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Illuminating facts about Christmas lights

December 6th, 2022

Illuminating facts about Christmas lights

Christmas lights are used in an estimated 80 million homes each year and account for approximately 6% of the nation’s electricity use in December.

  • Thomas Edison created the first electric Christmas lighting display at his Menlo Park Laboratory in New Jersey in 1880. Beforeelectric Christmas lights, families would use candles in their trees, causing fire hazards.
  • Edison’s colleague, Edward Johnson, had the first Christmas tree decorated with red, white and blue blinking electric lights in 1882.
  • In 1885, President Grover Cleveland used electric Christmas lights to decorate the White House tree. However, due to a mistrust of electricity, it would take nearly 40 years for electric Christmas lights to become an accepted holiday tradition.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights weren’t safe for use or widely available until 1927. General Electric held neighborhood lighting contests to increase sales.
  • The Gay Family of LaGrangeville, New York, holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Lights on a Residential Property” with 601,736 lights. The display spans 2 acres and takes two months to set up.
  • Incandescent Christmas lights are recyclable. Light strands contain plastic, glass, copper and other materials, which can be harmful to the environment and could sit in a landfill for years. Drop off your old Christmas lights at your local Goodwill or participating Lowe’s home improvement stores.
  • LED holiday lights use about 80% less energy than the incandescent variety. Use a smart power strip with a timer so that lights can be turned off while you’re away from home or sleeping.
  • In 2014, the White House Christmas tree got a digital upgrade. Girls from all 50 states, participating in Google’s Made with Code program, used computer code to light up and control the colors and patterns of the national tree and their home state’s trees.

Sources:, and

Illuminating facts about Christmas lights

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