This post is a brief history of Christmas lights, chronology taken from Christmas: A Very Peculiar History by Fiona MacDonald. Photos, as always, by me.
Macy’s department store in New York, USA, pioneered special Christmas window displays in the 1870s.
Edward H. Johnson, of Edison Electric Light Company, USA, was the first to decorate his tree with electric light bulbs, in 1882.
In 1904, Christmas lights were first used to decorate outdoor trees, but they were not yet electric.
In 1927, the first organised outdoor Christmas light displays were held in the USA, called ‘Festivals of Lights’.
In 1956, electric lights were first used to decorate outdoor Christmas trees.
Despite the relative safety of electric lights over their predecessors, the US Fire Prevention Authority reported that between 2003-7 fire-fighters were called out to around 250 Christmas tree fires every year.
Christmas light displays have become ever more spectacular over the decades but, with concerns about global energy supplies growing, perhaps their days will soon be numbered?