A Walk Through America's Brightest Tradition A history of christmas lights // by Jazzmyn Roman

It's hard to imagine the holiday season without bright and colorful lights everywhere. Some people even hang Christmas lights in their bedroom year round. However, things haven't always been this way. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the tradition of hanging Christmas lights didn't officially come around until the early 1880's.

Inventor Edward Hibberd Johnson hired a young Thomas Edison to work with him on his inventions. Johnson was so impressed with Edison's work that when Edison left to make his own company, Johnson went with him.

One day in the Edison shop, Johnson was putting up the Christmas tree in the street window. Up until this time Christmas trees had been lit by candles, but Johnson was struck with an idea that was much more creative and less of a fire hazard.

Johnson took 80 red, white and blue lightbulbs and strung them around the tree. Since electricity wasn't commonly used everywhere and was very expensive, passers-by were mesmerized by his creation. A Detroit writer named W.A Croffut even wrote a report about the tree.

"At the rear of the beautiful parlors, was a large Christmas tree presenting a most picturesque and uncanny aspect," Croffut said.

Now, according to HolidayLEDS, it is estimated that over 150 million sets of lights are sold every year in America and over 80 million houses are decorated with them.

Christmas lights are the perfect thing to get people into the holiday spirit. Sophomore Anastasia Paulino puts up Christmas lights every year.

"I don't really think it's important or a necessity, but I think they are pretty fun to hang up," Paulino said.

Even though Paulino doesn't think they're the most important thing, she does think it helps bring about holiday cheer.

There are plenty of traditions and festivities for everyone, no matter what holiday one celebrates. Whether it's lit by a menorah or Christmas lights, may everyone's holiday season be merry and bright.


Created with images by Jamie Davies - "Christmas on Regent Street" • Madison Kaminski - "Christmas Lights" • Kevin Fitzgerald - "Bokeh Lights 2.0" • freestocks.org - "untitled image" • Samueles - "bokeh red bokeh effect"

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