Holiday Lights Display. Pettit Creek Farms. Drive-thru or hay ride through Christmas lights display, plus live reindeer and concession stand. Santa at the farm every Thurs.-Sun and live nativity on weekends. Bring camera. Fresh-cut Christmas trees for sale. Through Dec. 30. Mon.-Thurs. 6-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 6-10 p .m. 341 Cassville Rd., Cartersville. 770-386-8688. $15/vehicle or $12/hayrides. 1 and younger, free.
Lights of Life. Life University. Drive-thru 1.5 mile light show. Santa visits on weekends. Pony and train rides, concession stand, goat petting zoo and live music. Nightly through Dec. 31. Sun.-Thurs. Dark-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. Dark-10:30 p.m. 1269 Barclay Cir., Marietta. 678-331-4334. $10/passenger van; $5/car weekdays; $10/car weekends and Dec. 1 and Dec. 20-25.
Magical Nights of Lights. Lake Lanier Islands. Seven mile drive through holiday lights, plus a Holiday Village with carnival rides, pony rides and holiday treats. Event also features live nativity and ice skating rink. Through Dec. 31. 5-10 p.m., including holidays. 7000 Holiday Rd., Lake Lanier Islands. 770-932-7200. $60/car.
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Nearly one million energy-efficient bulbs, including giant snowflakes, bumble bees and a “praying Santa mantis”. Through Jan. 4. 5-10 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-876-5859. Adults, $20; ages 3-12, $14.
Gift of Lights. Atlanta Motor Speedway. Millions of twinkling lights, including glowing versions of Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman. Through Jan. 4. Sun.-Thurs., 6-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30-10 p.m. 1500 Tara Place, Hampton. 704-637-5363. $15/car, weekdays; $20/car weekends.
Holiday in Lights. Centennial Olympic Park. Thousands of lights adorn Centennial Park. Through first week of Jan. 7 a.m.-11 p.m. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404-223-4412. Free.
Fantasy in Lights. Callaway Gardens. Drive through more than eight million twinkling lights and a garden decorated for the season. Through Dec. 30. Opens at 6 p.m. Hwy. 27, Pine Mountain. 800-225-5292. Adults, $17-28; Children 6-12, $8.50-14; 5 and younger, free.
Country Christmas in Lights. Rock Ranch. Drive through over a mile of Christmas Lights. On select evenings, Truett’s Barn is open serving soups, chili and featuring a children’s craft corner. Dec. 3-Dec. 31. Truett’s Barn: Dec 13-14, 19-20, 21 and 23. 6-10 p.m. 5020 Barnesville Hwy, The Rock, GA 30285. 706-647-6374 Lights Free, donations are accepted at the end of your drive. Dinner and crafts costs vary.
Ever wonder how much goes into those amazing holiday light displays you see in neighborhoods around the metro area every year? Victor Economy can tell you: a lot. A lot of lights, a lot of labor, and a lot of love.
For more than 20 years, the Stone Mountain resident has set up a home holiday light display that’s so large, it’s divided into sections. There’s Snowman Village, an area for Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, a gingerbread figure playground, and even a fire truck festooned in lights.
He starts out with small light set-up in September, with help from neighbors and family, and is ready to turn on the full light show by Thanksgiving night.
Economy won’t reveal how much it costs to light the yard each night because the display is his gift to those who love the lights of Christmas. But he now accepts donations for charity, and last year was able to raise more than $2,000 on behalf of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
NOTE: Large-scale light displays are staged by homeowners all around the metro area. If you know of other great ones in Atlanta, please post them on our Facebook page facebook.com/AtlantaParentMagazine to share with other AP readers
– Mary Beth Bishop
If You Go: Economy Home Holiday Lights Display. 133 Smokerise Summit, Stone Mountain. Hours: Through Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m.-midnight