Southern California's got a few neighborhoods known for their festive (or overkill, whatever you want) holiday displays, where entire blocks of houses do their very best to outdo and outlight each other: There's Candy Cane Lane in Torrance, Brea's got one off the Lambert exit of the 57, the Naples Canals in Long Beach.
The display contains over 25,000 synchronized light bulbs blinking in harmony to a variety of Christmas songs blasting over some speakers. There are angels, giant inflatable snowmen, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, even a lit-up greeting on the chimney stack and all sorts of other things you'd expect to see this time of year. Though the Zimmermans admit that their ornate holiday showcase results in an electricity bill $400 over normal, their website states that, "The Christmas holiday is for giving and sharing, and this is a way to share happiness with thousands of people. When you see the happy faces of adults and children alike staring at the lights, and hear the appreciative remarks, it makes all of the hard work worth it. There is a great deal of personal satisfaction knowing that you make so many people happy, especially at Christmas. After all, everyone is young at heart at Christmas. Christmas has always been a big thing in my household with our five children! Besides, we firmly believe that the house with the most lights has Santa visit first."
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Pick up a cup of hot choco (there's now a Starbucks on the island's main drag!) and wind your way through Balboa's neighborhoods or even take a quick trip around the twinkling harbor on the ferry to get a great view of the squillion-dollar yachts and lit-up private docks.
Zimmerman house Christmas display, 327 Sapphire Ave., Balboa Island, www.zimchristmas.com. Nightly: 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. & Boat Parade nights, 5 p.m- 9:30 p.m. On display through the end of the year.