It has arrived. There is no doubting it now. We are in the holiday season, with Thanksgiving and Black Friday signaling its starting point. It’s less than a month until Christmas, when cards, gifts, and overeating are the order of the day. Along with the occasional family argument. And before the big day arrives there are trees, and perhaps even houses, to decorate.
One of the many ways in which the Web has enriched all our lives is bringing local sights to worldwide attention. And I’m not even talking about Google Earth or Instagram on this occasion. While I was aware, even before the Internet came along, that some people took the holiday season, and in particular decorating their houses in weird and wonderful ways, seriously, the levels to which some people went wasn’t entirely clear.
Now, mainly thanks to a combination of smartphone cameras and YouTube, we’re all aware of this phenomenon, that is, admittedly, mainly an American invention. These aren’t merely static lights and figurines though; they’re large, over-the-top, displays which move, blink, pulse, and come to life. Usually synchronized to music.
What follows are 10 of the best synchronized, animated Christmas lights displays to put you in the festive mood. And if, after watching the incredible demonstrations below, you want to create your own, be sure to read James’ Introduction To DMX Lighting Control.
We start with a video featuring what may just be my personal favorite Christmas song of all time. It’s certainly up there with Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl. This is Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, and this unassuming house has done a fine job of synchronizing their magnificent animated lights display to this single from 1981.
Dueling Banjos isn’t a song you’d especially relate to Christmas or the holiday season. Instead, you’d equate it to the movie Deliverance, and a rather unsavory episode in the backwoods of Georgia. And yet despite this it works extremely well as the basis for a synchronized lights display. Though it does take a while to get going.
Deliverance not your style? Then how about some heavy metal, specifically Slayer? Again, this cannot be considered a festive musical number, but if anything this fact makes the Christmas lights display built around the song even more impressive. Having the snowman lip-syncing to the track is inspired. As are the hands displaying the sign of the horns.
From heavy metal to dubstep. This is actually the first of two videos featuring dubstep tracks in this list. This particular song is a remix of The Nutcracker Suite, which I’m sure purists who want Christmas to remain as it was in Victorian times will hate. The rest of us, well, we’ll sit back and enjoy the awesome lights display.
As you may have guessed by now I’ve sought out videos featuring unusual genres of music, at least by Christmas standards. This starts out as a classic rendition of Amazing Grace, but about halfway through the bass kicks in and we’re treated to a techno remix of the song. The display is augmented by the layers of snow, which would surely imbibe anyone with the Christmas spirit.
Wait, I hear a Christmas song, one unfettered by any added drum beats or bass lines. The song is Wizards in Winter by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and it’s a track that many people use for their synchronized lights displays. This is the best one I could find, even though it was uploaded all the way back in 2006, when YouTube was still finding its feet.
As promised here’s another dubstep track. This time all notion of it being a Christmas song goes out of the window, instead this is First Of the Year (Equinox) by Skrillex. The song starts off nice and slow but quickly ramps up in intensity. Somehow the lights keep up, so whoever programmed this animated display deserves all the credit they’ll hopefully get.
This is perhaps the greatest Christmas lights display I have ever seen. The house, the trees, and even the arched walls surrounding the property have all been covered in multi-colored lights. Such an epic display deserves an epic song choice, and the person responsible for this video went with a hard dance compilation that will surely appeal to clubbers everywhere.
It had to be in there somewhere, and here it is: a Christmas lights display set to Gangnam Style by Korean artist PSY. I must confess to being a little obsessed with this song, though Infinite Gangnam Style has almost managed to wean me off it. This song will probably be long forgotten by next year, so enjoy what may be the only display to ever feature it.
I’ve saved the best, or at least the most ambitious, until last. While most people are content to decorate just their house, the residents of Bainbridge Circle in Murrieta, California, decided to pitch together and decorate the entire street. This video features 13 houses all synchronized together to a cheesy version of Little Drummer Boy. And it’s spectacular.
Compiling this list of amazing holiday animated Christmas lights displays has certainly put me more in the mood for Christmas and all that it brings with it. Whether you celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, for non-religious reasons, or don’t celebrate it at all, these videos should at least put a smile on your face. Even if it’s a smile only gained by wondering how anyone has the time, money, or enthusiasm needed to create such dazzling demonstrations of their love for the season.
As always the floor is now yours, so feel free to leave a comment below. Tell us what you think of this collection, or link to a similar video you have seen that you feel should have made the cut.
Image Credit: Lights of Christmas via Michael Gill