The Woodlands is a large planned community northwest of Houston, Texas. It is known in the area for its Christmas light displays in both public areas and at private homes. Special events and displays are open to the public along the waterways of The Woodlands' commercial hub. There is something for everyone, including an annual display of large light-up doves of peace, the public lighting of The Woodlands Christmas tree, lighted symbols and phrases representing Christmas around the world and special lighted "dancing fountains" accompanied by familiar Christmas music.
Holiday light displays adorn community centers and private homes in parts of The Woodlands, particularly in the upscale subdivisions along Research Parkway. No expense is spared at some of the homes; light displays include moving figures, elaborate North Pole scenes and flashing light displays set to holiday music. The community centers and parks often are decorated with large lighted trees and wreaths, as well as lighting along the pathways. Local newspapers offer guides and maps to the most elaborate lighting displays.
Lights on the Waterways
Each year at Christmas, major light displays are set up along The Woodlands' waterways. Eight large lighted doves, representing peace, as well as a winter wonderland of lighted elves, reindeer, trees and other holiday symbols are two of the most popular. The area's international character is captured in a display of international Christmas symbols and foreign language holiday greetings spelled out in lights. A huge Christmas tree is lit each year by someone nominated in the community for overcoming major obstacles or challenges in the previous year; the tree lighting and the Lighting of the Doves are annual public ceremonies.
One section of the waterway contains a large array of synchronized fountains that "dance" to music during the evenings all year long. At Christmas time, these fountains are highlighted by holiday-themed lighting and music and make a spectacular display for those walking the paths alongside the water; traveling the waterways on sightseeing boats; or enjoying a meal at one of the many fine restaurants nearby.
Mexican traditions are also observed in The Woodlands at Christmas, reflecting the area's extensive Latino population and influence. Luminarias are displayed in some of the neighborhoods and at churches. The paths along the waterways in the town center are also lit along their entire lengths by actual luminarias in some sections and artificial lighting to mimic luminarias in others. Numerous Woodlands churches also have living nativity scenes with extensive decorative lighting. Some of the churches that primarily serve the Latino community offer candlelit processionals.
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