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From Candles to Computers: A Brief History of Christmas Lights

It is difficult to talk about Christmas traditions without mentioning lights. Perhaps almost as difficult as it is to untangle the strings of bulbs that come out of your attic every December (or November if you are one of the more enthusiastic celebrators). However you might be surprised to learn that Christmas lights actually pre-date electricity. Long before the invention of the electric lightbulb, Christmas trees were glowing, and sometimes a little more than their owners intended. In England and Germany during the early 1800s, trees were decorated with wax candles attached to branches. As one might imagine, an open flame near dried-out wood inside the home did not make for the safest environment—a problem that was often remedied by simply placing buckets of sand and water around the tree to extinguish the occasional fire.

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