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Merry and bright
Area neighborhoods light up with holiday spirit
W 122113 XMAS LIGHTS 01
Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus are one of the focal points of an expansive display at the corner of East Moore and Oak Streets. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

For many, driving around the neighborhood admiring Christmas-light displays is a highlight of the holidays. Whether a home is decorated in stately traditional décor or covered in a tangle of colorful lights, each is an expression of the spirit of the season.

Some homes are adorned with greenery and red ribbons, spotlighted at night. Others are lined with colored lights that twinkle, blink or flicker, while the house next door may have a lawn covered in lighted Christmas sculptures. Regardless of style, almost every neighborhood is brightened by homes decorated for the holidays.

A simple drive through your neighborhood should reveal a number of homes decked out in holiday cheer. The most beautiful home could be just around the corner, and part of the joy of taking a Christmas lights tour is exploring the community.

In the Statesboro area, many streets glisten with lights. A family on Baldwin Street (off Williams Road between Julia P. Bryant Elementary and the William James Educational Complex) keeps a tradition every year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by setting up a huge lighted birthday cake in their gaily decorated yard. A lighted chapel beside it lends a hint as to the reason for the season for many.

Nearby on Anthony Street, one will find more homes lighted up for the holidays, aglow with clear icicle lighting or bursting with strings of lights of all colors.  If you look closely, you will spot Santa cavorting on a rooftop in this neighborhood.

A family at the corner of East Moore and Oak streets has attracted a lot of attention, with a beautiful display of effort successfully capturing the joy of the season.

If you want more bang for your buck, try cruising neighborhood subdivisions. A drive through Bradford Place, off Cawana Road, will result in several homes that will thrill sightseers.

One home has a herd of reindeer sculptures in white lights, and another home is regal in attire of red poinsettias, green cedar and white lights. Not far down the street is a home with a lawn covered in flashing lights, with sculptures of space ships, angels, a helicopter and Santa.

Just down the road, at the end of Cawana Road at its intersection with Burkhalter Road, Santa can be seen at an older farm house outlined in lights with a Christmas tree on the porch.

Across town at Irongate Subdivision, one can get lost in the maze of residential streets while driving about, admiring the holiday homes. Santa stands waving beside a pile of gifts and reappears larger-than-life a few homes down on Yorkshire Court. A spiritual display conveying the religious side of Christmas is a well-lighted Nativity scene on Chestview Drive.

A good night’s drive includes these locations and more — Hunter’s Pointe, Georgian Walk, Hazlewood, Grove Lakes and other subdivisions provide delightful scenery to help spread the holiday spirit.

Some locations around Bulloch and neighboring counties draw crowds from all over as people flock to see the sights. Several families on Caddie Green Road get together each year to create a Santa’s workshop, and a visit to that site (off U.S. Highway 301 South between Statesboro and Claxton) provides an interactive shot of Christmas spirit.

One of the region’s most popular attractions is Guido Gardens in Metter. Located at 600 North Lewis Street, the evangelistic organization boasts tens of thousands of lights and thousands of visitors annually. The display is open from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly through Christmas Day.

The drive-through Christmas lights event at TMT Farms located at 16710 Old River Road offers a chance to do more than just admire the scenery. While there is no charge, Bulloch County Commissioner Roy Thompson, his wife Deborah, and their family welcome donations of canned and nonperishable foods they distribute among many less-fortunate families during the holidays.

Santa on a tractor, snowmen waving, reindeer frolicking and more holiday figures are found scattered about along with antique fire trucks, an old moonshine still, and a replica of an old Western town the Thompsons created. Visitors can drive through the expansive display (as many times as they wish) or park and walk.

These Christmas lights displays are only suggestions for those wishing to tour the town. In every neighborhood, down each secluded dirt road, just around every corner, there could be a home decked out in holiday flair. Hop in the car, grab a cup of hot chocolate to go, and enjoy the exploration of your neighborhood to see how your neighbors express their holiday spirit.

Holli Deal  Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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