Christmas is one of the most magical times of the year. It seems like no matter what else is going on in the world, everything just slows down a little bit and we can all breathe and enjoy ourselves – once the shopping, decorating, traveling, wrapping, cooking, and calling have all stopped of course.

Christmas lights take up a lot of time, especially when you have a million other things that you could be doing. This year, instead of going over the top with your own lights, consider taking in a Christmas lights display that you can enjoy without having to risk your life on a ladder.

State College has many lights displays that are well within travelling distance – make sure to bundle up and bring a camera for some of the best pictures you’ll take all year:

1. Holiday Lights on the Lake in The Alleghenies

Credit: Lakemont

Altoona is a beautiful town with some of the best architecture you can find, and when they dress everything up for Christmas, it turns into a magical place. There is nothing more magical than the Holidays Lights on the Lake display at Lakemont Park.

You can drive through this display, which is 51 acres, and listen to music that is timed with the show. You’ll have to use your radio to do so, but it really does add a new layer to the display.

This is a BRIGHT display, so make sure that you bring sunglasses for people who have sensitive eyes.

2. Christmas at Elizabeth Farms

Credit: Elizabeth Farm

Credit: Elizabeth Farm

Lancaster County seems like a completely different world from where we live. It is a step back in time while being one of the neatest places

in the entire world. Elizabeth Farms is one of those places.

It is also home to one of the largest live Christmas tree farms around. Since 1758, they’ve sold live Christmas trees on their 200 acre tree farm. However, they also know how to celebrate the season.

Festive lights, a room filled with trains, hot drinks, Santa’s workshop, and free horse-drawn wagon rides make this a destination for everyone in the state.

3. Bethlehem and Christkindlmarkt

Credit: Christmas City

Credit: Christmas City

One of the biggest celebrations in the country happens just a short drive away from us in Bethlehem at their Christkindlmarkt. There are lights, music, and delicious food all over this display, which focuses in on the old world charm and tradition of the season instead of pushing the edge technologically.

While kids love all of the magic and lights, parents and older teens love the market that has 125 artisans selling their own products – everything is made by small businesses and individuals. There is everything from handmade clothing to pottery, so you’ll have your own options.

Make sure to check the website for special events, including breakfast with St. Nicholas.

4. Christmas Magic

Christmas Magic comes to life in Rocky Ridge Park in York. This is a half-mile trail that winds throughout the wooded area. This might seem

Credit: Christmas Magic


short, but when you look at what they pack into it, you will be shocked.

Over 600,000 Christmas lights and animation areas have led this display to be one of the top events in the country according to the Wall Street Journal. It was even called the very best special event in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society.

This is definitely not one to be missed.

5. Christmas in Hershey

Credit: Hershey Park

Credit: Hershey Park

For a little bit of a drive, you can go to “The Sweetest Place on Earth” and enjoy Christmas in Hersey and explore Christmas Candylane. Of course, there is a focus on sweets and chocolate, but with over 4 million twinkling lights, the sugar rush is definitely worth it. Visitors can walk around and just enjoy the lights OR they can go on the coasters that have been adorned with lights, including SooperDooperLooper, Laff Trakk, Wildcat and Cocoa Cruiser. Still, you can enjoy the lights from just about any ride in the park. We recommend going on the Kissing Tower to see the lights from above.

Hot roasted nuts, holiday singalongs, and a visit from Santa will wrap up a sweet night.

If getting out and walking around in the colder weather isn’t for you, there is also a two-mile driving path with over 600 animated displays.

6. Santa Train at Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad

Credit: Titusville

Credit: Titusville

Train rides are part of many holidays traditions and the one at Titusville is a premiere example of why they are so popular.

This train, which is modeled after the Polar Express, is filled with elves, helpers, Mrs. Claus, and of course Santa for this one of a kind trip. You’ll be whisked into the trails of the historic Titusville railroad, looking out over valleys and beautiful nature. At night, you’ll see more than a few Christmas lights.

Hot chocolate and homemade cookies come complimentary and you’ll see many familiar faces caroling and performing for riders.

7. Olde Time Christmas Celebration – Pocono Mountains

Credit: Jim Thorpe

Credit: Jim Thorpe

The Jim Thorpe area is a great destination during any season, especially if you want to enjoy the outdoors or the old architecture.

The streets of this small town bustle with the sounds of Christmas as people run in and out of the small specialty stores with their gifts. Everything is decorated to the fullest extent, including the town’s annual Christmas tree.

There are also tours of the mansions that have been fully decorated in the traditional style, a Christmas parade, a Gingerbread House contest and, for something out of the season a bit (but still really interesting), they have Historic District Ghost Walks.

Not Too Late for Fall Cleanup

Since we haven’t quite had the worst of weather yet, there is still time to get your yard in shape for the white stuff. Our team at JRS Landscaping can help remove the leaves before they just get covered up, which will make a bigger mess for you in the spring.

We remove all of the leaves present in your yard, your flower beds, and one your deck/patio.

Remember that you should also trim your perennials, grasses, and some shrubs as well. If you haven’t done this year, it might not be too  late.

Give us a call today and we will set up a time to look over your yard and give you an estimate.

Header photo courtesy of Susanne Nilsson on Flickr!