Dec 04, 2018
Deck the Halls for CroppMetcalfe’s First Annual Christmas Lights Competition!
The countdown to Christmas has finally begun! Now that December is officially here, we’re ready to get into the holiday spirit.
Many common Christmas traditions we participate in today came to prominence in the 1800s. Tales like “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (widely referred to as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”) and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol introduced many beloved Christmas traditions such as hanging stockings, gift giving, and the belief in Santa Claus.
Where does the tradition of hanging Christmas lights come from?
The Christmas tree, a German tradition, was popularized in the 1840s by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. Originally, Christmas trees were decorated with candles in order to illuminate the other ornaments on display, however, this presented a dangerous risk of house fires. Christmas lights as we know them today can be attributed to Thomas Edison and his colleague Edward Hibberd Johnson.
In the late 1800s, Johnson hand-wired 80 red, white and blue light bulbs and strung them together around a Christmas tree on display in the window of Edison’s shop parlor, using a generator to power the lights.
According to reporter W.A. Croffut of the Detroit Post and Tribune, “At the rear of the beautiful parlors, was a large Christmas tree presenting a most picturesque and uncanny aspect… It was brilliantly lighted with eighty lights in all encased in these dainty glass eggs, and about equally divided between white, red and blue… One can hardly imagine anything prettier.”
Since electricity wasn’t easily accessible at the time, Johnson’s lights were fairly expensive — a string of 16 light bulbs cost $12 in 1900, equivalent to about $360 today. However, by 1914, the cost had dropped to just $1.75 for the same string of 16 bulbs.
As demand for electric Christmas lights continued to grow, new styles and colors emerged throughout the 1930s and 40s. The practice of hanging outdoor Christmas lights in the U.S. began in the 1960s with the rise of tract housing, since the design of the eaves made it easy for homeowners to line their roofs with strings of lights. Weatherproof Christmas lights were soon mass-produced, encouraging homeowners to add more lights to their home holiday displays.
Show Off Your Holiday Spirit
We want to see how you’re getting into the Christmas spirit this year. CroppMetcalfe is looking for the most creative outdoor holiday displays in Fauquier County! Our Christmas Lights Competition is running from December 1st through December 19th. Official judging will take place on December 20th and the grand prize winner will be announced on December 21st.
Each contestant will receive a CroppMetcalfe Christmas ornament, and the grand prize winner will receive a $200 VISA gift card and a free CroppMetcalfe Electrical Preferred Service Policy for one year.
All submissions (photos or videos) must be entered by December 19th. No late entries will be accepted! Click here to enter. If you have any questions, please call 540-347-3024 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy holidays, everyone!