Holiday Light Displays

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Associated Press

Posted on November 21, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 21 at 9:04 AM

For many people, nothing says Christmas like a display of sparkling lights.

Lighting up the holidays, next, on Stocking Stuffers.

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In earlier centuries, people put candles in their windows and on their Christmas trees. Then Thomas Edison came along, and America never looked back.

Massive, glittering displays of light have become a beloved part of the holiday season. People flock to see them at shopping centers, public squares, and in residential neighborhoods.

You'll have to shell out money to see some displays, particularly those put on by resorts and charities. But many others are free. Here are a few:

— New York City's famous Rockefeller Center tree features 30,000 lights strung on more than five miles of electrical wire. New York's department stores also draw crowds with their decorations and window displays.

— Washington, D.C. lights up trees across from the White House and on the Capitol grounds, but one of the area's most popular displays is in Maryland. The Mormon Temple Lights Festival in Kensington features more than 450,000 lights and a live outdoor Nativity scene.

— Louisiana's Holiday Trail of Lights links eight lit-up communities within a one-hour drive of each other.

— San Antonio, Texas, shimmers with electric lights and also candles, which line the River Walk to symbolically light the way for the Holy Family.

— McAdenville, N.C., turns itself into "Christmas Town USA" each year when its residents light up hundreds of trees, as well as their homes.

— The 700 block of West 34th Street in Baltimore transforms itself into "Christmas Street" for the holidays as private homes seek to outdo one another with elaborate light displays.

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