This beautiful Christmas tradition is something that many Americans look forward to viewing. Whether you decorate your house to make Clark Griswold jealous or you just like to view beautifully decorated houses, there is no mistaking that decorating with Christmas lights is a phenomenon. But how did this all start? What is Christmas Light history?
We all know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but did you know he was also the creator of the Christmas light? By 1880, Thomas Edison had the incandescent light bulb figured out. He needed a way to advertise them, so he devised a marketing trick – that Christmas he decided to string them around his Menlo Park laboratory so that commuters on the passing train would see them. He made it even trickier by powering them with a remote generator that was eight miles away.
Two years later, one of Edison’s scientists, Edward Johnson, displayed the first electrically lighted Christmas tree in his home in Manhattan. Until then, Christmas trees were lit by candles. This was obviously an unsafe tradition. In 1895, President Grover Cleveland lit a Christmas tree at the White House with strings of lights, bringing attention to the tradition. It became so popular that the largest Christmas tree light distributor, NOMA, survived through the Great Depression even though the cost was about $300 per lit tree, which is about $2,000 today.