Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Lights

I recently learned that the tradition of putting lights--candles actually--on Christmas trees began in the middle of the 17th century in Germany. The candles were attached to the ends of tree branches with wax and since this was before the invention of electricity, people didn't usually put up their trees until December 24 because of the risk of fire. Did you know that the very first Christmas tree with electric lights (the size of walnuts!) was lit in 1882 by the vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company at his home in New York? 



In 1895, President Grover Cleveland proudly sponsored the first electrically lit Christmas tree in the White House, featuring more than a hundred multicolored lights. By 1900, stores began stringing up Christmas lights behind their windows to attract customers. It wasn't until the 1930s that electric Christmas lights became a popular tradition for Americans to use in decorating. Now it's almost become something of an art form in our society.


Last week we went into the city for dinner and drove past a neighborhood on the north side of Chicago where the houses are lavishly decorated with Christmas lights. We used to take the kids there every year when they were young, play Christmas music in the car and oooh and aaahh over all the displays. This year the kids were busy, but we decided to take a side trip on the way home and drive through the area anyway, for old times' sake. You could tell we were in a recession--there were fewer houses with lights and the ones that did have them were a little less elaborate than usual. But it brought back a lot of memories and reminded me of how much I loved Christmas lights growing up.



The treehouse below contained moving elves, snowmen and Mr & Mrs Santa, waving





Nothing like Christmas lights to really get you into the spirit of things.









That thing on the right is a revolving carousel with reindeer.





Keep in mind I was in a moving car. . . .

We have a few lights at our house--not a lot and not lavish, but I'm pretty grateful I was able to convince my husband to put  up any at all, LOL. They're for the kids, you know . . . .



Helps get my daughter into the mood to do some baking!





Have a deLIGHTful Christmas!

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