A big part of the holidays for me are the Christmas lights. Even though my family was never the biggest of decorators, I love to drive around the neighborhoods that always took it to the next level. I remember piling into the minivan to drive through the Nite Lites at the Jackson County Fairgrounds; at a full mile long, Nite Lites Jackson is one of the longest light shows in Michigan.
This year will be even more special, as 2015 is the 20th year for Nite Lites in Jackson! It is still a magical outing that many families, including mine, hold as a tradition year after year. Each year the Fairgrounds are filled with millions of dancing lights featuring scenes with reindeer, Santa Claus, and the Nativity among the millions of lights.
As we pull into the fairgrounds, we’d tune the radio to 106.9 HOME.FM for “All Christmas Music All the Time,” programming that always starts on Thanksgiving Day (but let’s face it, in our house the Christmas Music starts playing right after Halloween). The van would slowly crawl through the grounds as we were ooo-ing and aww-ing at the newest decorations, laughing, joking and/or fighting about the silly lights. Is it a cat or a chipmunk? We were never really sure.
Then, we’d park and go into the American 1 Events Center for hot chocolate and to stroll through the indoor decorations. During weekends in December and from December 18-23, Winter Wonderland is filled with families waiting for Santa. The littlest kids wait in line to visit Santa or, if they were lucky, pet the live reindeer. To this day, it is an annual tradition that continues even if we don’t continue to stare with childlike wonderment. We have to visit our favorite chipmunk, right?
Nite Lites Jackson & Winter Wonderland To Do List
- Drive through the mile of lights
- Sing along to your favorite Christmas songs at the top of your lungs
- Discuss/argue with friends and family over your favorites
- Warm up with a hot cup of cocoa at the concession stand
- Get your photo taken with Santa Claus
- Watch a holiday puppet show
- Take a ride on the kid’s holiday train
- Visit the live reindeer on Dec. 18 and 23, 2015
- Head to dinner at one of Jackson’s Best Restaurants