National Christmas Lights Day

Family standing outside their home in a winter wonderland, adorned with colorful Christmas lights and wearing cozy winter outfits. Snow-covered trees in the background..
National christmas lights day illustration

Hey there, folks! Get ready to have your holiday spirit dazzled because today we are diving into the enchanting world of National Christmas Lights Day!

When is Christmas Lights Day?

It's national christmas lights day on the 1st December.

The Sparkling Origins

Picture this: It's December, the air is crisp, and the streets are lined with shimmering lights. Ah, the beauty of Christmas lights! But have you ever wondered where it all began? Well, National Christmas Lights Day is the perfect time to shed some light on the subject (pun intended).

The tradition of hanging lights during the holiday season dates back to the 17th century in Germany, where people used candles to illuminate Christmas trees. Talk about living life on the edge! These early adopters were clearly fearless adventurers in the art of holiday decorating. Thankfully, things have come a long way since then, and in modern times, we have the joy of safely adorning our homes and neighborhoods with colorful lights.

Now, let's fast forward to the magical world of the internet. National Christmas Lights Day has become a delightful online phenomenon that celebrates our love for all things twinkly. On this day, people take to their social media accounts to showcase their incredible light displays, share creative ideas, and spread holiday cheer. It's like a virtual winter wonderland at the click of a button!

Light Up Your Celebrations

So, how can you make the most of National Christmas Lights Day? Let's shed some light on that question! First and foremost, it's the perfect opportunity to gather your loved ones, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and embark on a magical journey through your local neighborhood to admire the dazzling light displays. It's like taking a festive, glowing safari!

If you're feeling extra creative, why not channel your inner Clark Griswold (from 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation') and adorn your own home with lights that can be seen from space? Just remember to keep safety in mind and avoid any impromptu visits from the fire department – no one wants that as part of their holiday tradition!

And let's not forget the incredible sense of community that National Christmas Lights Day brings. You can organize a friendly competition among your neighbors to see who can create the most magical display. Whether it's a spirited rivalry or a collaborative effort, the result will be a neighborhood transformed into a real-life winter wonderland.

A Flash of Fun Fact

Did you know that there is a festive home in New York that puts on a jaw-dropping light display every year? Known as the 'Dyker Heights Christmas Lights' in Brooklyn, this neighborhood boasts extravagant decorations that attract visitors from near and far. It's like stepping into a real-life Santa's workshop!

History behind the term 'Christmas Lights'


The First Electrically Lit Christmas Tree

In 1882, Edward H. Johnson, a close associate of Thomas Edison and vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company, created the first electrically lit Christmas tree. He hand-wired 80 red, white, and blue electric incandescent light bulbs and arranged them around a rotating tree stand at his home in New York City. This marked the birth of the modern Christmas lights tradition.


The Invention of Electric Incandescent Lights

The history of Christmas lights begins in 1879 when Thomas Edison and his team invented the first practical incandescent light bulb. This revolutionary invention allowed people to brighten their homes with artificial electric light, replacing the traditional methods of oil lamps and candles.


The First Christmas Light Display

In 1882, Edward H. Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison, became the first person to decorate a Christmas tree with electric lights. He displayed this stunning spectacle of 80 red, white, and blue bulbs in his New York City home, captivating both neighbors and passersby.


The First Christmas Tree Illuminated with Electric Lights

In 1882, Edward H. Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison, decorated a Christmas tree in his New York home with the world's first string of electric Christmas lights. He hand-wired 80 red, white, and blue incandescent bulbs and displayed them for his friends and neighbors to enjoy. This event marked the birth of the Christmas lights tradition.


Outdoor Lighting: The Beginning

Three years after the first indoor Christmas light display, President Grover Cleveland requested that the White House be decorated with electric lights. In 1895, the White House became the first official location to showcase outdoor Christmas lights, which quickly caught the attention and admiration of the American public.


Public Display at the White House

In 1895, President Grover Cleveland introduced the electrically lit Christmas tree to the White House. The tree was adorned with hundreds of multicolored electric lights, capturing the public's attention and igniting the fascination with Christmas lights nationwide. This event significantly popularized the use of electric lights as a festive decoration.


General Electric's Christmas Lighting Department

Understanding the growing demand for Christmas lights, General Electric established a dedicated Christmas Lighting Department in 1903. GE's expansion into producing Christmas lights spurred innovation and further enhanced the availability and popularity of these vibrant and enchanting decorations.


