Why Do We Put up Christmas Lights?

Christmas LightsWhen Christmastime comes, people raid their stashes of holiday décor. In those storage bins, there are the usual suspects: Christmas balls, cherubim, garlands, and the like. But, common as they may be, these types of décor come and go. All of them, except for Christmas lights. It’s due to this reason that Roof to Deck Decoration and their counterparts are in business.

Still, one can’t help but wonder: why do we put them up during Christmastime, and why are we so enamored with them year after year?

Everything Was Originally for Practical Reasons

Christmas as we know it was originally known as Yule time by historical Germanic people back in the 12th Century. Back then, people would be plunged into darkness and cold whenever December comes, since it’s the darkest month of the year (not to mention one when the least amount of sunlight shines).

It was a winter night in 1184 when the first recorded lighting of the Yule Log occurred. It was done as a symbolic gesture; the light from the burning log signifying the sun’s promise to return. The practice is, in some ways, an ode to the modern tradition of lights and Christmas trees being put up side by side during Christmas.

A Christian Missionary’s (Supposed) Inspiration and Intervention

The Ancient Romans were among the first people to decorate trees for special holidays. Christians gradually embraced the practice over time. According to legend, Martin Luther, a Protestant reformer, was the first one to come up with the idea of putting up lights on the trees.

It is said that he was inspired while walking home one night. During his trek, he saw stars twinkling through trees as he passed by, and he was in awe at the sight. Once he got home, he erected a tree and then put lit candles on it in an attempt to share what he saw with his family. It was, however, a risky endeavor — the candles could only stay lit for short periods of time, and people would literally watch them with buckets of water nearby (in case something goes terribly wrong).

Down the line, an inventor by the name of Thomas Edison tried to cash in on the tradition after having patented his light bulb. This was in 1900, and the biggest surge in the demand for Christmas lights further soared in the 1920s that a business consortium was erected to handle it. It was called the NOMA Electric Corporation, and it was formed in 1925. Back then, NOMA was the largest Christmas light manufacturer in the world.

Since then, the rest, they say, is history.