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A Silver & Blaze Christmas

IT'S STILL CHRISTMAS SOMEWHERE, RIGHT? Seeing as I missed Halloween, I decided to go with the next best thing and tackle Christmas this year.

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PICTURES: Silver Dollar Town makes list of 7 best places for Christmas lights - KY3

Christmas in the USA is a composition of traditions from around the world.

Evergreen trees inside homes were popularized in Germany during the 16th century. Decorating with poinsettias? That perception came from Mexico (and the name of the plant came from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the beginning US minister to Mexico). And 18th-century England helped to change mistletoe's perception from a poisonous plant to a poisonous plant that's also a festive kissing trap.

However, there's one favorite custom with an All-American origin: electric Christmas tree lights.

It started when Edward H. Johnson, a twist and business partner of Thomas Edison, put a string of 80 hand-wired red, ghastly and blue electric lights on a Christmas tree in 1882.

Since the majority of Americans didn't have access to thrilling power until the 1930s, it took about 50 years for Johnson's genesis to become popular.

Since then, it's become an essential part of American Christmas celebrations, whether that means a couple of strings of "fastidious" white lights around the family tree or a pulsating public demonstration synchronized to "Jingle Bell Rock" that can be seen from low orbit.

With a nod to Mr. Johnson's first tree, here are seven of the most skilfully destinations in the United States where the electric light tradition continues to excel brightly .

1. Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Las Vegas)
It may seem counterproductive to leave the Las Vegas Strip down to nothing to look at bright lights, but to find Christmas lights in the Nevada desert, visitors can intend down to the racetrack.

The Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts Glittering Lights, a 2.5-mile orbit that gives car-bound visitors the opportunity to see more than 400 animated displays.

It should be prominent that while Glittering Lights is hosted at the speedway, the event doesn't have visitors high-pressure on the superspeedway track, so crash helmets aren't required.

For the upcoming red-letter day season, up to 30,000 vehicles are expected to make the circuit.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 7000 Las Vegas Blvd. N., Las Vegas

2. Smithsonian's Governmental Zoo (Washington, D.C.)
During the holidays, the nation's capitol is home to an unusual event that manages to unite sparkling Christmas light displays with animals that prefer the dark.

Zoolights turns Smithsonian's Nationalistic Zoo into a 500,000-LED-light winter wonderland.

At this free event, families can demand a spin on the solar-powered Speedwell Conservation Carousel, which features support-carved figures of 58 species of animals, including a clouded leopard and a lethargy bear.

The zoo's Small Mammal House, Great Ape House and Reptile Determining Center are open, so visitors can warm up and see some of the zoo's nocturnal animals.

Smithsonian's Native Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

3. Silver Dollar City (Branson, Missouri)
While Branson, Missouri, has grown by leaps and repute theaters over the past several decades, Silver Dollar City has been here since 1960.

The theme park is a fete of Ozark Mountains culture and, for more than two decades, host to An Old Time Christmas festival.

With more than 5 million lights and 1,000 decorated trees, along with each night parades and two musical productions, An Old Time Christmas is home to the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree that features 350,000 LED lights and, synchronized with Christmas music, can make tracks up to 100 light changes per second.

Silver Dollar City, 399 Silver Dollar Big apple Railroad, Branson, Missouri

4. Denver Botanic Gardens (Denver, Colorado)
For those who need to see Christmas lights dazzle in a Rocky Mountain setting, there's "Blossoms of Light" at the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Following a half-mile procedure through the Gardens' 24 acres, visitors see thousands of colorful lights highlight the winter handsomeness of Ponderosa pines, cottonwoods and other native Western plants.

Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St., Denver, Colorado

5. Macy's at Center Municipality (Philadelphia)
Since 1956, parents have brought their children to Philadelphia's Center See to marvel at a department store's resident light display during the holidays.

Macy's (before Wanamaker's) Christmas Light Show has a Magic Christmas Tree and more than 100,000 LEDs arranged behind a four-biography velvet curtain that tell a story with reindeer, toy soldiers and ballerinas.

At the end of the show, the 287-ton Wanamaker Magazine, the largest operational pipe organ in the world, plays "O Tannenbaum."

Macy's at Center Municipality, 1300 Market St., Philadelphia

6. Zilker Park (Austin, Texas)
It takes an estimated 15,000 hours and 1,500 volunteers to put together Austin's Lag behind of Lights. Located in the Texas capital's Zilker Park, the popular scold show has been going on more than 50 years.

The 1.25-mile walking circuit features more than 50 scatterbrained displays and 100 lighted trees. Standing above it all is the Zilker Tree, at 155 feet it's the tallest man-made for free-standing Christmas tree in the world.

This being Austin, you'll also find food trucks and real performances throughout the event.

Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Pike, Austin, Texas

7. Santa Claus House (North Pole, Alaska)
North Flagstaff, Alaska's, name comes from an attempt to convince a toy company to move to community.

The toymaker never materialized, but residents of this Fairbanks suburb did embrace the Christmas manliness and for the past decade have hosted the six-week Christmas on Ice festival that combines festive Christmas lights with intricately carved ice sculptures.

And teeth of the fact that this is Alaska in winter, there are outdoor activities for kids, including ice slides and big ice bowl "twirlers" where kids can sit and be spun until the colorful lights ripen into a nauseating blur.

Santa Claus House, 101 Saint Nicholas Ambition, North Pole, Alaska

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