As kids, many of us had a holiday tradition of piling into the car and riding around town looking at Christmas lights. And lucky for us, Napa has its fair share of homeowners who decorate their houses each year so we can continue the tradition with our little ones. It really is a tradition that has withstood the test of time. The story goes that Thomas Edison introduced the first outdoor electric Christmas light display to the world in 1880. A couple years later, Edward Johnson, an inventor working with Edison, created the first string of Christmas lights, made out of 80 small electric light bulbs. In 1890, the lights were mass-produced and department stores began displaying them annually in their Christmas displays.

Unfortunately, the Holiday Wine Trolley isn’t conducting its annual holiday light tours this year, so we had to create our own tour. We spent several hours driving around Napa neighborhoods north of Lincoln. Next week, we’ll tour south Napa (we already have some favorites on Penny Lane and downtown). My daughter was delighted by the simplest of lights, but there were some homes that really went above and beyond to light up the dark days of December. We share a few of our findings, and, as usual, if you know of other homes in Napa, American Canyon, Yountville, St. Helena or Calistoga that should be added to our list, please let us know.

Paradise Drive, Napa
A great find was Paradise Drive, a cul de sac off El Centro, where every house on the block is decorated. My daughter was very excited to see that many of her “friends” friends from Frozen had visited several of the homes. The house on the end invites you to tune into 90.1 on the radio to enjoy a synchronized lightshow. If you don’t have a lot of time to tour the neighborhoods, check out Paradise Drive, as well as the houses at the entrance on El Centro and Jefferson.

878 El Centro Ave, Napa
By far, the most amazing house we found is on El Centro Avenue, and you can’t miss it if you’re driving by—it is truly a traffic stopper! The lighting display began nearly a decade ago “In Loving Memory of Mama and Papa,” as the sign acknowledges on the Salinas family property. They have managed to cover every spot with a variety of blowups, lights, and other decorations, including a fully-dressed 30-foot tall Christmas tree. Anyone who would like to drop off an ornament in honor of a loved one can have their ornament added to the memory tree.

3301 Linda Mesa Way (corner of Scenic), Napa
Reminiscent of Disney’s Small World, this display is full of moving objects, including a fishing polar bear, and elf bike riding, and grandfather clock that pops open at regular intervals.

3375 Kensington Circle (corner of Scenic), Napa
Tune in to 95.5 to listen to 25 different songs synchronized to thousands of lights.

Linus Court, Napa
We didn’t see this one but rumor has it Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there December 10, 17, and 18 from 6-9 pm

A few others in Napa worth checking out:

3407 and 3480 Ellen Way

1752 Yellowstone St.

2163 and 2175 West Park Ave.

2967 Woodcrest Drive

181 Chelsea Ave.

2101 Russell Street

3627 Harkness Street

2068 Kathleen Drive

South Napa additions:

2192 and 2194 Penny Lane, Napa
For nearly 20 years, this family (the two homes are owned by related family members) has decorated (rumor has it that 2192 has enough lights to power Paris for a month) with lights, life size Mr. and Mrs. Clause and so much more!

1326 Oak Street
We love this house, but really our favorite is the house next door with the  “ditto” sign.

2238 Second Street
These folks love Christmas time and and Santa shows up regularly to say hello, pose for pictures and give everyone a sweet treat. More info here

East Avenue next to the Alta Heights parking lot.

Shetler Avenue evidently has some good houses. There’s also one on First Avenue, one on Pickwick Drive and a few on Foster Road.

800 Foster Road

420 Pickwick Drive

2200 Cuttings Wharf Road

A shout out to the Town of Yountville — the entire town is lit up — plus check out the Wilson Building! And the Santa Train has created the North Pole there.

And here are two in American Canyon:
66 Goldfinch Drive

236 Folland Drive

We’ll continue to add more to our list as we discover them – and we hear from you!