More than 30 years ago, we laughed at Clark Griswold’s gratuitous display of Christmas cheer in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Chevy Chase’s character decked his home with a Merry Christmas sign, Santa Claus, eight reindeer and 250 strands of lights with 100 bulbs each—packing enough wattage to blind his neighbors. No offense to fans of the ’80s Christmas classic, but that’s nothing compared to some of the homegrown holiday displays in Utah neighborhoods.
In 2020, internet provider CenturyLink compiled data on Google searches, online shopping trends, holiday music streaming and social media posts about Christmas and determined that Utah was the state with more Christmas cheer than any other. As such, Salt Lake is a stocking stuffed full of its very own modern Griswold families finding bigger, better and brighter ways to display their love for the holidays.
Christmas Street in Sugar House
Salt Lake City’s Sugar House neighborhood is home to some holiday staples, including the Santa Shack and Salt Lake City’s Christmas Street (which is actually named Glen Arbor Street). Legend has it, the tradition started more than 70 years ago with a single strand of white lights connecting all of the homes. Now, many of the street’s residents decorate their homes individually and the tradition continues in a much grander fashion.
1500 E. 1735 South, Salt Lake City
Christmas Street in Taylorsville
Each home in this Taylorsville neighborhood decorates by using as inspiration a page from the Clement Clarke Moore poem A Visit From St. Nicholas, more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas. Starting from one end of the block and walking to the other, visitors can recite the entire poem. As far as we can tell, this tradition has prevailed for at least two decades.
5400 S. 3200 West, Taylorsville
Frosty’s Winter Wonderland
Another decades-long tradition, this Christmas display in Salt Lake’s Avenues neighborhood claims to be “the best, biggest and brightest Christmas light display in Utah! Visible from space!” The display is certainly visible to a large part of the city as a beaming beacon of cheer on the hillside. The street corner is illuminated by hundreds of glowing plastic nutcrackers, elves, snowmen and wise men (and even a blow-up Clark Griswold).
805 E. 18th Avenue, Salt Lake City
Miracle Cove in Magna
This neighborhood goes all-out for the holidays, and it gets bigger and brighter every year. Some houses erect massive nativity scenes, some synchronize their blinking light displays to popular Christmas songs, but all of them are decked out in thousands and thousands of lights, easily surpassing Griswold’s measly 250 strands.
7325 W. 3100 South, Magna