The Christmas season is here and homeowners across the state of Georgia are putting up sensational Christmas light displays. Atlanta and it's northern communities is home to some of the most impressive light displays. If you live in the metro Atlanta area or plan to visit soon, here are some of the best Christmas light displays in the area - both residential and commercial - that you should take the time to visit during the holiday season.

RESIDENTIAL LIGHT LOCATIONS:

There are many talented individual homes deck for the holidays. Here are just two of our favorites.

Alpharetta:

The Christmas in Castille display at 4220 Tivoli Way has thousands of lights synchronized to music. Their website states "Weather permitting, the show runs from Dec 4th - Dec 27th between 6pm - 9pm on Thursday - Saturday. The neighborhood is gated so when the gates close for the night, the show ends. When you drive up, tune your radio to 89.9FM." Click here for more info: Castille

Cumming:

Blink Midwinter is a synchronized light display located at 7020 Cole Ct. Cumming, GA. Weather permitting, the show hours are: 5:30pm to 10:00pm Sunday through Thursday and 5:30pm to 11:00pm Friday and Saturday. Their website states "Christmas has always been our favorite time of year. Even with a century of Christmas's between us, it's still a magical time if we make the effort to occasionally turn our backs on the cares of adult life. For me, this hobby is the perfect fusion of many lifelong interests, from the romance of the Christmas season itself, to blinking lights, music, electronics and computers." Visit their website for more information: Blink Midwinter

COMMERCIAL LIGHT LOCATIONS:

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY - Gift of Lights. Visitors will get to experience some breathtaking decorations while also getting the rare chance to drive on the AMS oval. Dates run Nov. 27 through Dec. 30. 6-9 p.m. Sundays-Wednesdays, 6-10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and holidays, open 6-10p.m. starting 12/17 through 12/30. $15 per car Mondays-Wednesdays, $20 Thursdays-Sundays and holidays, $20 12/17 through 12/30. 1500 Tara Place, Hampton. 770-946-4211 Details: www.holidaylightspectacular.info.

BOTANICAL GARDEN - Holiday Nights. The Garden has over 1.5 million LED lights that are spread through out the 30-acre garden. Children and adults will love the tunnel of light, Glittering Galaxy, and the Radiant Rainforest. Lights are on display beginning Nov. 14, 2015 through Jan. 9, 2016. 5-10p.m. Peak admission costs Thursdays-Sundays, Thanksgiving and all nights from Dec. 17-Jan. 9: $26 (member discounts available for peak and non-peak); $20 ages 3-12; free under 3. Non-peak nights: Mondays-Wednesdays: $23; $17 ages 3-12. Night Light Special, 9-10:00 p.m. peak nights (advance booking online only): $15; regular admission for children. Advance tickets recommended. Parking: $10 ($5 for vehicles with four or more) 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 1-855-454-6849, Details: atlantabotanicalgarden.org.

CALLAWAY GARDENS - Fantasy in Lights. Wow!! The Gardens offer over eight million lights! Callaway Gardens is in Pine Mountain, just 70 miles south of Atlanta. The spectacular light display features Christmas Tree Lane, Enchanted Rainbow Forest and Snowflake Valley, plus 10-minute light and music shows at Robin Lake Beach. Fees include: Adults $19-$28, kids 6-12 $9.50-$14. 5 and under free, ask for "free child" tickets when ordering in advance. Details: www.callawaygardens.com.

CENTENNIAL OLYMPIC PARK - Holiday in Lights. The park allows guests to walk through thousands of lights in the 21-acre park. Dates are Nov. 21 through Jan. 10. Open 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. Free. Ice skating rink, also opening Nov. 21, is $12 per person (includes skate rental) for 90 minutes. 4:30-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays (until 11 p.m. Fridays), 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays. 404-223-4412 Details: centennialpark.com.

