes, lighted toy soldiers, Santa in a 15-foot hot air balloon, Santa in an 8-foot helicopter. Garage converted into a storefront window, like Mrs. Claus' bakery Christmas display room.
13804 Khilani Court. Thousands of lights, lighted bells and wreaths, sleigh with Santa and reindeer on roof, life-size nativity scene (the homeowner built the manger).
409 Ronele Drive. Grinch theme. Caroling bears in yard and various wood cutouts, big white lights.
2410 Washington Drive. Manger scene, drummer boys.
210 Park Ridge Ave. A lighted archway leads up the driveway, with Santa and his reindeer taking off from the roof. Twinkling snowflakes fall from a light-wrapped oak tree. Santa will make an appearance Christmas Eve.
Lake Tropicana Ranchettes, 4555 SW 175th Court. Half-acre of lights, including Santa riding a chopper on the roof.
13741 10th St. Lots of lights and decorations, all depicting the reason for the season.
2027 Hess Drive. Lights and inflatables. Some neighbors join in the decorating fun.
15132 Vine St. Whole neighborhood participates in decorating. Inflatables, model train.
Arlington Woods, 10932 Midland Bridge Road. Reindeer, waterfall, sleigh, snowman. Lights on the week before Christmas.
Word of Life, 13427 Word of Life Drive. Yard decorations, nine scenes with many animations.
New Port Richey
Colonial Manor, 3505 Berkshire St. Lights on roof, house, lawn.
Deer Park, 8422 Royal Hart Drive. Thousands of lights illuminate house, shrubbery, trees, roof, ground and arches over driveway. Handmade wooden scenes, Santa and friends on moving ski slope lift.
Golden Acres, 9187 Sunshine Blvd. Candles light the drive, stars surround the home, inflatables, deer and moose, trees, nativity scene and snowman.
Gulf Harbors, 5501 Clipper Court. Traditional, with inflatables.
Millwood, 4924 Arbor Oaks Blvd. Animated figures, singing Santa. "Stop by for our traditional Christmas Eve extravaganza."
Millwood, 4933 Arbor Oaks Blvd. Flying Santa, Mickey Mouse and much more.
16413 Eagle View Drive. Dale Earnhardt Jr. car, hot air balloons, numerous blowups.
Regency Park, 7124 Westcott Drive. SpongeBob, 8-foot carousel, inflatables. Santa will visit from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 24.
Regency Park, 10101 and 10039 Sleepyhollow Lane. Both homes have "tons of decorations, lots of stuff to look at."
Regency Park, Rockwood Drive. Half the block participates in display. "Arches, blowups, everything you can imagine!"
38810 Miller Ave. Seven lighted reindeer, blowup snowmen, Santa Claus. All trees, windows and house lighted.
2158 Belmar Drive. Santa's train, reindeer, etc.
1727 Penny Lane. Corner lot with lights, filled with more than 30 blowup figures: Santas (including Mickey Mouse and the Grinch as Santa), reindeer, penguins, bears.
2662 Beaumont Court. Train, total village, flying Santa.
2833 Meadowhill Drive. Living Christmas tree, snow, "old-fashioned Christmas."
Beckett Lake Estates, 1925 Beckett Lake Drive (Sunset Point Road just west of Belcher Road): Entire neighborhood lights up, large displays, thousands of lights, nativity scenes, animated figures, holiday music. At 1925 Beckett Lake Drive, lighted walkway.
Beckett Lake Estates, 2147 Hartford Way. Red, white, blue trees; loads of animations, snow machine, decorated classic '69 Mustang.
El de Oro West, 2143 Grove Place. Animated, life-size Santa; mailbox. Moving carousel, seesaw, lights galore.
Greenbriar, 2159 Greenbriar Blvd. Animated characters, Santa and Mrs. Santa on a Harley, snow people, manger, trees. Neighborhood lighting winner two years running.
Pinellas Groves, 14601 58th St. N. Singing Santa, three sleighs, one sleigh on roof with waving Santa, animated lights (helicopter, elves with stocking, more), six inflatables, two snow globes.
Washington Square, 2 N Fernwood Ave. Many lights and blowups on this patio.
Woodgate III, 2245 Tulip Tree Lane. Decorated live oak and holly tree, reindeer grazing and taking flight. Driveway lined with candy canes, a grand Christmas tree on display.
Woodgate III, 2313 Hawthorne Drive. "Holidays on Hawthorne. Thousands of lights, complete nativity scene and much more. "
Woodside Village condo, 4215 East Bay Drive, #802. Lots of lawn displays, balloons, animations, festive scenes.
510 Ulelah Ave. Gingerbread house full of red and green lights, trees, snowman, Santa, deer and more.
1241 Falcon Drive. "Mama's little Disney World."
1430 Douglas Ave. Eight-foot blowups, thousands of lights, gingerbread house; merry-go-round, animated figures, blowmolds. Projector images; roof lights connect to neighbor's roof.
Heath Ridge, 2113 Evans Road. Snowflakes on four villas, lights, ladder with elves going up tree, Mr. and Mrs. Claus in sleigh.
