See the Light(s)!

  • Vicky Tippawong
  • Posted on August 24, 2022

On a crisp December evening, what could be more heart-warming than a cruise through local communities, enjoying the holiday lights?

While there’s always the hit-or-miss method of light-seeing, there are places you can visit that provide an organized trip down Holiday Lane.

Battles of the Bulbs

Don’t be fooled by Hubbardston’s moniker for the town’s seasonal tour. The Holiday Light Fight is more like a battle of the bands than a round in the ring. Last year, more than 40 homes participated in this sparkling tour, all putting their best and brightest foot forward in hopes of earning a “best of show” title. Participants can enter in three categories: traditional/classic, Go Big or Stay Home, or Brightest Bulb Business.

The Light Fight runs on weekends (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) from December 11 through 30; the lights are live each night from 5 to 9 pm. And you don’t have to wander aimlessly through town: pick up a paper map at One Stop Shop (Mr. Mikes gas station) in the center of Hubbardston, or visit the town website, hubbardstonma.us.

At the other end of the region, Pepperell also offers a Light Fight Challenge, running from 5 to 9 nightly from Dec. 11 through 30. The battle’s categories are Traditional, Fun Blow Ups, Griswold Style, and Participation/Charlie Brown. And to add to the fun, there’s an “eye spy” game for the kids! Pick up a map at C&S Pizza, Pizza Pizzazz or the Pepperell Family Pharmacy to plan your tour. Then pack up the kids, turn on some holiday tunes, and spark your holiday spirit!

Leominster Lights

Christmas Tolman Avenue LeominsterThe city of Leominster will shine for the month of December, right through Christmas. Leominster Lights will be sparkling on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 5-10 pm. An interactive map will be posted on the Leominster Lights Facebook page to guide you on your way as you traverse the city, filling your car with shouts of delight at each stop along the way.

And if inflatable characters are your faves for the holidays, don’t miss Christmas on Tolman, a massive display of blow-ups presented by Tyler Yalian at 83 Tolman Ave. in North Leominster. The lighted characters—from snowmen to caroling angels, gnomes, Santas, and, yes, even a green Grinch—turn on at 5 pm, and really light up the season! If weather and ground conditions permit, you can walk around the yard, completely surrounded by the fun. There is a small fee for touring the display and taking a photo with Santa, when he visits, with proceeds benefiting local charities.

A View at the Top

Sholan Farms LightsWhile you’re in Leominster, take the trek up to Sholan Farms, 1125 Pleasant St., where you’ll not only get a great panorama of the city below — complete with myriad holiday lights — but can also enjoy a bright and musical display.

No need to exit your cozy car for this one. Stay bundled under a blanket, tune your car radio to FM89.5, and surround yourself in the sounds and sights of the season! The Christmas Light Show — which changes nightly throughout the week — features thousands of lights, props like singing faces, spinners, stars, and snowflakes, and 15 to 20 minutes of music. It runs each night, with music playing in a loop from 5 to 9 p.m.

Night Lights in the Garden

No local tour of holiday lights would be complete, of course, without mention of the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. This winter wonderland will take your breath away, as you walk through the display of sparkling lights. The show runs from late November through December, from 4 to 10 pm daily at 11 French Drive, Boylston.

Immerse yourself in enchanting landscapes, fun experiences, and thousands of lights. Enjoy s’mores, seasonal drinks, the model train, and fun photo opportunities while creating memories for the whole family. Tickets are needed to visit Tower Hill, and can be purchased in advance by visiting
nebg.org. Tickets go on sale at the end of October.