|Fantasy versus reality.|
|Safer than candles, though maybe not much--around 1893.|
|If one burned out, they all went out.|
|Early light strings even included Florescents.|
Though the National Outfit Manufacturers Association (NOMA) began large-scale sales of Christmas lights for home use as early as 1917, it wasn't until the 1930s that such lights became common. During the war years, rationing ended such sales and even curtailed the use of existing lights, but then with the social and economic optimism of the 1950s in the U.S., Christmas lights moved from indoor trees to those outside and from there spread over virtually every surface, nook, and cranny not likely to be trampled upon by Santa Claus. Moreover, it wasn't long before Santa himself was lit up along with Rudolph and his eight tiny reindeer friends. Christmas lights got smaller, cheaper, brighter, more dependable, and burned less electricity. Starting in the 1990s and especially in more recent years, the LED and its tiny computer cousins have added the element of time and music to such lighting extravaganzas, in which private homes often surpass business displays both in size and creativity. Entire communities (and not just big cities) began to challenge Rockefeller Center (below) for the yuletide spotlight.
|2012, Rockefeller Center, New York City|
|Christmas run amok!|