The Light's of Christmas

Perhaps my second most favorite thing about this time of the year is the lights. Have you ever thought about the history of the Christmas tree light? I never did -- until today. Sometimes a subject will fascinate me and I have to look the information up, just to know why.

Since I've been talking about all things Christmas in relation to art, I thought the lights shouldn't be left out. They bring great joy and wonder to young and old, and I love to see what people come up with every year.

What surprised me in my search was that they've been around for quite awhile -- practically since the invention of the light bulb. One version has it that they were invention by a man who worked for the telephone company and used telephone switchboard lights on a feather tree. The other version is the man who was vice-president of Edison's Electric company and how he had a lighted tree in his home in 1882. Apparently the idea didn't really catch on until they had Christmas lights in the White House in 1895.

They still weren't considered affordable by the average household until much later. Even in the early 1900's, when they were $12 a box -- it was too expensive for many.

It's amazing how things become common day and expected. No one would think of putting candles on their trees now, and pretty much everyone can afford lights on their trees.

There are also different kinds of lights...I think neon lights are an art form on their own. But what's interesting is how they continue to develop. I remember (and this will probably date me) when they first came out with icicle lights! That was a wonder to behold. Everyone had to have them -- soon all the houses had icicle lights and no one had the regular old multi-colored strings any more. sigh.

The thing is, sometimes people get carried away with the lights, and then (in my opinion) it looses it's artistic endeavors, and becomes...uh, not art? I don't want to use the wrong word -- so we'll stick with that.

Many families drive through neighborhoods to see the house decorations, the lights in the parks and the lights on Temple Square. We try to get to Temple Square every year, but we don't always make it.

For me, there's something about the glow of the lights that makes the season special. I find it interesting that people are starting to put lights up for other holidays, such as Halloween and 4th of July -- but there will always be just the one season for me; Christmas.

I let the children do the outside lights for our house, so it's not always as perfect as it could be, but they like it, and it's less stress for me. I enjoy the fact that they like to do it. It's another holiday tradition that we have.

I hope you enjoy the lights of the season.

Return to the Neighborhood.


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