2012 marks the 20th year of the Gold Coast Christmas Lights competition. Dazzling displays light up homes in our streets and viewing the lights has become an annual tradition for many Gold Coast families. The creativity and sheer organisation of the highly committed entrants amazes me, for this is no token tree or lonely reindeer - we are talking herds of reindeer, Australian boomers too, sleighs on rooftops, icicles to rival Christmas in Iceland and just the most incredible displays of Christmas lights. Hundreds of homes shine bright with the magic of Christmas, which has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
There is stiff competition between suburbs and amongst neighbours in the same street. The competition is open to residents, businesses and community groups with prizes and trophies in an array of categories.
You can checkout the winners from last year and see various spectacular entries by clicking here. The gallery will give you an idea of what to expect in the different suburbs and give you a head start on the best streets to view the lights.
Christmas Lights Grand Champion 2011, Mr Rajko Marsanic, Upper Coomera, Photo Mike Batterham
The Christmas Lights bus tours are a good option if you are visiting and don't really know your way around, or you want to have as much fun as your passengers, without navigating and avoiding all the other slow moving viewers. The tours run from the Arts Centre Gold Coast and are run by Murray Bus Tours. They have an online web special of $14 for adults and $9 for children (no charge under one year old). $1 from each ticket is donated to the 2012 Mayor's Christmas Appeal. They last from 7pm – 10 pm.
Viewing is between 7 and 24 December, 2012. Entries need to be ready for judging by 27 Nov, as the competition closes on 23 Nov. If you are tempted to take part, click here for an entry form. There is a category for "first year entry", so don't be daunted - deck out your house, dazzle your neighbours and make your street sparkle. Go on, flick the switch.
The best part for me is creating those Christmas childhood memories with your kids. Little ones eyes will shine and sparkle as much as the lights themselves, as you drive past homes, which are transformed at night into a Christmas wonderland.
So set aside a little time, take a drive and enjoy the magic of Christmas.