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Albany area lights up for holiday season (Tour the Gallery)

Decorations brighten up the Christmas holidays

1491 Lovers Lane in Leesburg (Staff photo: Laura Williams)

1491 Lovers Lane in Leesburg (Staff photo: Laura Williams)

While driving down the road, any road, this time of year, you can’t miss them — Christmas lights.

Most homes showcase wreath-adorned doors and the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree behind picture windows.

All are beautiful and festive.

However, there are several houses and businesses in the Albany area that take things up a notch, and deck their halls in a fashion that makes Clark Griswold’s home in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” look tame by comparison.

It’s a nice way to spread some Christmas cheer.

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1201 Rawson Circle (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)

At 1491 Lovers Lane in Leesburg, the home of Merryl Gerhardt gives a glimpse at what Santa’s home at the North Pole might look like. Complete with all the trimmings, viewers can tune in to 89.1 on the radio and watch as the lights dance in time to the music, conducted by Santa Claus himself on a big screen in the front yard.

Storyacres neighborhood also provides a musical show. The Clay family at 238 Story Lane in Albany wishes everyone a Merry Christmas, and their mini winter wonderland also offers free train rides for children.

Neighborhoods in the Doublegate area off Old Dawson Road have some festive sights for the eyes, including homes on Devon Drive, Dover Lane and Shannon Road.

Another great place to check out is the Rawson Circle area. The home of Kelly Jenkins at 1201 Rawson Drive shows what it means to “bring out the holly,” and a picturesque manger scene is also on display. There are several houses in this area that sparkle in the moonlight — both literally and with a little bit of electrical help.

But don’t think that decorations are limited to homes. At Faircloth and Sons on U.S. Highway 82 West, Santa Claus waves at passing drivers from his car, set in the midst of hundreds of colorful lights. On Whispering Pines, Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany transforms into a real-life gingerbread house this time of year, with lights outlining and adorning every surface.

So if you’re looking for some free entertainment (minus the cost of gas), there are several areas in the surrounding area that are worth a drive-by — a slow one. We’ve provided pictures of some of the sights, but there’s nothing like seeing them in person — a dazzling display of decor that demonstrates the fun and creativity of residents celebrating the season.

Though these are just a few places, everywhere you look, there are more to explore. So, grab the family and a cup of hot chocolate, bundle up and take a car ride through the area — we’d say take a “sleigh ride,” but well, this is south Georgia.

Merry Christmas!