Costa Mesa, CA - Did you know the custom of lighting up evergreen trees dates all the way back to the 18th century? The tradition originated in Germany and was exclusively done by upper-class families with candles. Candles were a fairly expensive source of light and were crudely adhered to tree branches with melted wax or pins. The idea for Christmas lights were not for the pleasing aesthetic. Rather, the candles were used to express the promise of the sun's return after the long, cold, and dark month of December. Not until the 20th century was the tradition carried throughout the western region of the world where it has now become custom for homes to be illuminated the entire month of December. It is not exclusive to Christians or those who celebrate Christmas either! It has become more common to see folks expressing their personal traditions and holiday cheer through their own light displays. Whatever your beliefs are, there is no denying the serenity and cheerfulness that is synonymous with the twinkling lights of the season. Look no further for your list of must-see light displays this season! As always, Ayres wishes you and yours a blessed holiday season and a bright new year! The 106th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade A five night Christmas celebration unlike any other you may have experienced in Southern California. The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade begins Wednesday, December 17th and ends Sunday, December 21st. Sure, there are plenty of boat parades along the coast to enjoy but very few have the rich history like that of Newport Beach’s Christmas Boat Parade. Now, in their 106th year, the boat parade features multi-million dollar yachts, kayaks, canoes, and other small vessels lit extravagantly with millions of twinkling lights and decorations. Some owners have paid upwards of $50,000 solely in decorations for their boats. The parade will begin promptly at 6:30pm each evening off of Bay Island and will end at the same site at approximately 9:00pm. This is a 14-mile long parade route you won’t want to miss out on! The 52nd Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee Cruise of Lights Voted by AOL as one of the “10 Best Christmas Lights Destinations in the United States” and “Worth the Drive” according to AAA Southern California. In their 52nd year, the Cruise of Lights is a 45-minute narrated boat tour through the peaceful waterways of Huntington Harbour. Picture serene waterways lined with multi-million dollar homes and boats, decked out in millions of lights and dazzling decorations. Not only are there lights, but animations as well! Cruises are at 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30, and 8:30pm. Adults are $17.00, and children are ages 2-12 and $10.00. Under 2 are free. Bring the entire family for this one of a kind holiday experience! The 22nd Mission Inn Festival of Lights With over 4 million lights to enjoy, Mission Inn Festival of Lights has become a tradition for many locals and visitors of Southern California. Owners Duane and Kelly Roberts who saved the historic landmark from deconstruction in 1992 present the festival of lights each year as a gift to the community. The City of Riverside has even adopted The Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights as a citywide initiative, adding a vision of a Dickensian spectacle of both lights and decorations throughout downtown Riverside. There is even an outdoor ice-skating rink on Main Street and plenty of holiday vendors and family-oriented entertainment. Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights in Torrance Want a more charming holiday light experience? Look no further than the lights on Sleepy Hollow in Torrance. Normally, quite the “sleepy” neighborhood, residents go all-out in their displays. You have the option to drive or walk the neighborhood. Driving is quicker but we recommend taking a leisurely stroll through the cheery neighborhood to fully take in the Christmas spirit all around. Bring small bills and purchase hot cocoa, snacks, and cookies from locals!