As the holiday season is upon us, it's always enjoyable to ride around the towns looking at the beautiful display of lights around neighbors' homes. Do you hang lights from your rooftops, outdoor trees and bushes, project light stencils on your house, line your driveways and walkways with candy canes or lanterns of various kinds, synchronize lights with music, keep it simple with lighted favorites, collect blow up characters, or compete for the next Griswold award? When and how did these glorious lighted creations begin?
Although we see lights of all shapes, sizes, and colors, it all began with the traditional Christmas tree. The Christmas tree dates back to the Middle ages were people began the tradition of placing real candles on the trees attached by melted wax. Imagine how pretty their flickering flames would be, but how dangerous this would be at the same time! Later, the help prevent some of the fires from wax melting and candles falling into the branches, little holders were clipped to the branches holding the candles upright. Of course, a lighted flame near a woody tree was always a predictable danger either way. Thankfully, with Thomas Edison's invention of electricity, a friend of his named Edward Johnson introduced the idea of colored lights on trees. Although, a very expensive start to this new tradition, it allowed only the weathly to indulge in this delight until President Grover Cleveland's White House Christmas tree showed America a colorful lighted tree. Afterwards, American families wanted the same for their family trees. These lights looked very much like a beaded string similar to a necklace of lights.
We need to thank a teenage boy, named Albert Sadacca and his family's lighting company for the creation of the lights we know today. In the early 1900's, he began making white lights that were affordable to families and then adding color lights to his sales becoming one of the best known suppliers of Christmas lighting. When you come across lights similiar to the lights of this time in antique stores, you will notice that the bulbs were painted in colors and the lights showed through the colors. Sadacca's company became to be known as NOMA.
Other electric companies, such as General Electric began improving the lighting technology and materials used to improve use and safety. Lights today are in a variety of shapes and sizes, they blink, twinkle and change color to the most recent automatic synchronization with the touch of button to your favorite holiday tunes. You can hang balls of lights from trees, stand moving reindeer in your yards, create archways, place solar candles in your windows, hang icicles from your gutters, and turn your houses in the designed gingerbread like masterpieces!
Besides the decorations of our homes, many states have festival of light celebrations to begin in the Holiday season. In Levenworth, Wa, a festival runs each weekend in December with entertainment and lights. Charleston, SC exhibits over 700 artistic displays for two months. Riverside, Ca, between Thanksgiving and New Year's dazzles guests with North Pole entertainment. Moving across the midwest, check out The Festival of Lights in East Peoria, IL. The event begins with a parade of floats made entirely of lighted structures ending in Folepi's Winter Wonderland allowing vistors to cruise through the lighted creations. Traveling to the east coast, St. Augustine's Night of the Lights attracts guest to the area for shopping.
Comment below and tell about your town's lighted festivities or how you decorate your house, apartment, car, husband, dog, etc... One more question-- do you prefer all white lights or all colorful lights...or both?