Christmas LightsPosted on September 21, 2010
Imagine that you are standing in front of a lit candle, the atmosphere would be tranquil and still and you would most probably be feeling calm within. Now imagine that you are standing in front of a million different coloured and flashing lights adorning a home or office building. How would you feel now? I’m sure that your whole being would tend to light up inside as well and I bet that you would have a look of amazement or at least have a huge smile on your face.
Using lights to decorate Christmas trees, homes and buildings has been around for eons and can be dated back to pre-Christianity times. In 1483AD Germany started the tradition of illuminating Christmas trees with candles. During Queen Victoria’s reign this tradition was adopted by the United Kingdom and thereafter spread to North America and Australia. During these times the trees were adorned with candles and sugar ornaments and presents were placed underneath the trees (a tradition enjoyed by most to this day).
In 1882 the first electrically powered lights were used and were called fairy lights. At the same time Edward H. Johnson created the first electrically illuminated Christmas tree by using hand-wired and custom made light bulbs. Forty eight years later the Xmas lights finally started to replace candles as the decoration of choice as its popularity grew and it became more affordable for the general public to purchase and use.
This lead to an explosion of lighting competitions between businesses (who could afford the cost of using hundreds of lights to decorate their office buildings) and by the mid 1950’s the Christmas light fever started engulfing households and the now-popular light display competitions began in earnest.
With the advancement in technology came various types of Christmas lights. The change from incandescent light bulbs to light-emitting diodes (LED) proved very popular as they are more energy efficient. Taking one step further and these now have a solar powered option which help to reduce carbon emissions and are ecofriendly. Fibre optic lights offer a new take on the fairy lights allowing for transcendent illumination when decorating the Xmas tree or brightening up the home both indoors and outdoors.
All of these lights have been used to decorate buildings but they started off being used on metal wired frames to create light sculptures. One of my fondest memories when I was younger was when my Grandparents would drive around the city at Christmas time and they allowed me to stick my head outside the window so that I could marvel at the sculptures adorning the lampposts and traffic lights. These days the sculptures have become really “fancy”, they sport 3D designs of angels, snowmen, reindeers and Santa’s with motorised parts moving “body-sized” limbs to the jingle of Christmas music.
I look forward to the days when technology can go a step further and the lights will be able to change into any object that our hearts desire with just the touch of a button.
Christmasallyear.com.au is an on-line shop that aims to be a category killer on both price and quality.
Westminster Christmas also has a retail store at Shop 1, 610 Canterbury Road, Vermont, Victoria, 3133. This store is open July to December and may be contacted on (03) 9872 6455.
The head office and warehouse of Westminster Christmas Pty. Ltd. is located at Factory 6, Brock Industrial Drive, 1 Melba Avenue, Lilydale, Vic, 3140
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