- Deerfield in Plano: For my money (which pretty much involves only the gas to get there), this is the best all-around neighborhood in the area for lights. It has a wide variety of streets that are easy to traverse once you've done it a few times, most of the neighborhood participates (there were fewer "Scrooge" houses this year than before), and now it features the Zephries house on Old Pond Drive, which now has 104,000 lights synchronized to music. There's also the Gordon Lights on Quincy at the north end of the subdivision that has a very nicely-synchronized display as well. (Both the aforementioned houses also serve as drop-off points for various charities, so, if the spirit moves you, bring a new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots or a non-perishable food item for the North Texas Food Bank to the Zephries display, or cash/gift cards for Operation Homefront to the Gordon display.) The carriage and limo rides make this area an even bigger attraction, and I've always thought it would be cool to park nearby and do a walking tour like many of the neighbors do. (When I went Monday night, the weather would have been great for that, but I thought I was short on time. Hats off to the homeowners for keeping everything on well past ten.
- Frisco Square: Although it's a newcomer in comparison to the other sites mentioned here, Frisco has become one of the top attractions in the area, with even more lights to its amazing display from last year (among the highlights for me are the lights that go across the two main buildings, which totally surrounds the viewer with light). As before, everything is synchronized to music, which can be heard either from a low-powered FM radio broadcast or from speakers near the buildings. (For some pictures of last year's display, go here.)
And if you make it to Frisco, be sure and drive a few miles east to see the Trykoski house, where the designer of the Frisco Square lights calls home. This year, they have 85,000 lights in their display, which is also synchronized to music. (And I probably don't need to point out that nearly all of the displays with synced music include the song that's become the unofficial theme of such displays: "Wizards in Winter" from this CD by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I think the entire genre started with Carson Williams in Ohio, whose display became the subject of a beer commercial a few years ago.) Incidentally, the Trykoskis are collecting canned goods for Frisco Family Services.
- SpringPark in Garland/Richardson: The classic neighborhood of mostly cul-de-sacs, each with a different theme. Among my favorites are the displays on Silver Maple and Buckethorn, as well as the continuous train motif along Lake Shore Drive, and Debra Court was full of win this year with its "12 Days of Redneck Christmas" theme (though they should have gone in reverse order like the song does; you'd have to drive on the wrong side of the road to sync with the song. Quite a few of the streets were more sparsely lit this year, which has been a trend for a while now; I wonder if I was just there on a night when a lot of people were on vacation.
- Interlochen in Arlington: I haven't been here in a few years (though I'll try this year, as it's been extended through Dec. 31), but this neighborhood is unique in that several streets back up to a large canal, so the backyards as well as the fronts are decorated. This area is not too far from Six Flags, and, like the amusement park, there are signs along Randol Mill Road listing estimated times until you get to the lights. I need to make this one again soon. (And check out this heartwarming story about the generosity of UTA professor Allan Saxe, whose generous donation allowed the lights to go on when the city could no longer afford to pay police officers for traffic control.)
- There are also two houses in Rowlett worth seeing: One on Dogwood Trail that's all done up in neon (evidently, the homeowner also owns a neon sign company) and the Belcher house on Faulkner Drive; there's also a perennial favorite in Carrollton on Timberline at High Sierra that always goes all out, even decorating the garage as a Santa's Workshop.
*I discovered when searching for some of the old text to copy and paste that I actually forgot to do the 2009 post. D'oh!
UPDATE: A few days after Christmas, I discovered some more cool houses in the Sachse/Wylie area.