Two years ago, I went in search of the lightest and brightest homes in Westchester. Pack in the car with hot chocolate, turn up the Christmas songs (I always recommend the children’s musician Laurie Berkner’s Christmas Album) and off you go. Here are five light displays that are close enough together to see in about an hour. If you’ve already taken our tour, don’t stop reading. There are three new stops worth making.
50 Parsons Street, Harrison
Somehow I missed this house in previous years, but wow — what a find! Roy Aletti, 54, grew up in this house in Harrison, decorating with his father as a boy. Now he’s a self-described “maniac” when it comes to Christmas lights. At Roy’s Christmas Land, there are thousands of strands, dozens of vintage lawn ornaments, even a mailbox where you can mail a letter to Santa. (He responds to every one with a form letter.)
There’s so much to look at: giant toy soldiers, Frosty, fantastic light displays. Your kids won’t stop gawking and neither will you. If you’re only going to go to one house this Christmas season, this is it. (There’s also a great story about him in the NYT.)
Halstead and Hunter Street, Harrison
We stumbled upon this one heading to Roy’s Christmas Land, so it’s worth passing by before or after that one. It’s a lively display of patriotic-themed Christmas lights. The entire house is covered, so the kids love to stare.
7 Andrew Road, Eastchester
A tip from a reader sent us to one of the merriest houses in Eastchester. Oh what fun it is to take in the rows of illuminated toy soldiers, candy canes, even snowflakes on the house. Best of all, as you pull into the neighborhood, you can see the glow of Christmas lights over the hill in the distance. That’s how bright this house is.
50 Iroquois Road, Ossining
The Platt family in Ossining put themselves on the holiday lights map last year when they adorned their front and back yard with more than 40,000 Christmas lights. There’s also Santa’s workshop, a light tunnel, 10 display cases to explore, and lots of other illuminated delights for the whole family. Totally worth checking out!
58 Gedney Park Road, White Plains
Just off busy Mamaroneck Road east of Bloomingdale’s is this sweet display of light-up carolers, dozens of toy soldiers and Mickey characters. I loved that two blinking bells played holiday music while you gawk. Yes, that’s a giant Grinch! Don’t whiz by on Mamaroneck. Be sure to park out front or even get out of your car for a closer look. Your little ones will love the dramatic row of toy soldiers.
21 North Kensico Road, White Plains
This is my favorite holiday light display in Westchester. The classic farmhouse is decorated like a gingerbread house. Gumdrops line the roof. Large peppermint lights line the white picket fence. Lights are hung curly-cue around the window frames. Gingerbread men line the front lawn. Fake snow falls from the sky (an illusion created with lights). But I loved it mostly because a sign instructs you to put 107.7 on your radio, and the lights display blinks to the beat of classic Christmas songs (there’s even a schedule here). When Christmas Canon came on, I could have cried. This house is true holiday spirit at its best.
155 Vaneck Drive, New Rochelle
This house is incredibly bright and draped with thousands of lights: There are about 50 illuminated toy soldiers arranged in a pyramid on the front lawn. A larger-than-life Santa is perched on the roof near the chimney. Get out of the car and take a look at the train set driven by Snoopy, or stop by one of the life-size boxes with various Santa scenes depicted inside. We love the polar bear scene best, since it has a penguin riding a sled and a polar bear about to eat up a fish. It’s all hokey, but very well done.
In the largest box, Santa is driving a digger, a cement mixer, a bull dozer — all made of peppermints. Another features Santa and his elves making toys and checking kids off their list, all with automated characters moving inside. There’s so much to see your little ones will be giddy.
If you see a house with great Christmas lights, snap a pic, send us the address and we’ll post it on our Facebook page. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.