The First National Christmas Tree Lighting

In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge initiated the first National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on the White House grounds. The event featured an electrically lit Christmas tree, becoming an annual tradition that symbolized the joy and celebration of Christmas for the entire nation.


Safety Improvements: Parallel Wiring and Fuses

By 1895, improvements in electrical technology made Christmas lights more accessible and safer. Manufacturers began producing parallel-wired strings of lights, reducing the risk of an entire string going out if one bulb burned out. Moreover, safety measures like incorporating fuses in the plug prevented electrical overloads and reduced fire hazards.


General Electric Mass Produces Christmas Lights

In 1903, General Electric began mass-producing pre-wired strings of Christmas lights. This made electric Christmas lights more affordable and widespread, allowing people from various backgrounds to join in the festive tradition. Over time, designs and color options expanded, offering greater decorative possibilities.


Outdoor Decorations Gain Popularity

As technology advanced and the popularity of Christmas lights grew, more and more American households began to decorate their homes, gardens, and trees with colorful displays. By 1927, outdoor Christmas light displays had become a widespread phenomenon, creating a festive and joyful ambiance throughout neighborhoods.


Outdoor Lighting and String Lights

In 1917, the first commercially-produced outdoor Christmas lights and string lights became available for purchase. The convenience of string lights with multiple bulbs revolutionized the way people decorated their homes and trees. These early innovations laid the foundation for the stunning outdoor Christmas light displays we see today.


Outdoor Christmas Light Displays Gain Popularity

During the 1930s, outdoor Christmas light displays became increasingly popular. Communities and neighborhoods started synchronizing their decorations, creating stunning exhibits that attracted visitors from all around. This trend contributed to the development of elaborate light shows and the notion of 'Christmas cheer' associated with bright and colorful displays.


The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City has become one of the most iconic holiday traditions worldwide. Since 1933, the majestic tree has been adorned with sparkling Christmas lights, dazzling millions of visitors each year and symbolizing the start of the holiday season.


Bubble Lights and Animated Decorations

The 1960s witnessed the rise of novelty Christmas lights, including bubble lights and animated decorations. Bubble lights contained a liquid-filled tube that bubbled when heated, creating a mesmerizing effect. Animated decorations incorporated moving parts and illuminated characters, adding an extra element of wonder to Christmas light displays.


The Advent of LED Lights

The 1980s brought about a major advancement in Christmas lighting technology with the introduction of LED lights. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) revolutionized the industry by offering energy-efficient, long-lasting, and brighter illumination. LED Christmas lights gradually replaced traditional incandescent bulbs on trees, decorations, and festive displays.


Miniature Bulbs and Twinkling Lights

The 1960s introduced miniature Christmas light bulbs and twinkling light options. Miniature lights were smaller and more energy-efficient, allowing for intricate designs and versatile applications. Twinkling lights added an extra level of dazzle by creating the illusion of movement in the decorations, enhancing the magical ambiance of Christmas displays.


LED Christmas Lights

In the 1980s, the invention of energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) Christmas lights revolutionized the industry. LEDs consume less electricity, have a longer lifespan, and offer a wide range of colors. The introduction of LED Christmas lights marked a significant shift towards sustainability, while still providing dazzling and vibrant displays.


LED Lights Revolutionize Christmas Decorations

In the 1990s, LED (light-emitting diode) technology emerged as a game-changer in the world of Christmas lights. LED lights consume significantly less energy, have a longer lifespan, and offer vibrant color options. They are also cooler to the touch, making them safer for both indoor and outdoor use. LED lights have become the preferred choice for eco-conscious individuals and enthusiasts looking to create stunning, energy-efficient displays.

Present Day

Diverse Lighting Styles and Innovations

Today, Christmas lights have evolved into an art form, with a wide variety of styles, colors, and lighting effects available. From classic multi-colored string lights to synchronized musical displays, homeowners and communities embrace the creative possibilities of Christmas lighting. Advances in technology continue to drive innovations, enabling increased customization, energy efficiency, and even app-controlled lighting setups.

Did you know?

Did you know that there is a festive home in New York that puts on a jaw-dropping light display every year? Known as the 'Dyker Heights Christmas Lights' in Brooklyn, this neighborhood boasts extravagant decorations that attract visitors from near and far. It's like stepping into a real-life Santa's workshop!


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First identified

1st December 2015

Most mentioned on

1st December 2020

Total mentions


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