LAKE LANIER ISLAND - Christmas. It't not just a place to swim or boat! The island offers thousands of lights. Your family can stroll down the beach and boardwalk to enjoy an extended tour of the light show. 5-10 p.m. nightly, Nov. 27-Jan. 3. Adults, $17-$28, children (5-12), $10-$17. Live Nativity starts Dec. 4; plus other activities and attractions. Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. 770-945-8787 Details: lakelanierislands.com. NOTE: All active, veteran and retired Military/Law Enforcement/Firefighter personnel will receive FREE admission for themselves and up to three other family members at Magical Nights of Lights all season long, courtesy of Lanier Islands.

LIFE UNIVERSITY - Lights of Life. An annual favorite light display, Life University provides millions of light bulbs in more than 100 displays along the 1.5-mile drive through Life University's campus. Nov. 26 through Dec. 31. 6-10 p.m. Cars: $10 Fridays-Sundays and Nov. 26-29, Dec. 18-31; $5 all other nights. Vans, buses: $20 nightly. For some added fun you will be charge additional fees for petting zoo, train and pony rides, photos with Santa. 1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta. 678-331-4334 Details: life.edu.

SIX FLAGS OVER GEORGIA - Holiday in the Park. Hold on to your hat, the amusement park will be decorated with some unique displays to include more than 1 million lights. Select rides will be running. Guests will be amazed how sections of the park will have distinct themes Ride the North Pole Express for extra fun! Times and dates include: 4-10 p.m. most nights, Nov. 21 through Jan. 3. Closed Thanksgiving day and Dec. 24-25. Open 2-10p.m. Dec. 26-Jan. 3. Day passes at the gate or online: $43.99-$48.99; $20 parking fee per car. 275 Riverside Parkway S.W., Austell. 770-739-3400 Details: www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia.

STONE MOUNTAIN - Christmas. A family favorite at Stone Mountain! Admission includes live holiday shows, film "Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas 4-D," Singalong Train ride around the mountain), holiday parade winding through the village, with Snow Angel flying over Crossroads for the finale just before a fireworks display. Nov. 27-Jan. 4 (closed Dec. 25). $24.95-$29.95; children 3-11, $19.95-$24.95. Parking pass, $15. Various combo packages, including Snow Mountain, available, see ticket page. 770-498-5690 Details: stonemountainpark.com.

Need to Sell Your Home During the Holidays? Here's 11 Reasons Why You Should!

In the housing market, the assumption is that this is NOT the time to sell your home until after the new year. Right? WRONG!!!

1. You'll have fewer showings. THIS IS GOOD because....people that are looking for houses to purchase during the holidays are much MORE SERIOUS BUYERS!! They've put aside time to pursue their home search during one of the busiest times of the year. Do not ignore these buyers!

2. Unmotivated sellers- some sellers are going to believe the hype about the Spring market being the best and only time to sell your house. These are unmotivated sellers and they are going to pull their listings off the market and wait for March next year when everyone else is on the market too. That's ok. They're making it easier for you to sell your house right now!

3. There will be less demand for your particular house since the supply of houses dramatically increases in January. Less inventory means a better price for your home!!

4. Decorated houses for the holidays show better.

5. Buyers may be more emotionally excited during the holidays therefore are more likely to pay your asking price.

6. Buyers have an increased time to look for a house during the holidays than they typically do during the work week with the added holidays breaks.

7. There are buyers that need to purchase before the end of the year due to tax reasons.

8. January BIG time for relocating- most companies that have to move or relocate employees target January for those moves. That means housing decisions are being made in November-December, during the holidays. Again, these are motivated buyers with a hard deadline. Don't ignore them.

9. You can still restrict showings of your house during the six or seven days around the holidays.

10. Sell now for more money and delay the closing until early next year if possible!

11. You may have a greater opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the spring and will put you in a better spot to purchase a home for less money.


The Mary Ellen Vanaken Team - Keller Williams Realty North Atlanta

5780Windward Parkway, Suite 100, Alpharetta, GA 30005

www.northatlantaluxury.com