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Let’s get lit!

Part of celebrating Christmas is decorating the house ... and the garage ... and the trees ...

POSTED: December 20, 2009 1:00 a.m.

Christmas light show

James Boggs put together this light show.

SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

The light show at the Boggs' family home on Poplar Springs Road is synchronized with music.

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Driving around to look at houses decorated for Christmas is an annual tradition for Gainesville resident Sherry Mize.

Her father used to pile the family into the car each year before Christmas and look at the lights. Now with both she and her husband out of work and not able to decorate their own home like they want to, Mize is on the hunt for some other families who might have felt the Christmas spirit enough to hang a few thousand lights.

"The lights that used to be in Rabbittown, we used to enjoy going around to see those, and just driving around to see all of them," she said. "It doesn't really matter, we just like the lights this time of year."

So we at The Times took to the streets to find some quality light displays. Thankfully, gas isn't too expensive — Hall County can be an expansive place! — which means a family outing to see the lights can also be an affordable one too.

So turn on the Christmas music and go for an evening drive. Here are some good places to start.

The Brown and Davis families
2773 Dawsonville Highway, 259 Ben Higgins Road, 258 Ben Higgins Road, Dahlonega

It's a family tradition for J.D. and Charles Brown, brothers who live right down the road from each other outside Dahlonega, to pull out all the stops for Christmas.

This year is no exception, with J.D. and his wife Syble incorporating their two ponds and flowing stream on their acre and a half of land into the total design of the Christmas light display. Charles and Barbara offer visitors a cup of hot cocoa when they stop by to see the lights, and their neighbors, Dan and Dola Davis, have an elaborate collection of decorated trees up for visitors to see.

"We have a blow-up snowman; on the other we have a Santa Claus and a boat," said Syble Brown of the display she and her husband light up each year. "And we have a stream coming down the mountain and the deer are looking like they're drinking off the stream."

She also has several biblical displays in lights, with messages such as "Jesus is the reason for the season" and a glowing star.

Directions: The lights are just south of Dahlonega on Ga. 9 South. From Ga. 400, turn left at the first red light (Morrison Moore Parkway) and go about five miles, passing the intersection of Ga. 52. Keep going toward Dawsonville and just beyond the curve you'll see the lights.

The Boggs family
3580 Poplar Springs Road, Gainesville

Last year, along with working to finish his degree at Lanier Technical College, James Boggs choreographed thousands of lights to blink in time with the music broadcast on his low-frequency radio station.

This year, armed with a degree but still no job, Boggs has been focusing his energy on creating a greener Christmas display — but still, an impressive one.

Boggs has replaced nearly all of his lights with strings of LED ones, which use significantly less energy. The house, situated on a hill across from Poplar Springs Baptist Church, features blinking trees, an outline of the driveway and a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree made of lights, which required a bucket truck to install.

"This year I changed everything," said Boggs, "and I did different songs, and I put up a bunch of other stuff.

"Also, because I'm using the LEDs, I can put a lot more lights on the trees."

The incandescent lights did a number on his power bill last Christmas, too, so Boggs is hoping to change that as well.

"It's probably going to be a lot less than last year," he said. To compare, last year the lights used 77 amps when they were turned on each night. This year's display pulls about 32 amps.

The home's location makes it easy to park the car and listen to the music on the radio while you watch the lights blink in time to the music. Just tune to 93.5-FM

Last year's display had 12,000 lights. This year's display, which took a few weekends to put together, hasn't been counted yet.

"I'm going to count them after I take them down," he said. "Last year I did 12,000 and hopefully I'll do more than that this year."

Chicken house at Bowen Poultry Farm
Bowen Bridge Road, Clermont

For the Bowen family, Christmas is all about blessings.

That's why Joab and his new bride, Brittney, decided to not only decorate their home with Christmas lights, but to also note the season by creating a cross in lights on one of their many chicken houses.

"We just thought it'd be nice to have something, put a cross up there to give people what the meaning of Christmas was," said Joab Bowen, who lives on land that's been farmed by his family for generations.

Brittney decided it would be a good idea to decorate, he said, and the couple, along with Joab's mom and dad and brother and his wife, strung up the lights as a reminder of the meaning for the Christmas season.

Along with the cross-shaped lights on top of one of the chicken houses, the Bowen's house is also decorated with lights around the porch's columns and along the gutters.

"God's blessed us real sufficiently around us and our farm; the reason behind (the lights) is because we're blessed - he's blessed us a lot around here," said Bowen, who married Brittney Oct. 3. "We've always been real blessed around here and when we have trouble, we talk to him about it and he takes care of it."

Downtown Oakwood

This little town gets into Christmas in a big way, with lights all over the historic downtown area. Take a drive down Railroad Street and turn onto Main Street for the full effect. Also, along Railroad Street, an Oakwood resident has put up an impressive display in his or her yard, too, not far from the downtown display.

Ivy Springs Drive, Flowery Branch

Just a block into this subdivision off Spout Springs Road is one home with lots of Christmas cheer. Lights blink in multi-colored strands and line the yard and the driveway. There are also a few scattered properties along Spout Springs Road that are glowing with Christmas spirit, too, including one just west of the subdivision.

Willowbrook Trail, Flowery Branch

We got a tip from a neighbor that a home down the street had some impressive lights. This subdivision off McEver Road could be found on your way to the Magical Nights of Lights at nearby Lake Lanier Islands — if you wanted to pay a little extra to guarantee some light sightings.



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