Images: Holiday lights in the suburbs 2012

Buy this photo Buy this photo
next prev 1 of 62
Gallery Image

This year's winner is Jeffrey Lawnicki's Light Up the Sky display at 15N800 Pheasant Fields Lane in Hampshire. Jeffrey wins a Toro snow blower valued at $850.

The year's second-place winner is the Schluckbier Christmas Light Explosion at 503 S. Dartmouth Lane in Schaumburg. The display has 50,000 lights synchronized to five Christmas songs to listen to from the warmth of your car.

Cooperation on Magnolia Drive in Rolling Meadows earned these neighbors a third-place win. "This is the fourth year putting together a synchronized display," says Robert Klarman of 4504 Magnolia. "This year, three neighbors joined in so we have a total of four houses that are all synchronized to the same music. We have a total of five songs that are synchronized and computer controlled. Our show runs nightly from 4:30 p.m. to midnight. Tune your radio to 98.3-FM to listen to the music and watch the lights from your car. This year we are taking nonperishable food donations to support the Bethel Lutheran Food Pantry." For more info, see

Herzog's Winter Wonderland features three 30-foot lighted arches spanning the driveway leading to Santa's workshop at 23 N. Durham Lane in Round Lake. "Our animated Santa can be seen in the upper window stopping by for milk and cookies and leaving presents for all the good boys and girls in the house," says Tim Herzog. "We have a front yard full of playful animated animals, a working Ferris wheel, and Santa in his sleigh waving from the roof. Our biggest joy is watching the cars stop by to check out the display." The Herzog display came in fourth in our contest.

A tradition that started in our previous home has carried over to Mount Prospect, says Ashbel Lanzar. The display, which placed fifth in our contest, contain 30 standup figurines and 11,000 LED lights at 1710 Liberty Court in Mount Prospect.

The Lifka house at 626 N. Arlington Heights Road in Arlington Heights shows beauty in simplicity. John Lifka says decorating reminds him of his childhood. "I like to keep it simple -- not too much with white lights on the bare trees and colored lights on the evergreens, which all lead you to the welcoming front porch with garland and white lights accenting the entry. I always imagine while I'm decorating that I want to create a house the kids love to pull up to and also the perfect setting for an old-fashioned Christmas party," he wrote.

The Syers family puts on a synchronized show at The Magical House on (1347) Hunter Circle in Naperville. The display features 112 Light-O-Rama channels controlling over 21,000 lights dancing to music on 106.9-FM. Ther show contains 13 songs and runs daily from 5 p.m. to midnight ( "Last year we raised $1,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation and we hope to raise even more money this year," John Syers says.

The Kyprianidis house at 1495 Morgan Drive in Elk Grove Village, winner of our lights contest in 2010, is all aglow again this year. The display features more than 10,000 lights, a Nativity scene, Santa with reindeers, a snowman scene, a gingerbread house and oversized snowflakes on the upper roof. "We try covering the different themes of Christmas," Jennifer Kyprianidis said.

Christmakah on Foxmoor is the title of the decorations at this house at 1411 Foxmoor Lane in Elgin. "To celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, we decorate our house in blue and white lights. In addition, we have a handmade menorah and Star of David," said Jenny T.

The Kotecki house at 737 Brian Ave. in Schaumburg is decorated with LED lights. "Stop by and look at all the LED lights we have on the house," Randy Kotecki says. "You will also notice all the animals we have throughout the yard ... even on the roof."

The Sarnecke house at 493 N. Columbine Ave. (Rt. 53) in Lombard is whimsical and colorful. "Hopefully, we make people's lives a little happier when they drive by and see out home all lit up. Have a very Merry Christmas and a healthy Happy New Year," Joann Sarnecke says.

The Labay house at 8798 Bentley Lane lights up Spring Grove.

A single photo just can't capture all that's going on at 3111 Wolfe Court in Naperville, Scott Amundsen says. To see videos and playlist, get directions at The display contains 144 separate channels plus two 16-foot LED arches, a virtual Santa in the window and 18,000 total lights. The show runs daily from 5 to 11 p.m. until New Year's Day. Tune into 88.5-FM to hear the music.

Check out the Tarkowski display at 653 Walnut Road in Wauconda. The display includes 16 channels sequencing more than 6,000 LED lights and 14 songs, Mark Tarkowski says. Tune in to 88.7-FM to hear the music synched to the show, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

One of Elgin's newest and brightest holiday displays -- Lights on Sienna -- can be found at 234 Sienna Drive. (just south of Randall Road on the corner of Highland and Sienna). The display features thousands of LED lights sequenced to music and transmitted over the radio, more than 100 lit figurines, a homemade "Polar Bear Cafe" with spinning peppermint, a frosted gingerbread house and a 10-foot-tall twirling mega tree, Matt Cook says. Visit for more information.

