Around Christmastime, jackpots often get huge, but rarely the size of tonight's in the Mega Millions lottery.

It's worth $173 million for the annuity, $129.5 million for the cash.

Powerball also has a whopper of a prize tomorrow night: $125 million, $80.2 million cash.

There are lots of stories of lotteries paying off big-time in late December - and one spectacular bust:

No one ever claimed a $68 million Mega Millions jackpot won in New York on Christmas Eve 2002.

But last year, on Christmas Day, Jeffrey and Christine Pintuff of Wilton, N.Y., won a Powerball jackpot of $48.8 million, and took the $24.8 million cash.

The biggest-ever Christmas present was the $314.9 million win in Powerball on Dec. 25, 2002, scored by a West Virginia ticket.

That seems to be the only jackpot that tops the current one for a Mega Millions or Powerball drawing on or just before Dec. 25.

Last year, Mega Millions came close, reaching $168 million on Christmas Eve. It rolled over to $200 million for the Dec. 28 drawing, then kept on growing till it reached $380 million on Jan. 4, when tickets in Idaho and Washington state won. The total cash payout was the biggest in U.S. history: $240 million. The only bigger advertised annuity was a $390 million Mega Millions jackpot split by tickets in New Jersey and Georgia.

Pennsylvania cashed in at the holidays a couple of times.

On Dec. 31, 2003, Lisa Ensor of York won half of $221.5 million Powerball jackpot, one of the biggest wins ever in the state. (That jackpot was $137 million as of Dec. 24, by the way.)

On Dec. 22, 2004, Joseph and Mercedes Petto of Philadelphia, along with other family members, won $5.66 million cash, after a Powerball jackpot worth $30.9 million as an annuity was split three ways.

Other big wins in the second half of December:

-- $165 million won in Mega Millions on Dec. 21, 2009, by a Suffolk County, N.Y., couple.

-- $163 million won in Mega Millions on Dec. 18, 2007, by tickets sold in Chicago and Morris County, N.Y.

-- $128.6 million won in Powerball on Dec. 26, 2009, by a Kentucky ticket.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.