Celebrated every year on December 1, the National Christmas Lights Day is all about honoring Christmas lights. Electric ones were first displayed in the 1880s.
Some say Edison was the first, when he strung them all over the outside of his Menlo Park laboratory, but others say Edward H. Johnson, Edison’s friend and partner in the Edison’s Illumination Company and inventor of the first practical incandescent light bulb, put the very first string of electric Christmas tree lights together in 1882, when he hand-wired 80 red, white and blue light bulbs and wound them around his Christmas tree in his New York City home.
Whoever was first, the tradition continued, if slowly at first. Since people were initially distrustful of electricity, it took another several decades for the invention to catch on. It wasn’t until 1903, when General Electric began selling pre-assembled kits of Christmas lights, that electric lights became truly popular. Today, electric lights are an integral part of the winter holiday season.
National Christmas Lights Day is all about encouraging people to put up or organize Christmas lights inside and outside their houses.
One more note in history: The American White House first used the electric Christmas tree in 1895. By the mid 20th century, a few electric Christmas trees were spotted on prominent public spots, however, even at that time this wasn’t done on a large scale as most of the people couldn’t afford Christmas lights or the electric Christmas trees. It wasn’t until the 1960s that Christmas lights became popular with people of all classes when there was large-scale production of Christmas lights, and “electric Christmas trees” began appearing on public buildings and along streets, and the exteriors of homes began to be decorated by owners on a large scale.
For more information and ideas about celebrating National Christmas Lights Day, and for a look at the best celebration ideas and activities to observe this holiday, click HERE.