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A view of the Christmas lights on the 700 block of 34th Street in the Hampden community of Baltimore, Maryland.Mladen Antonov —Getty Images
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Artist Kenny Irwin started making robots out of found, recycled parts at the age of twelve. Today Irwin has taken over the backyard and property of his family's home in Palm Springs with his Christmas-themed Robolights project November 19, 2015.
Neighbors in the Ravenna area of Seattle, Washington, begin planning their holiday light displays in September and the Candy Cane Lane has been a holiday show since the 1950s, December 4, 2010.
A Christmas lights display is seen on a house in Alexandria, Virginia, December 23, 2014.
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A view of the Christmas lights on the 700 block of 34th Street in the Hampden community of Baltimore, Maryland.
Mladen Antonov —Getty Images
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These Are the Neighborhoods With the Most Over-the-Top Christmas Light Displays

Dec 22, 2015

Holiday spirit? Try spirited competition.

It's tough to pinpoint when Americans started competing so fiercely to have the best holiday decorations on the block. This year, it's not just enough to have the best lights in your cul-de-sac: across the country, holiday light contests are being held not just for neighborhoods but for entire cities. Some winners claim glory, others get cash. ABC's nationally televised Great Christmas Light Fight, for example, awards $300,000 in prizes through the season.

Contestants are judged on such things as design, originality, and sustainability, but no matter where you are in the country, you can bet the most spirited houses will have thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of lights, giant inflatable snowmen, and of course, displays that are synced to music you can listen to on your car radio for the ultimate audio-visual experience. (Never mind that holiday lights can run up your electric bill and—gasp!—even slow your home Wi-Fi signal.)

If you live near one of these these towns, pile the family in the car and take a drive through the neighborhood for an evening's festive entertainment, free of charge.

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