Christmas lights and decorations on the Christmas tree are an important part of the symbolism of this special season. Traditionally, the Christmas lights and decorations symbolize ones faith as they adorn the Christmas tree or other features of the home.
For example the Christmas lights, in the Christian faith, represent their founder Jesus Christ who proclaimed that he was the light of the world. In addition, the decorations symbolize the Christians faith such as stars, angels, representation from the manger scene, etc. In addition the decorations can represent the unity of a family as depicted through the use of school picture ornaments, school artwork, stringing of popcorn, paper chains, etc.
The history of Christmas lights and decorations dates back many centuries. Martin Luther is often attributed with providing the first illumination on the Christmas tree through the attachment of candles to the branches. Tradition shares with us that this action by Martin Luther was taken to teach his children about his savior being the light of the world.
In addition, there are many beliefs, from various belief systems, that attribute the decoration of the tree and other parts of the home to symbolize good luck and the warding off of evil spirits. For example the placing of holly and mistletoe over the doorway was a practice initiated by the Druids to ward off evil spirits.
Therefore, the history of Christmas lights and decorations is a combination of many religions and belief systems. The use of Christmas lights and decorations can represent a variety of different cultures, religions and individual expressions of ones own spirituality.
Different Types of Lights and Decorations
The Christmas lights and decorations, as it is with all things, evolved. With the advent of the light bulb, miniaturized versions, in various colored glass, soon found themselves attached to the tree limbs and served as decorations. Some of the first strings of lights had a screw in base and were roughly one and one-half inches length. These early style Christmas lights often tried the patience of those who trimmed their tree with this system. This was due to the fact that once one light went out all of the lights went out. This meant that in order to activate all the lights the individual bulb, that had malfunctioned, needed to be located.
Then, the silver aluminum tree appeared in homes. Often the Christmas lights and decorations that were used to trim this tree were simple in nature. That simplicity was captured through ornaments placed on the tree that were in one color and the lighting was focused on the tree from a flood lamp. The high intensity wattage of the flood lamp was radiated through a revolving multicolored plastic wheel.
Down through the years Christmas lights and decorations have continued to evolve. This evolutionary process has taken decorative lighting into fiber optics, running lights and twinkling lights. In addition, Christmas lights and decorations have been combined in that the ornament itself is constructed with miniature size bulbs which allows for the design of the ornament to light up. These ornamental designs take on the appearance of snowmen, candy canes and other holiday designs associated with the Christmas season.