The "I hate HDR" vs the "I love HDR" argument is one that's never going to be won. It's like when I say I can't stand those bokeh photos that look like something blurry. Some people are going to like it, some people are going to hate it.
For the most part, I like HDR. Trey Ratcliff and RC Concepcion are two people who do HDR that I love. You know why? Their HDR isn't "overdone." By that, I mean oversaturated, way too much strength, insanely grungy. That's the HDR I dislike, and that's the HDR that people who hate HDR mostly dislike.
Now done tastefully, and not over the top, you can get an HDR photo that looks like this instead:
I love HDR like that. It definitely brings out the dynamic range of the tree, the lights, and the background. Without HDR, the photo would be flat in some areas.