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When it comes to holiday cheer, Des Moines residents and communities are lighting up the night with glittering bulbs around town. So grab a mug of hot chocolate and warm up the car, then head out to these Des Moines-area Christmas light displays.

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Christmas is fast approaching, and whether you celebrate or not, festive light decorations make the season merry and bright — literally.

The displays are a great opportunity to gather family and friends, drink some hot cocoa and enjoy the manifestations of the holiday spirit.

Here are some of the favorite light displays in the Des Moines area. 

Beaverdale lights 

This annual tradition mixes the charm of the neighborhood's homes with the festive feel of the holidays. About 50 homes are decorated for the community to see, thanks to the friendly competition sponsored by the Beaverdale Neighborhood Association.

When: From 6-9 p.m. until Dec. 31.

Where: Ashby and Wallace avenues near Beaver Avenue.

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Gingerbread Lane

Richland Court transforms into Ankeny's very own Gingerbread Lane. Each weekend, Santa and his friends greet visitors and collect non-perishable food for the Food Bank of Iowa. All 31 houses on the street participate in the festivities. 

When: From 5:30-9:30 p.m. through Dec. 31.

Where: Southeast Richland Court, Ankeny.

Tips: Bring food to donate and check Gingerbread Lane's Facebook page for updates. 

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Historic Valley Junction

More than 150,000 lights bring this charming West Des Moines stretch of shops and restaurants to life through the holiday season. Jingle in the Junction events include free horse-drawn carriage rides, an appearance from Santa and caroling.

When: Jingle in the Junction is from 5-9 p.m.: Dec. 5 and Dec. 19.

Where: Fifth Street, West Des Moines.

Tips: Find more information online at valleyjunction.com.

Jolly Holiday Lights

View more than 100 displays spread over 2.5 miles at Adventureland. Proceeds help Iowa youth through Make-A-Wish. More than 700 Iowa children's wishes have been granted through the fundraiser. The display is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

When: Open 5:30-10 p.m. through Dec. 30. 

Where: Adventureland, 3300 Adventureland Dr., Altoona.

Tips: Check traffic and closures on Jolly Holiday Lights' Facebook page. A car pass is $20 and can be purchased in advance online or at Hy-Vee, Casey's General Store and the Make-A-Wish Iowa office.

If we missed any, please fill out the form below with your favorite display.

Sarah LeBlanc covers Warren County for the Register. Reach her at 515-284-8161 or sleblanc@registermedia.com.

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