One of the best parts of the holidays is seeing how different organizations create gorgeous displays to add to the festive spirit. The tradition of lighting up streets, homes and commercial buildings traces its origin back to the late 17th century Germany; where the rich illuminated their homes on Christmas with brightly lit candles. By the middle of the 20th century it became an important custom to light up streets with electric lights on yuletide.
Did you know that the Savoy Theatre in London was the first ever building that was completed lit up with electric lights on Christmas. The English fondly call these the ‘Fairy Lights’.
Each year, whether at homes or large corporations, it seems as though the competition for the best setup of Christmas lights around the world heats up. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to outdo the neighbors or your biggest business rival, what makes this so interesting is the lengths designers go to in order to warm hearts with artistic layouts reflecting the brightness of the season.
Though you probably have a few favorite houses in your hometown, there are a few you should really try to see in major metropolitan areas, if only in pictures:
Some would argue this commercial center in New York City is the granddaddy of them all, with its huge Christmas tree and walkway lined with lighted angels. Over the years, it has become the de facto hub of the Big Apple’s holiday celebrations – especially when combined with the beautiful window displays of the nearby stores.
Located at one of the largest shopping centers in the Japanese capital, you will find yourself awed by the single-color display in the complex’s garden. Well over 250,000 LED bulbs cover the park-like landscape, producing a soothing blue glow amidst the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping.
Though most would assume the streets of this rough-and-tumble city a difficult place to celebrate Christmas, that doesn’t keep locals from going all-out when decorating. Designed to appear like a lighted garden, you can walk through eight-foot-tall lit wire frames shaped to resemble local flowers.
This is among the simplest lighting arrangements you’ll find, but it’s a favorite for the frame it gives to the Parisian monument. Though the busy city street makes it more challenging to appreciate the elegant grandeur, you’ll still find it enchanting.
The Seoul Plaza
This stunning display erupts from the ground in the central plaza of South Korea’s major city. Stretching more than three stories above the walkways below, the multicolored lights are arranged in patterns similar to a dazzling electronic tapestry.
Ion Shopping Mall
There aren’t any awards for the brightest displays, but this six-story-tall Christmas tree outside one of Singapore’s largest shopping centers would probably take the cake. As an added bonus, visitors can walk through the base and look up from within, producing an effect of being showered with purple lights.
The most famous of London’s many displays, a series of gifts float above this pedestrian walkway. Lit solely in bright white, the three-dimensional shapes add an extra bit of whimsy to the crowded shopping district during its busiest time of year.
It’s tough to nail down just one display in the royal city of Spain. There are no less than five breathtaking displays – some strung over city streets and others fit into local landmarks – that highlight the innovative thinking of local designers. At a local square, for example, leaf-shaped strands of lights are suspended twenty feet off the ground, as if floating down from the branches of a tree.