Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas light contest.

When I was growing up, the Christmas season involved long drives to all our relatives' houses. I would be stuck in the car for up to 30 minutes with my bratty little brother for company.

Being competitive children, we soon developed a way to keep ourselves entertained in the backseat: the Christmas light contest (not game, CONTEST). It also gave our parents some entertainment of their own (often Mom would drive while Dad would play referee). We have since shared this game with family and friends, and over the years, we've perfected the rules.

Want to try it out for yourself? Here are the rules.

1. Each player picks one side of the road (you can do this in teams, too, and they don't have to be even - we've done this with three players).

2. Count all the houses with Christmas lights lit up on your side of the road. A house does NOT count if:

a. it's on a side street - corners are fine, but the house must be right next to your side of the road. If you were driving PAST this street, only the house on the far left would count.

b. the lights are turned off. Driving past an unlit house was agony as a kid! I'm not even sure this one HAS lights... also, this game works best at night. :P

c. the only lights are the ones wrapped around the Christmas tree. The lights should be in the windows or outdoors (even if the Christmas tree is in the window, it doesn't count!!!) This one below counts ONLY because it has lights on the front porch railing.

d. it's a business. A house with a business attached is fine, but nothing in a commercial district. This game works best if the driver adjusts their route accordingly - my parents were known to drive around the neighbourhood instead of going straight home to break ties or to up the tension. Don't drive down a street like this if you can help it:

3. Each house only counts as one. Same goes for apartment buildings (we do this because it would be hard to keep track of how many different apartments are lit up).
{Yes, even if it looks like this.}

4. Generally, this game operates on the honour system. Sometimes someone will play referee (a good idea with younger kids), but usually everyone gets involved, and then sometimes you can cheat and the other player(s) won't notice. Cheating isn't nice, though.

That's pretty much it. We usually do this in a car (or a bus if desperate), but it could be done on foot, I suppose. It wouldn't be as fun, though.

Happy competition!!!


  1. That's so much fun! I'm totally playing this game with my kids... when I have kids ;)

  2. How fun! I love going around by car and checking out all the Christmas lights with my family :)

  3. I really, really love these pictures. Christmas lights are one of my favorite things in the world! I'm a new follower :) I'd love for you to stop by my blog some time and say hi (and follow back if you're interested).

  4. threads - Why wait? My brother and I still play this game, and we're in our twenties. Even my husband plays with me! Thanks for stopping by!

    Megan - It's one of my favorites parts of the holidays, too. :)

    Sarah - Thanks! I'm flattered. I do love me some Christmas lights.