Catch the more than 35,000 lights at 2195 South St. in Elgin. "This light display is put up every year (but his first in this location) by my very dedicated fiance Mike. He really enjoys bringing magic to the holiday season and smiles to everyone's faces by sharing his LOVE of festive lights!" says Mike's fiancee.

Listen to the music and watch the lights at the Evensens' display at 585 Carriage Drive in Batavia.

The Mack Christmas House in McHenry County sports 2 acres filled with blowups and tons of LEDs and traditional lights. Enter under Santa and his reindeer flying under a huge candy cane at 217 N. River Road in Algonquin. "Enjoy the march of soldiers around the driveway while driving under synchronized arches and listening to Christmas music through your own radio (transmitted on 106.9). Traditional figures fill the front window, and the flagpole is transformed into a huge Christmas tree," says Laura Mack. The lights will be on from 6 to 9 nightly.

The tradition of the Brookfield North Pole at 1123 Regency Court in Schaumburg started 30 years ago with two strings of lights, a snowman and a lamp post, says Michelle Slechta. Then the Slechtas added one to two items every year since, and the rest, as they say, is history. The original starting pieces are still incorporated into the expansive layout, which now includes Santa's workshop, 30 toy soldiers with corresponding Christmas trees, several candles, a train, a race car, skiing snowballs, and the North Pole complete with penguins. "The hand-painted Nativity scene is a family heirloom," says Michelle. "It is our pleasure to share it with you."

What do thousands of holiday lights and nearly 2 miles of extension cords, a computer and a live streaming webcam get you? asks Zachary Gebis of West Chicago. They get you an amazing holiday light display that cars line up for on 27w537 Timber Lane in West Chicago. Thousands of people have seen the display in person, and even more have seen the display via a live webcam at and YouTube videos.

The Christian display at 1851 Broadsmore Drive in Algonquin.

The Meyers family lights at 100 Coral Lane in Wheeling are small but to the point, Rick says.

"It's a Ring thing," says Tina Ring about the display at 886 Tiffany Farms Road in Antioch. "At our house, Christmas would not be Christmas without decking the halls! It's our gift to all that drive by. Enjoy!!! Merry Christmas!"

The Hurley house at 582 Wexford Drive in Elgin is all about tradition. "When I was a kid I asked my dad, 'Why do we put so many lights on our house?' He told me, 'So Santa can find it.' When my son was born I started decorating and have been adding to it every year since. He's 8 now, and we just had a baby girl this year," Brian Hurley says. The display has 61 blow molds, 40 Christmas trees, 12 reindeer and 12 animated displays plus over 10,000 lights synced to music and a 20-minute laser light show on the garage door. Check out a YouTube clip at

The North Pole comes alive in Arlington Heights at 616 E. Independence Court. When you transplant yourself into our Winter Wonderland, you will be greeted by a snowman and find a busy elf building toys in a life-size Santa's Workshop, Loren Freeman says. As you travel through, stop by Rudolph's Stables and his training grounds, where you will see the reindeer gearing up for the big night. Finally our happy helper elf is willing to do any last-minute tuneups at Santa's Sleigh Depot. All of the North Pole-inspired decorations are handmade and one of a kind. If you look and listen very carefully, you might even be able to hear and see Santa, Loren says.

The Lindelof home is decorated and tied up with bows at 380 Crestwood Road in Wood Dale.

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a Christmas Carnival, says Shari Scow. At 23W559 Ardmore Ave. in Roselle, you can find Sesame Street characters Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover and Abby Cadabby ride the working Ferris wheel while snowmen zip about on the swings and giant rag dolls ride the Tricycle Carousel. Papa Gene built all the working carnival rides himself, as well as the jack-in-the-box.

The Mavetz family wishes everyone a peaceful and blessed holiday season with a display at 166 North Pleasant Ave. in Bloomingdale. "I hope everyone will enjoy the magical light display that our 11-year-old son put together for his Grandma and Papa, who are spending Christmas in heaven this year," said Jake Mavetz. "He has combined some of the beautiful decorations my parents had on their home with some of ours and he put this amazing display of sparkling and twinkling lights on our home in hopes that his grandparents can see it." The light show runs from 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. each night.

"Just lights ... no fancy music," says Mary Dugenske of the display at 801 Ridgewood Drive in Round Lake.

