We were driving around last night, looking at the Christmas lights on all the houses, and I realized that I had no idea how that tradition started. So, I looked it up!
Here’s what I found out:
- First, people had to trust electricity. So even though Edison created the lightbulb (and a few years later, he put small bulbs around his own Christmas tree), people still didn’t want to string up potentially dangerous lights all over the place. So, he made a big display around his compound for all to see.
- Basically, he just wanted to sell lightbulbs.
- In the 1800s, people would attach candles to trees - dating back to pre-colonial times and in Europe - but eventually insurance companies wouldn’t cover the costs of damages.
- BAM. Electric bulbs on trees. It didn’t hurt that President Cleveland decorated a Christmas tree in the late 1800s and everyone took notice.
- As Christmas lights were made cheaper and safer in the 20th century, more and more households decorated trees and their homes.