A Brief History of Christmas Lights and Why We Hang Them

Christmas lights have been a part of the Christmas tradition for centuries. But why do we hang them? What is the history of Christmas lights? And what did people used to decorate their trees with before lights? Let’s explore the origins of Christmas lights and why we continue to use them today!

The Incandescent Bulb

Thomas Edison had already invented the incandescent light bulb in 1880. While trying to think of a way to advertise his new light bulb, he stuck the product in his window for passersby to observe.

A few years later, Edward H. Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison, came up with the idea of stringing together a bunch of these new light bulbs and using them to decorate his Christmas tree. In 1882, Johnson ko became the first person to put up a Christmas tree decorated with electric lights.

People Used Candles To Decorate Trees

Before electric lights became popular, people used candles to decorate their Christmas trees. In the 17th century, people in Germany began using evergreen trees as a symbol of Christianity. They would decorate these trees with candles and other objects that represented their faith. As placing lit candles on the branches of trees is obviously dangerous, Edward H. Johnson saw an opportunity to market and sell electric lights as a safer alternative to candles on trees.

The Invention of Electric Lights

As we mentioned before, Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb in 1880. These early bulbs were not very efficient and only lasted for a few minutes before burning out. However, they were still an improvement over candles, which could easily start a fire if left unattended.

It wasn’t until 1882 that Edward H. Johnson came up with the idea of stringing together a bunch of these new light bulbs to decorate his Christmas tree. This was the first time electric lights were used as Christmas decorations. Johnson took 80 red, white, and blue light bulbs and wrapped them around his Christmas tree. The sight was so novel and breathtaking that it quickly caught on with other people.

After seeing the benefits of using lights instead of candles every Christmas, people started spreading holiday cheer to outside of their homes. Stringing Christmas lights around trees and houses became commonplace for the holidays, but there is another reason people started putting lights on the outside of their homes. 

Why Do We Hang Lights on Our Houses?

The tradition of hanging lights on our houses originated in Europe. In the middle ages, people would put candles in their windows to ward off evil spirits. As electric lights became more popular, people started using them for the same purpose. Nowadays, we continue to hang lights on our houses as a way to decorate for Christmas and spread holiday cheer!

Displays Got Bigger & Bigger Each Year

As the years went on, people started to get more creative with their Christmas light displays. Some houses became known for their impressive displays, which often included thousands of lights. These displays would take weeks or even months to put up.

Nowadays, you can find all sorts of different types of Christmas lights. From led lights to solar-powered lights, there are endless possibilities for how you can decorate your home for the holidays! No matter what type of lights you choose, one thing is for sure: Christmas lights are here to stay!

Professional Christmas Lighting Services

While putting up your own Christmas lights can be a fun activity, it can also be time-consuming and dangerous. If you don’t feel comfortable putting up your own lights, there are plenty of professional lighting services that can do it for you! Instead of risking a trip to the emergency room this holiday season, holiday lighting services can put all your joy on display for you!

No matter how you choose to decorate for the holidays, we hope you have a fun and safe holiday season! Merry Christmas!

RJ Frometa
Author: RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.
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