4300 63rd St. N. Display in red and white with the theme of "Let It Snow." Snowmen, snowflakes and many lights.
4743 Lake Charles Drive N. "If you enjoy the touch of many lights, then come by and see what we have done to transform our home for the holidays."
6435 43rd Ave. N. Many blowups, lights, candy canes. Some of the neighbors also have displays.
Tenaglia Estates, 6200 43rd Ter. N. Entire block of 43rd Terrace and 43rd Avenue: various beautiful light displays. Lights on Dec. 16.
11340 113th Ave. N. A few hundred old-fashioned C-9 lights with a star in the center of the roof and a Santa Claus figurine.
11352 117th Ave. N. Decorations and inflatables on this dead-end street one block south of Walsingham between Ridge Road and 113th Street (enter off Ridge Road). New this year: Santa's runway landing lights on the roof "and a special breast cancer awareness tree dedicated to my wife."
8090 Dovehill Lane. Miniature lights, some blinking, across the front of house and garage. Junipers encircled with lights; wreath on the outdoor light; Christmas tree in front window; handmade wooden Santa, reindeer, star.
Esquire Manor, 10449 127th Ave. Reindeer and Santa coming out of chimney, Santa on motorcycle, nativity set, singing mice, merry-go-round, star on roof.
Kimpton Farms, 20 homes along Kimpton Place. Tune your radio to 88.3 FM and listen to Christmas songs synchronized to about 250,000 lights spread among 20 homes. Off Belcher Road between East Bay Drive and Ulmerton Road, 6-11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 6 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday.
Paradise Island Mobile Home Park, 1001 Starkey Road #737. All front windows decorated with handmade dolls with lighted backdrop. Figures building snowman, lighting tree and throwing snowballs, all done by hand.
Shadow Lakes Condominiums, 11201 122nd Ave. N, #M250. "A 10,000-white-light display dedicated to the reason for the season." Off 113th Street and 126th Avenue.
Sugar Creek Mobile Home Park, 10265 Ulmerton Road, #242. Every one of the 251 homes has at least one 4-foot Christmas tree; clubhouse has trees and display around it. Lights on Dec. 15.
3471 50th Ave. N. "Starlight spectacular": More than 15,000 dancing lights synchronized to Christmas music. Disney blowups and static lights. Collecting donations for Make a Wish Foundation. Show runs 7-10 p.m. daily except in extreme downpours.
Autumn Woods, 3027 Autumn Drive. "The entire display is set up by my son," writes this proud parent. "He has a sled, carolers, drummer boys, presents and a beautiful palm tree."
Indian Trails, 2449 Indian Trail W. More than 40,000 lights, polar bears, reindeer with sleigh, moose, snowman and more. Walk up to the third garage bay and see a large animated Christmas village. Surrounding homes also decorated.
Indian Trails, 2456 Indian Trail W. "A classic Christmas display second to none! My neighbor may disagree; you be the judge." More than 50 decorated homes in the Indian Trails neighborhood.
Lansbrook (Presidents Landing), 4018 Executive Drive. "We are back and better than ever. More than 25,000 sparkling red-and-white lights covering house, bushes, trees, basketball hoop, lawn. Santa, sleigh, reindeer, penguins, polar bear soldiers, angels, nativity. Lights on 7 to 10 p.m."
Noell Heights, 290 Jean St. Animated Christmas toy shop with Santa and holiday music. Three separate holiday scenes; 18 trees decorated with lights..
Spanish Oaks, 1917 Hill Drive. Lots of twinkling lights, animated moose, polar bear, decorated oak trees. Neighborhood luminarias on Christmas Eve.
8291 52nd Lane. "We have been doing this now for 28 years. Every year we add something new. More than 50 figures on corner lot; lights all over roof. Shed is converted to animated display with moving figures. Large manger display. New this year: 12-foot Santa train with moving carousel."
8381 56th Way N. Each yard is outlined with candy canes and white lights. Yards are decorated with individual themes: elves, polar bears, snowmen, Santa's workshop, reindeer and sleigh. Arches grace the driveways and lights illuminate the night.
North Bay Hills, 1111 Pelican Place. Handmade lighted canes on driveway, handpainted 11-piece nativity, thousands of lights.
North Bay Hills off SR 580, 2119 Swan Lane. Thousands of lights, arch, figurines, snowflakes, train.
North Bay Hills off SR 580, 2121 Swan Lane. Ten songs synchronized to lights, more than 10,000 lights, music, figurines, trees. Tune your car radio to 89.5-FM or listen via speaker in the yard.
10501 67th Ave. N. Three blocks east of Seminole Boulevard at 67th Avenue. Ten years in the making: 20,000-plus lights, animated figures, blowups, snowmen, five Santas.
11284 67th Ave. N. Lights, a globe with Santa, reindeer, rotating tree, inflatable Santa and snowman, Grinch with his dog. Light-up figures: Santa, snowman, two deer, toy soldiers, polar bear, two 7-foot green spiral trees.
