1 Kislev 5764 Looking at Xmas Lights Lichvod HaRav, Dear Diana, Thanks for your interesting question.
I was having an argument with someone about this topic -- what's the storywith looking at X-mas lights!? Is it permitted or not -- and why or
why not -- Thanks so much!
The only prohibition to look at X-mas lights might be is they are used for Avodah Zara, and you are actually benefiting from them by looking at them. Even if we assume that Christianity is Avodah Zara, the lights are not part of their worship, to the best of my knowledge. Also, most lights that are in urban areas, such as in malls and department stores are not part of a religious service at all, but rather used as a way to attract buyers to come shop. Additionally, merely looking at them would not be considered a Hana'ah- benefit. Consequently, there is no Issur to look at X-mas lights if you happen to be passing by them. I don't think that it would be appropriate to specifically stop for the purpose of admiring them, but I'd be hard pressed to find a basis upon which to rule that even that would be forbidden according to Halacha.
Rabbi Aaron Tendler
1 Kislev 5764
Looking at Xmas Lights
Thanks for your interesting question.