When it comes to professional Christmas lights displays in Idaho, we’re hardly lacking. From the 250 foot long light tunnel at Scentsy Commons to the dancing penguins at Winter Spirit in Lewiston, Idahoans have a lot of options when it comes to looking at Christmas lights. 

Those displays are stunning, but truly enjoying them on an evening where temperatures are in the teens or colder can be absolutely brutal. On evenings, like that when you don’t feel up to piling on layers, stuffing your gloves with hand warmers and feeling like your eyes have frozen, this incredible drive-thru light display could be the perfect alternative! 

We don’t know what we did to get so lucky, but Boise has been chosen as one of just five cities in the United States to host Christmas in Color, an astounding LED light show made up of over 1 million lights! Since it’s a drive-thru experience, you get to stay toasty warm inside your own vehicle (and use those heated seats if you’ve got them.)

Image Courtesy of Christmas in Color
Image Courtesy of Christmas in Color

During the experience, families will make their way through interactive tunnels, cruise past 10-60 foot LED Christmas trees, under leaping arches, past four foot snowflakes and past signing characters. They try to work in some local flavor as well. In 2022, the Boise show included a tribute to Boise State! The show is synchronized to a special Christmas music soundtrack that you can hear by tuning to the radio frequency provided to you when you arrive at Expo Idaho. 

Before we give you all the details, we just want to take a moment to express our gratitude for this display being in Boise last year. This author wasn't expecting to be here the week of Christmas. Her flight got canceled. She was devastated that she wouldn't get to spend Christmas with her family, especially her adorable two-year-old niece. A trip through Christmas in Color the day after Christmas restored her Christmas spirit!

When Does Christmas in Color Open?

Right now, there are tickets available from Black Friday thru December 30 (except Christmas Day) and the show runs nightly from 5:30-10 p.m. The last admission is at 9:30. 

In addition to admission tickets which are sold by the carload, they also have a party pack pass that includes some fun things in for kids in the car like light-up wands, 3D glasses (similar to ones that have been available at Winter Garden aGlow in the past,) light-up necklaces and more.   

Image Courtesy of Christmas in Color
Image Courtesy of Christmas in Color

It takes anywhere from 30-40 minutes to get through the display. 

More than Just a Pandemic Trend

It’s a common misconception that this drive-thru experience exists because of the pandemic. Christmas in Color may have visited Boise for the first time in 2020, but it’s been around much longer than that!  The concept of the display itself has been around for years. The first Christmas in Color was put on in South Jordan, Utah and the brain child of Richard Holdman.

According to Deseret News, Holdman used to set up a spectacle of lights, music and choreography at his own home. The displays, like this one he did to Yule's party version of "Amazing Grace," would draw so many visitors that they would cause traffic back-ups in his neighborhood.

In addition to his own home display, Holdman started receiving requests to put together displays for businesses and as a result of working on those displays, pitched the idea of doing a drive-thru display for the community. The first official "Christmas in Color" display went live in Kearns, Utah in 2015.

Ready to see what to expect this year? Check out these photos from past years of Christmas in Color in Boise and around the United States.

Christmas in Color Returns to Boise

The interactive drive-thru light display is happening at Expo Idaho.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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