When the Christmas music starts, the lights go up! These holiday light displays in Frederick County are running throughout the month—with some that came to life as soon as bellies were full of Thanksgiving turkey. Grab the family for festive illuminations. Discover neighborhood displays for charity, extensive displays you can drive through and illuminated spectacles for city decorating competitions.
Clover Ridge Neighborhood
Clover Ridge, next to North Crossing Park and down the street from Frederick Community College
Residents of Clover Ridge are stepping up their game this year after an inaugural holiday lights and decorating competition in 2020. This competition was the brainchild of resident and Governor Thomas Johnson High School student Camden Hood, 15—now a sophomore—who decided to make it his community service project. Friends and neighbors voted on their favorite displays by donating food at the home of their choice. About 30 homes participated and he collected 1,100 pounds of food for the Frederick Rescue Mission.
Back by popular demand, the competition is back for a second year, with additional voting categories such as most traditional and most colorful. Look for the boxes with red bows on Dec. 18 and donate food, hats, mittens or socks from 5 to 8 p.m. Voting will close at the end of the night, but the lights will be up through mid-January. Free; bring an item to donate on Dec. 18.
Light Up Frederick! Holiday Tour and Decoration Contest
Enjoy a drive through Frederick City to see the fruits of homeowners’ competitive light displays. Cast one free virtual vote for your favorite home to help the winner earn a cash prize, or purchase extra votes for $1 each. A portion of the proceeds from extra votes will be donated to a charity of the winning homeowners’ choice. From 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 11 through Jan. 1, pick up a booklet to vote or just drive through to see the festive city homes. Tickets to vote are $10, supporting Celebrate Frederick, a nonprofit coordinating special events in the city. celebratefrederick.com.
Oakdale Candy Cane Lights
Oakdale Village, next to Oakdale Middle School on Oakdale School Road in Ijamsville
Walkways and sidewalks will be alight with festive candy cane lights in Oakdale this holiday season. Drop by on Dec. 17 for a cocoa crawl, and if you’re a resident, vote on your favorite single family home, townhouse or condo. You can also drive through to enjoy the decorated homes through Jan. 1, 2022. The Cupcake Gypsy will be in the neighborhood that night from 4 to 7 p.m., with other entertainment TBD.
TooZ Family Christmas
515 Isaac Russell St., New Market
Jason and Michelle Matusiak (nicknamed Tooz) have been making homemade Christmas light displays and decorations for years. Drop by their New Market home’s neighborhood from Thanksgiving through Christmas—and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 17 for cookies with Santa—to see their homemade creations including the North Pole Command Center, Santa’s Toy Shop and a new addition this year: Mrs. Claus’ Bakery.
Although it’s not a walk-through event, anyone who wants to see the lights can park and come up to the sidewalk for interactive items such as a candy cane dispenser, North Pole hotline phone and box to donate letters to Santa, who will respond if a return address is included. The Matusiaks also have a blowmold Nativity scene that lights up in sequence with an animated storyboard. They will be collecting donations to the Greater Urbana Area Food Bank.
Winter Lights Festival
11050 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg
The annual festival at Seneca Creek State Park is a 3.5-mile drive through themes such as Winter Woods, Toyland and the Enchanted Forest. More than 450 illuminated displays and lit trees will greet event attendees. Jump in the car with the kids on Mondays through Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and Fridays through Sundays from 6 to 10 p.m. for a bit of holiday cheer. The displays will be up from Nov. 26 through Dec. 31. Tickets start at $15; must be purchased in advance. gaithersburgmd.gov.