Going for a drive to look at the island’s numerous Christmas light displays is one of the festive and free activities still permitted during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although not meant to be exhaustive, here are a few standout displays on the island.
Almost everyone in the North End knows about the house at the corner of West Hastie Lake Road and West Beach Road in Oak Harbor, and for good reason.
The owners set up a huge display of Christmas lights all over the front yard, extending across the street this year. Passersby can see Santa and his sleigh take off into the night, polar bears climbing trees and more for free.
“When I moved in last year, I was told to look out for my neighbors’ display. Little did I know it would become the highlight of my holidays,” said neighbor Kailah Burr.
John Sims and his wife Debra put up the magical display, along with neighbor Mike O’Malley and the Sims’ daughter and son-in-law, Lauren and Josh Sinclair.
Sims said he and his wife have always enjoyed decorating for Christmas.
Neighbors began thanking them for the decorating prowess and they’ve added to it each year for the past 10 years.
“It’s just kind of taken on a life of its own,” John Sims said.
A neighbor has volunteered to bring Santa to town on Christmas Eve, Sims said.
All the lights are LED and are on from 5-10 p.m. each night. Sims said he will probably keep them on until midnight Christmas Eve.
Sims said it only costs him an additional $17 on his monthly electric bill.
The Navy veteran said he’s seen more people than usual this year. Most people park on the side of the road or in the park’s parking lot at the end of the road and walk to see the lights. The best time to see them is earlier in the week because there are fewer people, he added.
Besides the Sims’ electric extravaganza, there are other areas in Oak Harbor to see bright lights.
Just north of Oak Harbor is a drive-through display on North Wilson Road, complete with a Christmas flamingo. Several houses at the corner of Taylor Road and East Crescent Harbor Road have a big display across their backyards facing the street.
The Castilian Hills neighborhood is decorated, as is the Fireside neighborhood.
Baby Yoda makes an appearance at a house off Southwest Swantown Avenue, and neighboring houses are in the holiday spirit.
Further south, firefighters from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue said some houses with good Christmas lights can be found at Pennington Loop and the corner of Northeast 9th and Main Streets in Coupeville and in Admiral’s Cove.
The fire agency also does a nightly Mobile Santa tour through Central Whidbey neighborhoods until Dec. 21
In Langley, Bayview Farm & Garden has a huge arch tunnel of lights. Anderson Farm & Gardens-The Dahlia House has a lit drive-though display. Useless Bay neighborhoods also have some lights up.
In Clinton, Jerry and Lois Beck’s house is well known to South Enders for its fantastic Christmas light display. Beck has put up thousands of lights each year for the last 25 years.
The house is on Robin Lane, which is off Deer Lake Road. Beck invites the public to drive through his family’s display every night from 6-9 p.m. There is also a Christmas music radio station people can tune in to as they drive around. The lights will be on until New Year’s Eve.
“My husband is an electrical contractor and he likes to give back to the community, and lights are one thing that he enjoys,” Lois Beck said.
Beck said it’s grown to at least 40,000 lights this year — they “went a little extra” this year just because, she said. There are also 11 hidden elves for people to find while they drive through the display, inspired by the couple’s daughter.
Although their electric bill runs a little higher after the multitude of lights, Beck said it’s worth it.
“It’s a gift to the community,” she said. “It makes Christmas bright and cheery.”