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Christmas Lights

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All About Holiday Lights

Although it may be hard to imagine a time when trees, houses, and buildings weren't adorned with lights during the holiday season, the tradition of Christmas lights is a fairly recent one. Learn more about how it got started and how it's evolved.

How It All Got Started

Known as the Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights, Edward Johnson is credited with starting the tradition in 1882. Johnson, who was vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company at the time, had 80 red, white, and blue electric incandescent light bulbs custom-made for his Christmas tree.

After a Detroit newspaper reported the story, businesses began to follow Johnson's lead and began adorning their windows with white Christmas lights. In 1895, President Grover Cleveland had an electrically lit Christmas tree put up for the first time, which only seemed to increase the already-growing popularity of decorating with Christmas lights.

Finding More Decorating Uses

As the popularity of outdoor Christmas lights grew, so did the number of decorating ideas. By the early 1900s, they were no longer restricted to just Christmas trees and windows. They were beginning to be used to decorate buildings, homes, and outdoor Christmas trees and Christmas light displays.

Since then creating and implementing outdoor Christmas displays has been taken to a whole new level and has even become a commercial industry. The commercial Christmas lights themselves have evolved to help make this happen.