My outdoor holiday decorations consist of a 4-foot-tall inflatable Santa and one column haphazardly wrapped with white lights. My wife and I bought a Christmas tree two weeks ago and it still stands undecorated in the middle of the living room. “We’re going for the natural look this year,” I keep saying.

Other people are way better at planning their holiday decorations — and some really go over the top with the light shows.

We all know about McAdenville, and it’s great and you should definitely go if you’ve never been. But if you’re looking for something a little smaller and a little less crowded, load up the car and head out to one of these 8 spectacular home Christmas light displays.

(Note: Check links when available to confirm that the lights are on before heading out.)

Charlotte

The balls on Hillside Ave. in Myers Park: If you haven’t been here, you definitely need to make a trip to see the Christmas balls on Hillside and all around Myers Park. The group also collects donations for Loaves and Fishes.

Sherwood Forest Drive, off Colony Road: Several houses here have big displays, but the one on the corner is epic (see below). I’ve seen reports that Santa is sometimes outside handing out candy canes, but he wasn’t there when I went by around 9:30 p.m. earlier this week. 7323 Sherwood Forest Dr., Charlotte.

This is the one pictured at the top of this post, and you can really get a feel for it in the short video below:

Harbin Family Christmas Lights: A good one if you live over on the Pineville side of Charlotte. Accepts donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 10223 Summer House Court, Charlotte.

Huntersville

Zimnowski Light Show: Tune in to 87.9 FM to hear music to go along with the show. Runs until 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (Check their Facebook page for updates.) 15419 Hugh McAuley Road, Huntersville.

This video is from a few years ago but will give you a taste:

Matthews

A Sweitzers Christmas: Tune your radio to 107.3 FM to experience a new show every 30 minutes, until 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There are some other nice displays in the neighborhood on the way to this one. 1001 Sunnyview Circle, Matthews.

A snippet from this year’s show:

Indian Trail

I don’t know what’s in the water in Indian Trail, but there are several houses doing it big out there.

Garden Oak Holiday Lights: Tune to 94.5 FM and the lights go until 9 p.m. on school nights and 10 p.m. on non-school nights. They also collect donations for the National Foundation for Cancer Research. 4026 Garden Oak Drive, Indian Trail. 

Here’s a look at just part of last year’s show:

Fountainbrook Fallats Light Show: Tune into 94.5 FM for the show, which also collects donations to the Union County Christmas Bureau. 1028 Fountainbrook Drive, Indian Trail.

Part of the show from last year:

Nikita’s Christmas Wonderland: A “Christmas Wonderland of wooden buildings” the owner designs and builds. (Check out the detail in the video below.) Also accepts donations for Hemby Children’s Hospital. 1417 Deer Spring Court, Indian Trail.

Thanks to Jo Weber for helping to inspire this list. You can see Weber’s videos of lots of Charlotte-area light displays here

Photo: Corey Inscoe

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