Hudson Holiday: The lights fantastic

Everyone has their own way of celebrating the New Year: Some prefer to sit by the fire, play board games and watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV, while others crash into it drunk as loons, with confetti, a kiss from a stranger in a crowded room and a teary-eyed rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" -- followed, perhaps, by a cab ride home through the wee hours just in time to pass out on the couch. Some folks sit at their desks, pounding out resolution lists; some get tangled up in lists of the year-end variety. But my suggestion to you this year is to spend at least part of your New Year's Eve at Hudson Gardens, drinking in the Museum of Outdoor Arts-sponsored Hudson Holiday lighting display.

Lonnie Hanzon's holiday spectacle is a light show like no other: completely over the top, not to mention simultaneously old-fashioned (horse-drawn carriage rides and an outdoor model train) and avant garde (electric sheep and light-projection orbs). There's a gift shop with refreshments, and for a price, you can even add a shot of something nice to your hot cocoa in celebration of the turning of the decade. Insider's tip: Dine first on an old-fashioned spaghetti-and-meatballs spread at Romano's Italian Restaurant, 5666 S. Windermere Street in Littleton. You might have to wait for a table, but you'll be glad you did.

Page down for more information and a taste of what you'll see at the gardens: Carousel horses and sheep among the stars and spikes: Shrubs alit with blossoms: A choreographed suburban holiday light show with whimsy to spare: A dollhouse village awash in color and detail: A glittering train winding its way through the dark: An inflatable wonderland: A carnival caravan of mechanical dioramas: A glittery apothecary: A time-shifting phone booth: And a TV trip via the wayback machine: A steampunk reverie: A moment with a pretty ballerina: The bubbling candy factory: Electric sheep: A distant blue tree with shooting stars: And hobbit-hole towers:

Cheers! Hudson Holiday will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. nightly through January 2 at the gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive; admission is $6 to $9. And may your New Year be colored with magic and wonder.

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