One of our family’s favorite traditions is something we call “Christmas Light Night.”
This is one of the few Christmas traditions that doesn’t require any planning on my part and is really fun for everyone. So often during this crazy season, I feel my to-do list getting longer and longer, and my kids start begging me to do more Christmas things with them.
What is a Christmas Light Night?
It’s simple! Everyone gets into their comfy pajamas/sweat pants, grabs some blankets, and jumps in the car. We try to start around 6:30 p.m. on a weekend night. It’s best to do this on the weekend because most of the lights are on then and are hit-or-miss during the week. First we stop at Ankeny’s fast food area (Delaware Ave) and grab some dinner. Then, we start driving around looking at Christmas lights.
It’s that simple! All of us in the car together with one goal—find the best Christmas lights in town!
Ways to Spice Up the Car Ride
- Give everyone glow sticks
- Print off a Scavenger Hunt (here’s one from Knoxville Moms Blog!)
- Sing Christmas carols together
- Whenever you see a plastic Santa, yell “Ho Ho Ho!” (or any other type of decoration)
- Play I-Spy
- Wear those crazy glasses that make the lights look like words
- Let the kids decide which way to turn
- Bring along some hot chocolate (or pick some up along the way)
Favorite Spots in Ankeny
It’s worth driving to Ankeny to see Christmas lights! Pretty much every neighborhood has some great homes lit up, but here are a few of our favorites:
This neighborhood has an AMAZING set of decorations and lights! Gingerbread Lane is located on SE Richland Court just off of SE 8th Street- accessible by SE Delaware Avenue or Highway 69. Santa collects donations for the Food Bank. Be sure to watch for the “Enter” signs and bring a donation for the Food Bank!
Just south of Gingerbread Lane is Rio Court where homes are decorated with Frosty the Snowman displays and signs that narrate the song. Such an impressive sight!
SW Court Avenue
This is one of our favorite neighborhoods to drive through because the street is lined with white light Christmas trees. While you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to drive by 3608 SW Court Ave which has an amazing display each year!
Hillside-Clover Ridge Neighborhood
Set your GPS to SE 23rd Street (east of Tones Spices) and head up the hill to 3203 SE 23rd St. Turn your radio on to 95.5 FM to hear the music synced to lights! While you’re in this neighborhood, try to find some really unique light displays like lights over the drive way!
By the time we hit our favorite spots, the kids are starting to get sleepy (or have fallen asleep) and we head home. I look forward to this family night every year and hope that it gave you a fun way to celebrate together this season too!
Check out our complete guide to holiday lights around Des Moines and plan a Christmas Light Night with your family!