Merry and bright © David Milsen/Alamy
Germans began decorating Christmas trees with candles as far back as the 1700s, but people wouldn"t begin stringing trees with electric lights until the late 1800s. Thomas Edison created the first practical incandescent lights and used them to decorate his Menlo Park laboratory for Christmas in 1880. Then three years later, the vice president of Edison"s company, Edward H. Johnson, had Christmas tree bulbs especially made, which he used to decorate the tree in his New York City home. Nevertheless, electric lights didn’t catch on as a holiday decoration among the general public until 1895, when President Grover Cleveland asked that the White House Christmas tree be illuminated by hundreds of multicolored electric bulbs.