Check out Nextdoor’s crowdsourced map for holiday lights

If you wanted to know where all the best holiday spots are in town, this might be your year. Social networking application Nextdoor has reached out to its users in 47,000 neighborhoods to map their cities’ best lights and attractions.

Nextdoor is an application where neighbors can connect to each other, share safety warnings, plan local events, and sell items ala Craigslist. It has grown in popularity in the United States, and using census data, the company estimates that one in four neighborhoods are on it.

The holiday map is a feature of the app. Little icons tell you where to find the best Christmas tree lots, best light displays, charity locations, Santa sightings, and holiday events. Find your neighborhood here.

Neighborhoods join the Nextdoor network when someone applies to draw their neighborhood boundary (and gets a handful of people to sign up with them). Some areas are far more active on Nextdoor than others, so the strength of your holiday cheer map might vary. Here’s a snapshot of San Francisco’s:

San Francisco's holiday cheer map on Nextdoor

San Francisco’s holiday cheer map on Nextdoor

Google Play Music just launched a new visualization mode for Chromecast

Here’s something cheesy but fun for all you Chromecast users out there: Google Play Music now lets you stream video of a fireplace to your TV while you cast your music. “Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got the perfect way for you to set the mood,” reads  a Google+ post that also explains how to enable the visualization. A Google(s goog) spokesperson didn’t say whether Google is working on any other visualizations, but told me that this one was based on a request a user made on Reddit — for Christmas. Better late than never, I guess?

Christmas content: ebooks boom, iOS uplift

Early indications show a big hike in ebook sales, a glut of new iPad owners and a transformative effect for one game studio — it’s another Christmas in which new device gifts give an uplift to content sales.

Magisto: An iOS app that makes home videos cool

Although devices that shoot high-definition video are cheaper and more ubiquitous than ever, amateur videos themselves have not gotten any better to watch. That’s where a new iPhone app called Magisto comes in: It turns any simple iPhone video into a fully edited movie in minutes.

Who’s winning in Twitter photos? Hint: Not Yfrog or Lockerz

When Twitter debuted its native photo-sharing feature earlier this year, some people worried that it would harm the existing ecosystem of third-party photo sharing apps. New data indicates that those concerns were well justified: Twitter now powers 45 percent of the photos shared on its site.

Apple had a really good Christmas

The numbers are starting to roll in, and it seems Apple had a very good holiday weekend. Waiting under the Christmas tree on Sunday was a gigantic pile of of new Apple customers, who promptly starting buying apps, playing games and shopping, according to new stats.

7 Stories to read this weekend

I am hoping that you are spending your holiday with your loved ones. On an outside chance you are still checking your emails and looking to read something this weekend, here is a list of seven stories for you to enjoy.

Magic Cable Duo review: Durable double-duty dynamo

Cables that do the job of more than one are a noble breed of accessory, and Innergie’s Magic Cable Duo cuts down on the need for both multiple cables and external adapters. Here are my impressions of Innergie’s versatile mobile charging accessory after a week’s use.

Meet Frstee, the snowman built from Twitter

Want to give Christmas a bit of a technological twist? Forget buying gadgets and doodads as gifts: why not dangle a 3D printed, data-crafted bauble from your tree instead?