13379 84th Ter. N, across from Seminole High School. 200,000 lights, Disney display, large animated figures, reindeer, Scrooge, lighthouse, nativity, shrubs with 7,000 lights, animated English bobby, more.
Clearwood, 8664 92nd St. N. Lots of lights, blowups, candy canes, toy soldiers standing guard. Reindeer in pen, lighted arches, Santa on roof. Decorated real Christmas tree. Preview on the Web at kevinsdomain.com.
Cross Bayou, 8718 Orchid Drive. More than 13,000 lights, 13 Christmas trees, crystal snowman, holographic train, famous purple CD tree garland, lots of animated deer, flying angels, candy canes and Christmas music. Lights on 7-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 7-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
St. Pete Beach
1700 Pass-a-Grille Way. Garage toy shop display, lights and lawn displays.
5000 76th St. N. Woodcraft displays, snowmen, trees.
5812 28th Ave. N. Large oak tree centerpiece. Lighted train, snowman and 12-foot Christmas tree.
620 63rd St. S. Corner lot, house covered with 20,000 lights, six angels singing.
6280 Fairfield Ave. S. 5,000 lights. House and shrubs lined in lights; more in front and around pool. Driveway and walkways lined in candy canes and lights. Lighted 16- by 8-foot, four-level stage in two-car garage with continuous Christmas music and 62 Christmas dolls (48 are animated).
8390 40th Ave. N. Santa's North Pole village, with lots of animations: barn with reindeer, gingerbread bakers, Candy Cane Lane with Santa and elves, skaters. Santa in the bathtub is back by popular demand. Santa gives out candy canes.
Azalea, 7590 16th Ave. N. More than 150,000 white lights, six reindeer, huge oak tree filled with white lights.
Big Bayou, 2719 Oakdale St. S. The mega-display is back, with hundreds of thousands of lights, displays, animations, fiber optics on a half-acre. Taped directions at (727) 896-6500.
Century Mobile Manor, 6335 54th Ave. N, Lot 76. "Simplicity itself. A manger to remind myself we are celebrating the birthday of Christ and a praying Santa to bring our boys home."
1340 52nd Ave. N. "A beautiful display of lights and decorations."
Harshaw Lakes, 4091 21st Ave. N. "More than 15,000 lights synchronized to music that you listen to on a radio station in your car (see our yard sign for the frequency). Shows run from 7 to 10:30 p.m., weather permitting. Please don't block our neighbors' driveways."
Historic Kenwood, 2470 Seventh Ave. N. Festive animated winter wonderland.
Jungle, 1580 Jungle Ave. N. Bright display with thousands of lights on trees and bushes.
Pasadena Estates, 6463 Second Ave. N. "Neighbors think it's beautiful!"
Pinellas Point, 2525 69th Ave. S. Talking Santa, animated angels, bears, lights on Sunday.
Riviera Bay, 9200 Sun Isle Drive NE. Candle display on Christmas Eve sponsored by Riviera Bay Civic Association. Neighborhood runs from 78th Avenue N to 98th Avenue N, from Fourth Street east to the bay. Rain date: Dec. 25.
Sheryl Manor, 2267 60th Way N. "A Christmas extravaganza!" A lot of lights, including a 10-foot lighted snowman.
Westchester, 7710 Justin Court N. Santas, Elmo, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Pinocchio, snowmen, elves, dogs and cats; more than 30 figures. Large yard display. Near Park Street and 54th Avenue N, just off Westchester Boulevard.
Forest Ridge, 378 Wood Chuck Ave. Roof covered in lights, many lawn decorations, snow effect in front yard.
Gulfview, 1018 Stonefence Way. Lights are on from dusk till 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday, all night Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, New Year's Eve.
Compiled by Judy Stark and Erika Vidal
Check the map
This list of lights displays is also available at www.living.tampabay.com, where you can click on an address and see a map that will direct you to the display.
If you didn't send in details of your display in time to be included in this list, you can still submit the information and appear in the online listing. Go to www.tampabay.com/holidaylights and fill in the form.
DON'T MISS THESE
A couple of biggies
Don't forget these major displays of lights:
"Seasonal Sensations,'' 5 to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 3 at Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. Free. Stroll through a 425,000-light holiday wonderland with brilliant displays, holiday garden railway, music. Call (727) 582-2100.
The Lights of Lake Park Estates: One of the largest and most heartwarming displays in the bay area. More than 100 homes light up in memory of the late beloved Ruby Dow. The display attracted 100,000 viewers last year and raised more than $36,000 in donations for Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, which cared for Mrs. Dow in her final illness. Lights are on 6:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6:30 to 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and far into the night on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
View a map at www.thehospice.org; click on News and Events for December. Directions: From Starkey Road, drive west on Bryan Dairy Road. Cross the first bridge, turn right at the first traffic light at 109th Avenue N. Go to the bottom of the hill and follow the arrows. From Seminole Boulevard, drive east on 102nd Avenue N. Cross the Lake Seminole Bridge. At the second traffic light at 109th Avenue, turn left and follow the arrows.