The Not-So-Romantic History of Christmas Lights

Dec 19, 2013

Christmas LightsYou’d think that the tradition of decorating your landscape in hundreds of multicolored Christmas lights may have a history in a not so tacky tradition, but no. Christmas lights originated from a place that was just as tacky as they are today.

Thomas Edison was known for his shock-and-awe presentation of his light bulbs and electricity. Once, he electrified an elephant! In 1880, his presentation was not so gruesome, it was a display of outdoor mini-lights at his Menlo Park laboratory compound for Christmas time. He planned the display so that commuters on the nearby railway could witness his Christmas miracle.

The tradition of lighting up the home and landscape didn’t start for aesthetics, it started out of necessity. Can you imagine being stuck inside in December, during the shortest days and coldest nights of the year, with no central heat or electricity? That’s where the tradition of the Yule Log came into being, as both a symbol that the sun would soon return, and not a bad source of heat either.

From here evolved the tradition of putting candles into Christmas trees – and we all know how badly that can turn out. Thankfully Thomas Edison had the patent rights to Edison’s bulbs purchased by General Electric. Then, the first strings of Christmas lights were created, which at the time sold for around $12/string – equivalent to $300 in today’s dollars!

Throughout the years, thankfully lights have evolved into much safer versions of Edison’s miniature lamps and their prices have dropped down to around $2.95/box making the extreme Griswald light displays something that everyone can afford.

Now, not only can everyone afford to have a Christmas light display, everyone can have one too! Just call Three Brothers Painting in Woodstock, GA for us to come install or remove your Christmas lights this holiday season! 

Img via Flickr.

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