Seven holiday lights displays worth seeing in the Bay Area

Image 1 of 2

In the late 1960’s, Robert “Spider” and his wife, Janice Cantley began decorating the outside of their Fremont home with holiday lights and hand-made wooden cartoon characters as a way to draw visitors and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 

Robert Cantley’s mother, Nan, died of Leukemia and the holiday event was held in her honor.

Neighbors joined in, decorating their own homes, and Fremont's Cripps Place, now known as Crippsmas Place, soon became a popular spot to see East Bay holiday displays.

About 15 years ago, the Cantleys moved to Twain Harte, but the holiday tradition continued with the formation of the Crippsmas Club, a group of neighbors who started a non-profit organization that now collects donations for five charities, raising about $20,000 annually, said club president Kate Amon. 

This year, more than 90 homes on five streets have holiday displays that can be seen between 6 and 10 p.m. through Christmas night. Fifty years after it began, Crippsmas Place continues to be a huge draw, as measured by the number of candy canes distributed to visitors each year. Last year, volunteers handed out about 22 ,000 candy canes, Amon said.

All over the Bay Area, there are impressive and sprawling neighborhood holiday lights displays to check out. Below is a list of a few of our favorite free events:

In Alameda, the 3200 block of Thompson Avenue between High Street and Fernside Boulevard has been known as Christmas Tree Lane for 80 years. Extravagant light displays are featured on more than 50 homes and Santa is in the neighborhood between 6:30 and 8 p.m. through Sunday. Lights can be seen from 5:30 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 31. 

In Pleasanton, Widmer World, with its mini Christmas village, dazzling light show and sprawling holiday scenes, is located at 3672 Chelsea Court. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31 with parking on neighboring streets.

In Livermore, Deacon Dave’s 36th annual Christmas display features more than 600,000 lights and a theme of Away in the Manger. Check it out at 352 Hillcrest Ave. between 6 and 10 p.m. on weekends and between 6 and 9 p.m. on weekdays. Hours change to 6 to 9 p.m. every day until  Jan. 1. 

In San Jose, Dave’s Christmas House at 1851 Cherry Ave. in the Willow Glen neighborhood is decked out with thousands of lights as a fundraiser for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Visits are free, but donations for the charity are appreciated. Santa visits on select nights and the display will be open between 6 and 9:30 p.m. through Christmas. 

In San Carlos, homes in the 1800 block of Eucalyptus Avenue, dazzle with holiday lights, dancing Teddy bears and Santas on rooftops. The street is located between Orange and Tamarack avenues and the displays can be seen between 5 and 10:30 p.m. through Christmas. 

In San Francisco, Tom & Jerry’s Christmas Display includes a 65-foot holiday tree in front of a Noe Valley Victorian covered in sparkling lights and ornaments. Visitors are welcome at 3650 21st St.  between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. through Jan. 1.