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Let There Be (Christmas) Lights!



Thomas Edison created the light bulb, and his innovation lit the way for an even more colorful creation by his business partner: Christmas tree lights.

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‘Tis The Season For Lights

Shortly after presenting his electric incandescent bulbs, Thomas Edison adorned his lab with a strands of lights during the Christmas season.

In 1882, his partner, looking for a safer alternative to candles, which caused fires, built his own set of electric lights for his Christmas tree, but due to fears about cost & safety, it took years for the trend to spread.

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Lighting The Way Forward

  • 1882: Edward Johnson, Edison’s partner, decorated his Christmas tree with a strand of 80 red, white and blue electric lights.
  • 1895: The White House tree used electric lights for the first time.
  • 1903: Ready-to-use Christmas light sets first went on sale (est. cost $350 in today’s dollars).
  • 1930s: X-mas light sets became widely available to buy or rent.
Now You Know

Today, it's estimated the more than 150 million sets of lights are sold each year as part of the more than $6 billion dollars Americans spend on Christmas decorations annually.

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