DENVER — You’ve seen the gigantic tree in downtown Denver. You’ve taken a stroll through the Botanic Gardens. And you’ve been surprised by the wondrous lights in Loveland – but if you’d like to be in awe of human ingenuity during the holiday season, there’s no better place to be than your own neighborhood.
A home in Highlands Ranch is currently getting all the attention after their Christmas light display was featured in an episode of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight” earlier this month due to the fact that its owners have installed an estimated 100,000 lights that light up the neighborhood each night.
But that's not the only house Coloradans can visit to be enchanted by the magic of the holiday spirit.
Check out this and other must-see Christmas light displays below – and if you go light hunting this holiday season, let us know what you find by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Note: If possible, please include at least one high-resolution photo and the street address of the holiday light display. And, if you have permission to share, send along the homeowner's contact information so we can reach out to ask a few more questions!
The Hazard family Christmas light display in Highlands Ranch
10221 Fairgate Way, Highlands Ranch
Walt Hazard said Christmas has always been fun in his family, but the holiday was taken to a whole new level when his kids left for college around six or seven years ago. Lovingly called Gris-Walt by one of his children, Hazard said it took around a month to set up an estimated 100,000 lights. Walt said the Christmas light display at their home has never been about winning, and instead aims to make everyone from neighbors to strangers smile.
The Onstott Christmas Extravaganza
10046 Fraser St., Commerce City
"When we bought our home in 2012 we knew we wanted to go all out on a Christmas display," the Onstott family told Denver7 recently. And boy, do they keep their word! The family spends about 90 hours getting everything set up. As to how many lights adorn the home this time of year? "We would guess there are somewhere around 35,000 lights but stopped counting a few years ago. It got too difficult to keep up!" the family said. We wouldn't blame them. The Onstott household blends both computer-programmed lights and traditional lights/elements so that there is something for everyone to enjoy. Their display has a North Pole theme that features an 18-foot tall Santa, lights sequenced to over an hour of music, an 16-foot tall mega tree, 4 fire cannons, and a mailbox where kids can drop off letters to Santa (as long as they include their return address in enough time before Christmas, they'll get a response from the North Pole!).
Even better? The family uses the yearly display to give back to local causes that are important to them. This year, they are working to provide new apartment basics for refugees coming to Denver through Lutheran Family Services Refugee Resettlement Agency. Anyone interested in learning more can head to the family's Facebook page.
Star Wars: The Battle for the North Pole
9973 Blackbird Place in Highlands Ranch
This one's for space opera fans: "We call our display Star Wars: The Battle for the North Pole. We have nearly 20k lights and 40 inflatables. Main display out front is Star Wars themed including 4 inflatables 'flying' over the driveway. Our home can be seen on all sides, so plenty of other characters and animals outback, but most importantly Santa and his sleigh on the roof," said Ron DePoty about this Christmas light display. Anyone wanting to go should go after 5 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1. If you're going, be sure to make room for some hot drinks — "On most weekends (Fri/Sat) our kiddos set up a hot cocoa and cider stand and the family cosplay as Star Wars and Christmas characters," DePoty told Denver7, adding the family has a Facebook page dedicated to the home. See how many Star Wars characters you can spot in the photo below!
Johnstown shows off its Christmas spirit
Lacewood Lane in Johnstown
Alright, hear us out: We know Johnstown isn't in the Denver metro (try Larimer and Weld counties), but this display of community during the holiday season is worth a mention. Kelsie V., who resides in the Thompson River Ranch neighborhood told Denver7 the following about their holiday display: "We have all come together and decided to all purchase giant inflatable Santas for our front yards. Our street has over 20 inflatable Santas all 12ft or taller. Our street is like a family and the neighborly dynamic we have is really hard to come by these days. Our street is a really cool sight to see in person right now so we thought we would share!!" As for who gets the credit for the idea? That'll be resident Yessenia Cole. Way to go, Yessenia!
"It's a Wonderful Light" in Aurora
4822 S. Picadilly Ct., Aurora
Aurora resident Corey Christiansen has always loved Christmas and when he was a child, his grandfather and his father would both put up the best light displays in their neighborhood. Christiansen, however, wanted more lights. Fast-forward a few years and not only has his wish come true, his holiday light display has since turned into a fundraiser for the Autism Society.
Aye matey! This house rules the Seven Seas
Altair Drive in Lone Tree
Sean Meighan, a former software engineer in Lone Tree, has become locally beloved for the Halloween and holiday shows that he puts on with a pirate ship in his front yard. It started when a neighbor suggested that his retaining wall kind of looked like one. Well, that's all Sean needed to hear. Since then, Meighan has worked tirelessly to transform his one naval ship into a full holiday entertainment multiplex for neighbors to enjoy during the holidays.
Can you spot the Elf in the Lawn?
8755 W 91st Pl. in Westminster
This Westminster home went all out this year with the inflatables and includes characters such as Santa and Mrs. Clause, reindeer as well as the Nutcracker... but can you find the "Elf on the Lawn"?
