It's that magical time of year when it becomes apparent which of your neighbors has too much time and too much money on their hands - they're the ones competing for the Best Outdoor Christmas Decorations Display Award.
The blinking, flashing, every color of the rainbow light displays seem to get larger and more creative every year.
Remember when the Griswolds' house in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation seemed extreme?
That was only 1989, yet today that house with "250 strands of lights, 100 individual bulbs per strand, for a grand total of 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights" seems to pale in comparison to some of today's homes (especially the ones with Christmas music synced to changing lights).
If you're not a fan of the annual light show, you probably feel like a Grinch when cars slow to a standstill in front of the glowing monstrosities on your street, but I think they're fun and beautiful.
Here are some of the best outdoor Christmas decorations this year. Enjoy them from inside, at your toasty computer:
Home of Dominic Luberto, Massachusetts
There are 250,000 Christmas lights on this 8,500-square-foot house's exterior. Luberto decorates the house for the nearly 47,000 people that drive by his Boston home each day.
Home of Alex Goodwind, United Kingdom
UK resident Goodwind starts planning his display in July and has to use industrial electric cables to power his home's Christmas decorations. The whole thing costs him $1,000 in electric bills, and his 100,000 bulb display is valued at $45,000.
It's all for a good cause though, Goodwind sends visitor donations to cancer research in memory of his mother who passed away from cancer.
Columbus Zoo, Ohio
From Flickr user cdubya1971. She says it's "a fantastic display of holiday lights at the Columbus Zoo."
To get a photo like hers, visit when crowds are light or try going "after a rain or snow for cool reflections during these long exposures. I'd recommend going early or late in the day, also never use a flash and of course!"
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
This multicolored winter wonderland was captured by Flickr user kcezary. It's the second year he's taken a photo of the house because "the owner keeps on adding new decorations and the house looks more spectacular than ever!" Photographer kcezary even heard rumors the homeowner spent almost $10,000 for electricity bills last winter.
Around 2,300 miles south of the Canadian winter light show is this one in the heart of Texas.
Captured by Flickr user dr_marvel it just goes to show you don't need snow to get into the holiday spirit.
Santa in his sleigh on the "NOEL"-adornded roof, reindeer in a fluorescent forest and even a nativity scene...this Pennsylvania home covers all of the Christmas bases. I think I also spot a snowman and an electric train for the more secular crowd.
From Flickr user ramkumar999, this house mixes new technology and old school outdoor Christmas decorations. The iconic Santa and reindeer sleigh (with Rudolph at the lead) are taking off from the rood, covered with colored icicle lights. Look hard enough and you can spot a blow-up snowman, a more recent adornment.
Update December 17, 2010 - My good friend and Editor Rachel Just turned me onto these photos from Dyker Heights! Ho Ho Ho!
Who has got the brightest lights in your neighborhood? Send us links to pictures and we'll put them up!
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Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and The Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and is Chief Content Strategist at RealtyJoin.com, a community for real estate investors.