John and Penny Kazmier (our 2011 Cook of the Year winner) find it hard to capture the magic of twinkling lights at their house at 8 Wescott in South Barrington in a static photo. "We started choreographing our over 80,000 lights to music over 10 years ago and now include seven songs and an all-LED display," Penny said. "My husband does everything himself from hanging the lights to building his own circuit boards, along with all the programming. We love to see others enjoy the lights!" Check out their website at

A funland of vintage decorations makes the Elenbaas house at 1555 Leabrook Lane in Wheaton a delight for grandkids.

The Collins family invites you to stop by 3 N. 474 Linda Lane in Addison, three blocks east of Route 53 off Army Trail Road. The show contains over 25,000 lights choreographed to five different songs and lasts for 12 minutes. You can listen to 99.3-FM from the comfort of your car.

The Johnson family, 7 Dover Court in Streamwood, is no stranger to our holiday lights contest. Tom won our contest in 2008. Their display features 10 handbuilt display cases with various moving figures, small lit villages, moving parts and a flying Santa, a large manger and a train case, with a G-scale train and small village surrounding the train.

The Schaus Family Wonderland at 510 N. Arlington Heights Road in Itasca is going into its 15th year. The display includes a North Pole village with Clark Griswold house and Santa runway with Mrs. Claus dancing to music. The main display includes Mickey and Snoopy inflatables and the Nativity. On the roof is Santa with his reindeer. Don't miss the side yard with its Santas, Snoopy, bears and snowman. Stop by and walk though this holiday wonderland every weekend from now until Christmas, Jon says. Santa will here making a visit on weekends from 6 to 9 p.m.

Stefanie Hunt describes the house at 175 N. Rosedale Avenue in Bloomingdale as "simple, festive and elegant decor bringing holiday cheer to us all."

This array of lights creates a festive atmosphere at the Rago house at 404 Larkdale Lane in Mount Prospect

The Bluestem Christmas Walk lights a 450-foot path from the street to the rear yard at 943 Bluestem Lane in Geneva. Thousands and thousands of LED lights are used to entertain children and adults alike," says Garran Sparks. Several displays adorn the pathway as well as numerous decorated trees. "This is one display that you just can't drive by. It requires you to get out of the car and walk to enjoy the entire holiday display," Garran says.

Homemade electrical Christmas is the theme at 703 S. Oltendorf Road in Streamwood. "I wanted to give the imagination of a gingerbread house with Santa and Mrs. Santa getting ready for Christmas and his head elf (Ralph) is busy making toys in the workshop," says Lisa Gagnon. "And this all goes to music." Tiny elves load the sleigh with presents. Lisa says her goal is to thrill "children and adults who still have the imagination of Christmas."

Giant candy canes made of rope lights along with gumdrop fascia boards are the highlight of the Cramer family's giant gingerbread house at 409 Morgan St. in Fox River Grove.

A Nativity scene is the centerpiece of a full acre of lights and decorations at 35 Carlisle Road in Hawthorn Woods. The display includes 50 decorated trees, says Joe Junia.

A 130,000-light display dances to over 20 songs controlled by four miles of connecting wire, nine miles of lights, 640 channels and 40 control boxes at the Papiech house. The show runs from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. daily at Herrington Drive and Bealer Circle in Geneva.

The wonder of Disney and Charlie Brown light up the Lynn house at 2640 N. Prindle Ave. in Arlington Heights.

The display at 44 Kingsport Drive in Schaumburg is too large to fit in Bruce Beddard's yard. The decorations include a 15-piece choir, penguins playing volleyball, a large Nativity scene, North Pole stand with Santa and Mrs. Claus along with four Christmas trees. More than 100 toy soldiers and 200 candy canes line the perimeter.

The Incledon Family Christmas Light Show keeps the night bright at 7 Boland Drive in South Barrington. The light show is computer controlled and synchronized to several Christmas songs, which you can listen to from the warmth of your car. There are 160 channels controlling over 25,000 lights. "The highlights of the show are a 20-foot mega-tree with over 10,000 lights and the new-this-year leaping arches with 4,500 lights," James says. "We also added dancing candy canes, which our kids really enjoy." For more info about the show, please visit

The expansive handmade Nativity scene was designed by the Miur family at 446 N. Willow Wood Drive in Palatine. The display has graced the neighborhood for more than 20 years.