Twenty-six years of holiday cheer
12919 Magnolia Place in Thornton
If you're up in Thornton, make sure to check out this home on Magnolia Place. The McCuistion family has been putting up Christmas lights for the past 26 years and more new stuff is added every year!
Even the trees get lights in this home
831 S. Kline Way, Lakewood
This home gets decorated with 66,127 lights each year, which has been the family tradition for the past 5 years. The Martin family told Denver7 the inspiration to go all out for the holidays comes from different sources: The 1989 movie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," as well as the theme "bringing light into the dark world." Anyone looking to see this home in Lakewood can only do so Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m; Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
"In the past, it was me putting up the lights while my wife took care of our babies, but now that the kids are 4 and 2, it’s become a family affair and great to watch the kids help and truly engage in the process!" the patriarch of the family told Denver7 over email. The man of the house thanked his wife, a guy named Dean who helps him out with a boom lift each and year "and also the neighborhood boys for their help." If you want to see more, you can head to the home's Instagram page.
The CottonCreek Manor
9971 Cottoncreek Dr. in Highlands Ranch
This home (and yard) contains over 100,000 lights — the Rohr family said they don't even have an exact number of lights anymore. The manor has been displaying its holiday spirit for the last 10 years as "we love the season, we love the smile it puts on kids faces and how it brings families and communities together." The family told Denver7 those visiting should give themselves the chance to get out of their cars and enjoy the display as "we made it a walk-through event." Those wanting to check out this house can find three small ginger bread houses to play in, a large Santa to take photos with and a Train to play on and get photographed in. The manor has a Facebook and Instagram page.
Why keep the tree inside?
9157 Dover St. in Westminster
This family didn't just opt for a Christmas tree inside their home — they also went all out to have one on the front lawn!
Happy holidays from Aurora
18558 E. Union Dr. in Aurora
Shannon Sanamo started going all out for the holidays when she and her family moved back to the area in the early 2000s and the display "grew more and more each year." She told Denver7: "I always grew up with a decorated house, so I had to continue that for my children and it's just not Christmas without lots of sparkles. When my children went off to college, I had to keep going for the kids in the neighborhood even though my husband says I do it for me ha! Tomato Tomahto... His theory was debunked when a 5yo little boy was on a walk with his mom and dropped to his knees in the lawn when we were starting the yard decorations yelling, "oh my god, I love this house!". I smiled at my husband and said, "See, it's for the children haha!" She added, "I have always done all of the decorating myself with a little help here and there and my favorite thing is the feeling I get when I climb to the very top peak and secure the very first bulb. In my head I'm standing on that peak screaming out to the world "It's Christmas time!!!!!" Sanamo told Denver7 her display has "maybe 7,000 - 10,000 ish lights?? Honestly, I have no idea as I have never really counted them or even tried lol." You can watch a demonstration of the display on the family's Facebook page.
The Chapman home
21351 Tyrolite Ave. in Parker
Brandon Chapman said he's not sure how many lights hang from his home each holiday season, but remembers his dad putting up Christmas lights and the quality time he spent with him as a child as the catalyst for him to do the same once he grew up and bought his home. "I think the highlights of my display is the hand-man train track that allows kids to ride around the display, the moving ferris wheel with wood cut out characters, and the reindeer taking off the roof with Santa," he told Denver7. "Other aspects are a hand-man gingerbread house, Santa's workshop, and bake shop. There is also a nativity scene to capture the true meaning of Christmas."
The Armijo residence
14870 E. Jefferson Ave. in Aurora
Mani Armijo shared the following with Denver7 about his Christmas decorations: "I wanted to share as we got the sweetest card and chocolates from a lady today and left on our porch. She came by 2 years ago with her daughter and grandson and we invited them inside to see our other decorations. The daughter was hurting from having cancer but her joy for the decorations was unforgettable. She left her number in the card and I called to thank her. She told me tonight that her daughter passed in July 2022. She now takes care of her grandson as his father also passed away when he was even younger. She told me she still drives by our house every morning to see the lights before work ♡ it's not like some of the huge displays but it brings smiles and I'm thankful for my husband Josh that puts so many hours to not only bring joy to the kids and I but others as well."
"My husband does the lights because he doesn't play the drums"
18791 E. Quincy Pl. in Aurora
Get it? It's a reference to "The Little Drummer Boy," which is a story about a poor boy who wanted to bring a gift to baby Jesus but had not gift to give, so he used his musical talents and played the drums instead. That's why Gina Hecht says her husband takes care of the holiday decorations each year, with the amount of lights displayed between 7,000 to 10,000 lights in order to "bring joy to everyone who loves it." Now going strong for 6 years, the Hecht family tries to go bigger every year. This year? They've added lights to a big tree in their home and a garland that connects to more houses on the block. The family also gives out free chocolate and apple cider on Fridays and Saturdays to everyone who comes by to check out the lights, "along with an appearance from Santa."