The beginning of Christmas lites ~
In 1882, an associate of Thomas Edison, electrically lit a Christmas tree for the first time.
In 1903, the first set of lights for a Christmas tree were offered to the public by General Electric.
In 1906, about the first time figural Christmas lights were introduced to the United States, imported from Austria and Germany.
In 1910, General Electric begins to change the shape of their Christmas lamps from traditional pear shape to perfectly round.
A full timeline (1800 ~ 1970) and history of Christmas lights are available at this great site.
I don't have alot of memories of my stepfather putting up outdoor Christmas lites, my memories mainly consist of interior decorating. I know he did put lites up, I just don't remember seeing him actually doing it.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
As a child and well into the 70's, I remember the sort of lites that were used: a C 7 or C 9 lamp, the NOMAS or MAZDAS famous bubble lites in bright colors. These would be the ones that my stepfather put up as well as others in our neighborhood. Kids use to steal them because they would pop when thrown on the ground!
I know that these lites were also used on Christmas trees as well, in fact, my father-in-law still has a set of these lites that he uses on the tree every year! He is very old fashion and loves his lites. Each time I see them, it's a flashback in time! Christmas lites have certainly come a long way.
Currently and reluctantly, my husband does put our outdoor lights up. He waits until the last minute too! We use the icicle lites and they really do look pretty. Our neighbors put up their lites so our cul-de-sac is very well lit.
Each year, we take a drive with our grand kids to a neighborhood known as Jingle Bell Hill in El Cajon that goes all out! It is absolutely beautiful. In Chula Vista we use to have Candy Cane Lane, now replaced with Christmas Circle. I do love outdoor Christmas lites, this year, I am bugging hubby to put ours up earlier than usual. I of course always have my Christmas wreath on the front door.