For many people, one of the most delightful things about the Christmas holiday is not the food, the gifts, or the family reunions, but the sparkling, colorful Christmas lights. They are fun and beautiful and people enjoy making their surroundings look nice, especially in the dark and cold winter season. A lot of Christmas light fans start putting up their decorations before the actual holiday, sometimes weeks or months. The history of Christmas lights contains some interesting facts that any lover of the Christmas holiday would enjoy.
Much like the beloved Christmas tree, the history of Christmas lights goes back for quite a few years. Martin Luther, a German religious leader, first decorated a tree by using candles as a celebration of the beauty of nature. This ignited a very popular fad of prettily decorated trees. Using candles in the trees, however, was definitely an unsafe method and it would not be for a few centuries later that the trend was made safe to use.
The history of Christmas lights powered by electricity dates back to the year 1882, when Edward H. Johnson, a man who worked alongside Thomas Edison, decorated a tree with eighty red, white and blue electric bulbs. However, it would still be several decades before the use of electric tree decorations would become widespread. Light bulbs were very costly in those days, and the general public could not really afford them until the 1930s. After then, there were Christmas trees decorated with electric lights at the White House, at Rockefeller Plaza, and many other important places. The rest of the world would soon follow in the tradition.
For some people, decorating with Christmas lights goes far beyond simply dressing up the tree or the exterior of the home. There are even competitions out there now for homes that are decorated with electric Christmas lights. Typically, the entrants compete for the decorations that are most impressive and filled with creativity. Another fun modern custom can be witnessed on skyscrapers and other buildings in large cities which light up in traditional holiday colors in a move to spread the holiday cheer all over the city. If the history of Christmas lights is any indication, they will be a beloved decoration for Christmas celebrations for many years to come.