A Brief History of Christmas Lights on Homes

A Brief History of Christmas Lights on Homes

Today, in our blog article, we are going to take a brief look at the history of Christmas lights on homes. In order to examine lights on homes, we have to first look at lights on Christmas trees, and the history of having Christmas trees, at all.

The Christmas Tree

The ancient Egyptians decorated their homes in the winter with palm fronds. Romans transitioned to decorating with evergreen boughs during the shortest days of the year, the winter solstice, which occurs toward the end of December.

German Origin

It is believed that devout Christians in Germany began bringing trees into their homes for Christmas in mid-1500s. For those without easy access to or space for trees, they used wood structures decorated with evergreen branches.

The Lighted Tree

Next came the tradition of adding lights to trees. Martin Luther is typically credited with adding candles (lights) to Christmas trees, again, in the 16th century.


Edison invented the light bulb in 1879. Not long after, the use of electricity spread despite a common fear and distrust of it. By 1890, strings of Christmas lights were available to buy for the general public. Initially these lights were used on trees.

In early 1900, the United States, people were starting to decorate rooms and buildings with Christmas tree lights. In 1903, General Electric had strings of lights available for rent. The first strings of electric lights were not terribly safe—they were almost as much of a fire hazard as candles had been--but they improved over the next 20 years.

So, it is now over 120 years that we are using lights to decorate with for the Christmas holidays.

If you are interested in permanent exterior holiday lights, give Northern Lights a call on the Lower Mainland at (604) 357-4781. This is our area of expertise, and we are an Authorized Dealer for Gemstone Lights.

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