The History of Christmas Lights…untangled!

November 19, 2018
Dave Wyman

The History of Christmas Lights…untangled!

Every winter, millions of individuals across America drive around to look at Christmas lights. So it got us thinking: what started the craze?

The 19th century was a turning point in consumerism. People wanted to put the dark-ages of war behind them, so instead they shopped, drank merry juices and, for the most part, they were open to new ideas as art and literature became more advanced. “A Visit From St. Nicholas” was published in 1823.

history of christmas lights

It all seems to have started in 1882. People’s spirits got a whole lot “brighter” when Edward H. Johnson and Thomas Edison strung 80 red, white and blue lights bulbs on a small evergreen. The whole thing rotated six times per minute on a revolving pedestal that was powered by a generator. After that, it became tradition.

The lights around Johnson and Edison’s evergreen represent the era of wondrous yet mysterious new things that the 19th century brought forth. Before the red, white and blue lights, people put candles around the Christmas tree (yikes!) These lights were just a stepping stone. To say the least, individuals were amazed at the new invention, and of course they all wanted to be a part of the new craze. From these first Christmas lights, there was much money to be made and it’s safe to say that the European nation pitched in to advance electricity.

The SmithsonianMag says that 150 million light sets are sold in America each year. They light up 80 million homes and contribute to 6% of the nations electric load consumption in December. We can’t help but think that the roots of our ancestors helped Americans keep this wonderful tradition alive for the past couple of centuries. So whether it is in our roots or not, one thing is clear: Christmas lights bring joy to everyone near.

Ready to start a holiday lighting tradition of your own?

Learn more about our Omaha holiday lighting services here. Ready to get on our schedule? Contact Dave today to start discussing your holiday light display and to get on our schedule. We have just a few spots available for new holiday lights installations. Contact us today before our remaining spots fill up!

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