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Everyone likes to see a decorated and brightly lit tree in someone抯 window. Christmas happens in the middle of winter and so people like the brightness of Christmas tree lights. Christmas tree lights stem from an old pagan tradition called the festival of lights. What we know as Christmas tree lights are strands of small electric lights that we wind around the branches of the tree. Before the invention of electricity people used candles to light up their trees. The first set of electric Christmas tree lights were invented in New York in 1882. By 1900 businesses across America had Christmas tree lights twinkling in their windows-but they were too expensive for most people and it was 1930 before they really started to take over from candles.
The electric Christmas tree lights had bulbs the size of walnuts; but these became smaller over time until we got the tiny things that we have today. Christmas tree lights were first used outside in San Diego in 1904. Some cities argue about this claiming that they were the first to decorate outdoor evergreen trees with Christmas tree lights-a town called McAdenville in North Carolina, actually made the claim as late as 1956. Certainly ordinary households did not adopt the practice of putting lights outside until the mid nineteen fifties.
After a time Christmas tree lights were not restricted to Christmas trees. Shops had them adorning the edges of their windows, and people soon began to adopt this idea. You will also find the lights around mirrors in people抯 houses and sometimes adorning mantelpieces. Some cities have illumination ceremonies and strings of lights will be hung vertically from skyscraper buildings.
Nowadays there are different types of Christmas tree lights. There are incandescent bulbs and battery powered lights. You can now buy artificial trees that have fibre optic lights that come with them. Christmas tree lights come in sets of different sizes; depending on the type of bulb used. Larger ones come in sets of twenty five and sets of incandescent mini-lights can be anything between fifty and a hundred lights on the string. The battery powered lights come in much smaller sets, usually ten to twelve at a time.
In the beginning the Christmas tree light bulbs were often shaped and painted like glass ornaments. Nowadays this type of light can only be obtained from specialist stores or over the internet. Later designs, particularly the mini-set lights sometimes came with attached plastic or glass ornaments. Mini-lights may also have ornaments and sometimes more than one light is attached to an ornament. In the United States it is quite common to see Christmas tree lights used on holidays other than Christmas-typically Halloween. Strings of clear white lights are also used for lighting up patios. Sometimes, seeing the lights at all different times tends to take away some of the magic of Christmas that the lights used to represent.

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