The Winter Wonderland at 1521 Dun Lo Drive in Arlington Heights includes everything from a manger to a Mickey Mouse. "For over the past 15 years our family has decorated both the inside and outside of our house," says Marianne Winter. "We have over 16 Christmas trees, and our biggest one is on the outside, which is over 25 feet tall." Learn more at

The Sanfillippo family has been decorating at 1147 Old Mill Lane in Hanover Park since 1987. Each year, the family adds a new element.

The Brensberger family at 234 Longford Court in Elgin believes in Santa and has crafted a wonderland fit for the jolly old elf.

Candy canes dominate this classic display at the Svec house at 1320 Prairie Drive in Algonquin.

The Baker family decks out the house at 121 S. Maxon Lane in Streamwood.

The Coglianese family wishes everyone a Merry Christmas with a 14-foot Bumbles and a cast of characters from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" at 611 W. Berkley Drive in Arlington Heights.

The Navaroo family has fun decorating each year at 309 S. Second St. in West Dundee. "It's been a tradition ever since we moved in 15 years ago. Our children enjoy putting up the manger scene and planning where everything will go," Chris says. "Don't forget to look up and see Santa bicycling his way north."

Make sure you view both the front and back of the Juergensen house at 202 E. School Lane in Prospect Heights.

The Sample family supports our troops with 82 soldiers and 18 drummers lined up in a holiday and military fashion at 610 W. Main St. in West Dundee.

The Scott Family in Naperville goes all-out at 1228 Atlas Lane. There are 250 strands of light with 100 bulbs each for a grand total of 25,000 lights. "We dedicate this house to the Griswold Family Christmas," Brian says.

Can you see Santa? Come join in our Christmas tradition of decorating our home at 111 S. I-oka Ave. in Mount Prospect, says Matthew FioRito. The display includes penguins, Rudolph, Bumble and Snoopy, plus Santa taking off on his LED runway.

Clark Griswold would be proud of the home at 343 Gillett St. in Sugar Grove. "Clark, do you think you might be over doing it? … That is my wife's favorite line this time of year," says Dan Johnston. "Through my 60 hours of decorating and 40 additional hours of complaining about the decorating, she is probably right!" The thousands of twinkling lights can be seen from all over the subdivision.

The Mickleys are pros when it comes to decorating for the holidays. Their house at 2049 Tiffany Drive in Schaumburg has won awards for two years in the Schaumburg Park District's decorating contest. "Enjoy the magic of 18,000 lights synchronized to music from the warmth of your car," Todd says. "We have 15 songs separated into three shows that can be seen daily at 6, 7, and 8 p.m." Find more information about the show at

A pop-up Santa adds some magic to the Christoffel display at 1622 Clarence Ave. in Arlington Heights. The display includes a colorful combination of 6,000 LEDs and more than 2000 incandescent bulbs. "Whenever you walk or drive past, this home-built Santa rises out of his 4-foot-high chimney and greets you with a 'Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas,'" says Bill. Santa's holiday message is also broadcast over 107.3-FM.

Jack & Lauara's Christmas box lights up 1443 W. Briarcliff Road in Bolingbrook. "We have over 55,000 lights in our phenomenal Christmas light display," says Jack Frohn. "Two of our eves, Kyle and Kayla, are sitting by the fireplace with cookies, milk and a gift list for Santa. Snowflakes abound, flashing randomly by the use of controllers. Santa is in his sleigh full of gifts for the kids. Penguins are popping in and out of the igloo.'

The Labay family does its own version of a Griswold Christmas at 8780 Bentley Lane in Spring Grove. "The windows in the front of the house are the host to 20 animated figures," says Kevin Labay. "At the front door awaits a life-size Santa and teddy bear to great you and the toy soldiers guarding the garage. Don't forget to also check out the backyard." The display also includes a manger, plus Santa with his reindeer, animated figures and blow molds. The street is lined with candy canes from one end to the other while thousands of lights dance to Christmas music.

A frosty family highlights the display at 530 Farmhill Circle in Wauconda. David Jakubek describes it as "a handmade larger-than-life snow family." Frosty towers 13 feet, Mrs. Frosty tops out at 10 feet and the snow children stand 5 feet high. Thousands of twinkling lights accompany the "Frosty" song. "Pictures don't do a justice; a driveby is necessary," says David.

Gallery updated: 12/20/2012 5:44 AM

About this Gallery

More than 60 people entered the Daily Herald's 2012 holiday lights contest. Jeffery Lawnicki, 19, of Hampshire is the winner. Here are pictures from all the entries, including the other top vote-getters. Thanks to all who entered; we hope you enjoy the lights. An interactive map with addresses for all contest entries can be found at
Galleries by Category