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News Link • History

A Brief History of Christmas Lights

•, By Heidi Davis
 18th Century
If you thought stringing popcorn for hours could get tedious, imagine fumbling around trying to attach a multitude of lit candles to a tree using melted wax or pins. Revelers eager to keep their holiday spirits bright needed to keep a bucket of water or sand close by. A few erstwhile inventors tried to figure out the best way to do this safely, including clip-on candleholders with an attached tin cup to catch the melted wax. Despite the dangers of mixing open flame with drying-out trees, candles would remain a Christmas staple into the early 20th century.
Shortly after the Illustrated London News ran a picture of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert gathered around a lit Christmas tree with their children, British society embraced the tradition. Strangely, in 1850 an altered depiction of the Royal Christmas ran in the influential Godey's Lady's Book—removing such details as the Queen's tiara and Prince Albert's mustache—where it gained popularity in the States as the first "influential American Christmas tree."

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