A leisurely drive through neighborhoods or parks featuring holiday lights display can become an easy and casual get together with friends with a little planning. Check local newspapers, tourist website and parks and recreation web sites for locations of holiday lights displays or Google "Holiday lights" or "Christmas lights" and the name of your city or state for local diplays. After choosing a display, invite a handful of people you want to participate in your lights tour. If the number is small enough, around six people, then you might be able to use one minivan for the tour. If the number is larger than six or no one in your party owns a minivan, then take two cars and keep in contact with stragglers via cell phone.
Have guests meet at your home at an appointed time. Don’t serve drinks before the tour. Drinking a lot of liquids before taking a long drive creates a potentially uncomfortable situation for some of the passengers. Home owners with display lights expect people to admire their handywork from afar, their holiday spirit might not extend to letting a bunch of strangers user their bathroom. Besides, leaving in the middle of a party to pile into a car for the holiday lights tour disrupts the flow of the party.
Before starting out on your journey you need a detailed map and a copilot in the front passenger seat who can read a map. As soon as your guests are settled into the vehicle start playing instrumental holiday music softly to set the mood. Soft instrumental music is more conducive to conversation while subjecting your passengers to an upbeat to the point of annoying songs about Frosty the Snowman will probably receive a rather frosty response.
It helps to have someone acting as a hostess if it’s going to be a long drive. The hostess can quiz passenger on such topics as what are the 12 things listed in the song the 12 days of Christmas or have guests take about their favorite holiday memories. A hostess with an irreverent sense of humor can also act as a tour conductor keeping a running commentary on the displays “and folks if you look to your left you will see the worlds tackiest collection of plastic Santas….”
After the tour is finished, head back to your house for hot drinks like coco and spiced cider and some snacks. Talk about your favorite displays and enjoy a leisurely break from the high pressure holiday season.