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A holiday village display at Jones Beach State Park. (Courtesy photo)

The days grow shorter as we approach the winter solstice, but they make up for what they lack in sunlight with a special kind of sparkle. Across Long Island, everything from boats and beaches to historic mansions host light shows and parades that brighten even the darkest of nights. They typically start in early December and run through the end of the year.

This year in particular, these experiences provide a safe, socially-distanced way to add some cheer to your festivities. Bring a little joy to your world this year at one of these seven Long Island holiday light shows.

Jones Beach Magic of Lights

The summer concert series at Jones Beach State Park may have been canceled, but the light show will go on. This year’s experience includes a Toyota Mega Tree spectacular, which showcases more than 240 feet of lights and music. Know a kid who is sad they won’t get to sit on Santa’s lap this year? Have them print out a Santa letter template, write Old Kris Kringle a note and mail it while you drive through the Letters to Santa Tunnel. Refreshments are available, too. Sunday through Thursday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Friday through Saturday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Closed New Year’s Eve. Tickets required

Jones Beach has been busy this season — aim for a weeknight to avoid crowds. (Photo credit: Anastasia Samuel)

Smith Point Light Show

Back for its 17th annual installment, this 1.5-mile show lights up and completely transforms Smith Point County Park. There will be new designs dreamt up by local Girl Scouts. Proceeds benefit the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County and go towards leadership programs, summer camp and financial assistance for girls to join scouting. Tickets required.

Vanderbilt Museum Bright Lights

This one-time Gold Coast mansion is inviting guests to bundle (and mask) up on weekends through Dec. 20 for an evening of holiday lights and themed displays. Besides enjoying the grounds, which will be illuminated and all dressed up for the holidays, guests can indulge in some festive foods, music and see holiday characters from a social distance. (Rumor has it Santa will be there). Tickets required

A toy soldier watches over the Vanderbilt Museum. (Courtesy Photo)

Freeport Boat Parade

When you live on an Island, boating is a way of life. And some who anchor down in Freeport haven’t sent their crafts into hibernation just yet. On Dec. 5, the Village of Freeport will host its holiday boat parade. See the vessels decked out in festive lights while enjoying COVID-safe shopping and dining in the village. Begins at 7:30 p.m. 

Riverhead Light Show

This drive-thru event is back for a third season, and it’s even brighter this year. Expect several new light displays, including some stretching more than 50 feet long and three stories high. You’ll want to carve out about 30 minutes to drive through the entire dazzling display and prepare to turn up the volume on the radio — you can listen to a synced broadcast of holiday music as you enjoy the show. Runs through Dec. 30. Tickets required. 

The Riverhead Light Show makes for an ideal socially distant outing. (Courtesy photo)

Elm Ave. Dancing Light Show

Eat your heart out, Mariah. Arthur Glove, Jr. has become Christmas royalty on Long Island in the last decade-plus. Glove’s yard at 65 Elm Ave. comes alive each year with a display that features 70,000 LED lights. This year’s display includes music, a gigantic Santa, a tree with dazzling white lights and snowflakes that dance on the house’s roof. The show runs from 5-11 p.m. through the holiday season — electric bill, be damned. 

The Elm Ave. lights would impress even Clark Griswald. (Courtesy photo)

Johnnie’s Car Wash’s 12 Nights of Christmas Lights, Copiague 

This South Shore car wash dipped its toes in themed drive-thrus with its Tunnel of Terror during Halloween, and now it’s moving on to something that even the faint of heart can enjoy — a holiday light show. The daytime experience includes a COVID-safe meet and greet with Santa and a car wash. At night, Santa and the Elves will greet visitors, the tunnel will be decked out in bright lights and garland and 88.5 FM will provide the soundtrack. Runs through Dec. 20. Tickets required.