Miami-Dade County

The holiday season is in full swing. Time to check out these great light displays

The Christmas Castle is among the most elaborate displays in Miami. A facade dressed with more than 50,000 lights is put up in front of the home. The lights are controlled by a computer and synchronized with holiday music.
The Christmas Castle is among the most elaborate displays in Miami. A facade dressed with more than 50,000 lights is put up in front of the home. The lights are controlled by a computer and synchronized with holiday music. Randy Hannah

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, homes across South Florida will be lit up and decorated with Santas and snowmen and menorahs.

As Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa approach, strings of lights will start to dangle from roofs, Nativity scenes will appear and dreidels will spin.

From the large and extravagant displays of holiday cheer to the modest, homespun decorations made with love and passion, Neighbors wants to highlight your favorite holiday home displays. We’ll start by featuring a few homes here, but we expect to keep this list going through the end of the year. Let us know about your home or homes in your neighborhood, and send us pictures. We’ll publish submissions at MiamiHerald.com.

This holiday season, we’re thankful for you, our readers. Let’s spread some holiday cheer together.

Here are a few homes that you’ll want to check out.

Christmas Castle

For Randy Hannah, the advent of LED lights took his Christmas display to a whole new level.

The Kendall resident has been decorating his home for 25 years, but this season marks the fifth year of the “Christmas Castle,” a towering facade of multicolored lights that synchronizes with music through a computer. It’s 40 feet tall and adorned wih more than 50,000 lights. And there are plenty more on the ground.

All of that would have cost a fortune to power before LED lights.

“Our sound system draws more power than our lighting,” Hannah said this week.

The display, at 12331 SW 109th Terrace, will open at 6 p.m. Dec. 9 and run through Dec. 30.

The Christmas Castle also collects money for autism awareness, with donations directed to the Dan Marino Foundation. Each year, the foundation receives about $8,500 from donations collected at the display.

The Rapport Home

For 22 years, Alan Rapport has labored over his holiday display at his Cutler Bay home.

Each fall, he arranges lights, animatronic figures, a manger scene, inflatable snowmen and more in front of his home at 8740 SW 186th St. Starting at 7:30 p.m. each day, Santa greets children and gives them candy. The display will run through Jan 6. Rapport has pieces of his display up now, and he’s aiming to have the full presentation ready Dec. 1.

The Rapport home also collects money for charity — prison ministries, Wounded Warriors and Feeding South Florida.

For Rapport, it’s not about the number of lights. It’s about creating a holiday feeling. He’s got more than 20 inflatables and 20 Christmas trees on the grounds. And although LEDs have made flashy displays more cost-effective, he likes to stick to the old-school way.

“I’m old-fashioned,” he said. “There’s nothing like the glow of an old light bulb.”

Enchanted Place of North Miami

There’s a street in North Miami that becomes an illuminated winter wonderland each December. On 137th Terrace east of Northeast 16th Avenue, neighbors combine their efforts to light up their street.

They string up lights from the trees to create a colorful canopy on the tree-lined street. Each neighbor tends to his or her yard and trees, collaborating to make this cul-de-sac a destination every holiday season.

According to the display’s Facebook page, the first set of lights adorning palm trees was put up Nov. 13. The full display is expected to be ready by Dec. 9.

The Dominguez home

The Dominguez house in Kendall has been dressing up for the holidays for the past 15 years with a parade of inflatable figures, including Santa and his sleigh last year, and an increasing collection of lights.

This year, it features a 10-foot inflatable Santa, an 8-foot inflatable nutcracker-guarded welcome arch, light-up reindeer, a snowman and holiday castle, plus nine sets of lights and three projectors that reflect moving specs of lights on the walls.

The Dominguez home is at 12754 SW 46th Lane.

Nick’s Starlight Spectacular

For the sixth and final year, young Nick Caine is transforming his street in North Miami Beach into a big holiday festival. The college student has grown his home display at 1880 NE 181st St. into a Christmas block party with carnival rides, music, food and, of course, a bunch of lights.

Caine uses the spectacular for charity, too. He raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. In past years, the event has raised enough money to help grant eight wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

This year’s event will run from 4:30-11 p.m. on Dec. 16-18. Tickets for the event are available at www.squareup.com/store/NSS.

Show us your holiday lights!

We’d like to see your beautiful holiday displays. Let’s keep this list going. Send in your address, a picture and a few sentences about your display, and we’ll add it in. We’ll publish some of your submissions in print throughout December. Email submissions to jflechas@miamiherald.com.

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