Sticky: Where to find Christmas lights in Vancouver, WA

Updated for Christmas 2012.

The nights are dark and cold. The leftover Thanksgiving turkey is long gone. Regular season college football is completed. What to do now? Face the fact that Christmas is coming and go see some festive light displays.

For many of us, walking down our own street can provide a feast of holiday lights and decorations. You might even have that one neighbor whose seen-from-space display makes up for all the others. If you’re doing it yourself we already gave you our top 3 reasons to use LED Christmas lights. But if you’re in the mood for something less ambitious, you’ll be able to find it pretty close by.

Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.
– from Christmas Vacation

Of course, many options are available in Portland, Oregon. Our family has already visited Zoolights, one of my annual favorites. The displays of animal-themed lights at the Oregon Zoo are a delight. Just be sure to take a blanket or wear a long coat if you’re planning to ride the train – those metal seats are cold!

Zoolights Oregon Zoo

One of the many really cool lighted displays at Oregon Zoo’s Zoolights.

Also in Portland, the Grotto’s Festival of Lights runs almost the entire month of December and features musical performances from local choral groups.

The lights on Peacock Lane, a neighborhood display that has been twinkling annually since the 1920s, will begin on December 15.

If you live in Vancouver, Washington and are looking for something a little closer to home, you’ll not be disappointed. On Thanksgiving weekend, Vancouver held their annual tree lighting ceremony in Esther Short Park. If you missed it, you can watch the video on YouTube. The twinkling lights in downtown are free for everyone’s enjoyment as you stroll through the park.

For the third year in a row, the Magical Lights on 63rd St. will be shining and raising money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. This more than 40,000 light display is computer controlled with musical accompaniment that gawkers can listen to from the comfort of their car radios. Check the website for dates, times, radio station, and details on how to make a donation.

It wouldn’t be Christmas in the Pacific Northwest without some lights on the river. The Christmas Ships Parades are comprised of a fleet of 50-60 ships decorated with whimsical holiday lights. The fleets are divided between the Columbia River and the Willamette River with nightly sailings between December 7 and December 21. At their website, you can find photo galleries from previous years’ parades, route locations, and how to make a donation.

We also had someone post on our Facebook page a light display at 4430 NW Crystal Ct. in Camas. According to the poster, 62,000 lights will be sequenced to music on 87.9 FM on your car radio. The display also features a “spiral” mega tree using 14,000 lights.

Are we missing anywhere

I’m sure we don’t have all the locales and it would be great to have a list of those streets with ambitious neighbors who put on a show. Is there a secret light display in your neighborhood? If so, leave a comment below or on our Facebook page and tell us about it and we’ll add it to the list.

Good weather

According to the Weather Channel’s website, we’re due for at least another week of cold, dry weather in the Portland metropolitan area. That makes it the perfect time to get out and enjoy some of the sights and sounds of the season. So wrap up in your coat and scarf, grab a cup of cocoa, and head outside for some nighttime holiday fun.

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