Spectacular Christmas Lights from Around the World

The custom of festive lighting for Christmas is a long standing tradition which has been adopted in secular fashion in various cultures throughout the world. The use of lighting displays is highly diverse, ranging from simple light strands to full-blown animated tableau of picturesque displays, involving dramatic scenes of complex illuminated animatronics and statues that would make Chevy Chase proud, with the role he played as Clark Griswold in the movie Christmas Vacation.

One of the largest homes in Boston with 250,000 lights. Homeowner Luberto hopes the lights will serve as a reminder to some 47,000 people who drive by his home each day that Christmas should be celebrated in style.

While the earliest origins of celebratory lighting during winter festivals predate Christianity, it’s the European, and later North American partly secularized traditions associated with Christmas which are now commonly recognized and enjoyed as festive Christmas Lights.

“Don’t you celebrate on your birthday?” Luberto asks. “Well, this is Jesus’ birthday. It
should be the biggest celebration of all.”

In December the town of Medellin in Colombia transforms into
a glowing hub of Christmas cheer.

The city is adorned with thousand of colorful lights and designs that attract national
and international visitors.

The tradition is over 40 years old with the lights switching on amid a big party
on December 8.

Annual displays in city centers are adored by the public and have been erected for decades. It’s a popular pastime to drive or walk around neighborhoods in the evening to see the incredibly ornate lights displayed, which can take weeks to construct.

Some have made it to the Extreme Christmas TV specials shown on HGTV, even requiring a generator or separate electrical service to supply the amount of electrical power needed to juice the thousands of lights.

The house of Alex Goodwind in Melksham, England. Goodwind starts planning his lights
in July and this year has spent £3,000 on them.

Last Christmas his electricity bill was £700 and the house had to have an upgraded electricity supply installed to cope with the additional power needed. Donations from visitors to his home have in the past raised over £2,000 for a local hospice.

 Home of John Scott in Northumberland. Rising energy costs and the credit crunch have contributed to cutbacks in seasonal Christmas light displays in homes.

And this was how John’s home looks this Christmas. He admits it’s now too expensive
to continue his annual lights display.

Barry “Mad Dog” Gottlieb organized the “Tacky Xmas Decoration Contest and Grand Highly Illuminated House Tour” with a tour of decorated homes in Richmond, Virginia in 1986. Since then, people either sign up for a tour or drive around to find houses that are the tackiest, and a growing number of cities have adopted this family Christmas tradition.

Public displays of Christmas lights play an ubiquitous role in the annual celebration of the season, utilizing lights on a broad array, including decking towering Christmas trees in public squares, street trees and park trees, adorning lampposts, decorating significant buildings such as town halls and department stores, and lighting up popular tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney Opera House.

House covered in Christmas lights in Mandaluyong City, eastern Manila.

The neighborhood decided to make their celebration more festive by decorating their houses
with lights.

It has now become a tourist attraction.

The Philippines has earned the distinction of celebrating the world’s longest Christmas season. Christmas carols are heard as early as September and the season lasts right up until Epiphany.

History of Christmas Lights
During the medieval period, special candles were often lit at Christmas, symbolic of Jesus’ role as the light of the world. The phenomena of the Christingle is also closely related.

The illuminated Christmas tree, which is considered by many to be the start of the development of modern Christmas lighting traditions, is commonly associated with Martin Luther, and became part of a European Christmas from his time.

A 3 meter Christmas tree forms the centerpiece of the Phillips family Christmas
decorations on Dalmeny Road, Carshalton, London.

It’s adorned with over 170 Teletubby toys.

The illuminated Christmas tree became established in the United Kingdom during Queen Victoria’s reign, and through emigration spread to North America and Australia. Until the development of inexpensive electrical power in the mid-19th century, miniature candles were commonly — and in some cultures still are — used.

The first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree was the creation of Edward H. Johnson — an associate of inventor Thomas Edison — who had Christmas tree light bulbs especially made for him while he was vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company, which were displayed on his Christmas tree on December 22, 1882. Johnson became widely regarded as the Father of Electric Christmas Tree Lights.

In 1895, U.S. President Grover Cleveland proudly sponsored a huge specimen of the first electrically lit Christmas tree in the White House.

Boston, MA.

Lausanne, Switzerland
Shiodome, Tokyo Japan.

By 1900, businesses started stringing up Christmas lights behind their windows. Since the lights were too expensive for the average person, electric Christmas lights didn’t become the majority replacement for candles until 1930.

The first commercially produced Christmas tree lamps were manufactured in strings by the General Electric Co. of Harrison, New Jersey.

From that point forward, electrically illuminated indoor Christmas trees grew with mounting enthusiasm in the U.S. and elsewhere. San Diego in 1904 and New York City in 1912 were the first recorded instances of the use of Christmas lights outside.

Santa’s Merry-go-round at Gore Park.

McAdenville North Carolina claims to have been the first for inventing “the tradition of decorating evergreen trees with Christmas lights in 1956, when the McAdenville Men’s Club conceived of the idea of decorating a few trees around the McAdenville Community Center.

However, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has had “lights” since 1931, when a tree was adorned with 700 lights and placed in front of the RCA building, but did not have real electric lights until 1956.

Philadelphia’s Christmas Light Show and Disney’s Christmas Tree also began in 1956. While General Electric sponsored community lighting competitions during the 1920’s, it wasn’t until the mid 1950’s that they began to be adopted by average households.

200,000 Christmas lights in Richmond, Virginia.
New York nature.
Partecita park in Gothenburg with more than 4,000,000 lights.

Over time, strings of Christmas lights made their way into use in places other than Christmas trees, with strings of lights adorning mantles and other areas inside and outside of homes, businesses and even city skyscrapers, activated in Grand Illumination ceremonies.

The annual lighting ceremony of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has become a TV special watched from coast to coast in North America. For more information on the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, visit NJ.com.

The Marshall, Texas courthouse outlined in Christmas lights.

In the lake of Adventkranz, Velden, Worthersee.
 Paulista, Brazil.

Palácio Avenida. Christmas in the enchanted palace is a spectacular public concert in this beautifully lit HSBC historic bank building in downtown Curitba, Brazil, with children in costumes singing out of every window.


Kansas City, Missouri.
Rio de Janeiro Brazil.

 Dragon at the castle, River of Lights, Albuquerque, NM.
Paulista Avenue, San Paulo.SP.Brazil.

Pinocchio with star snow sculpture.

Manchester’s Xmas decoration, likened to Zippy the puppet from Rainbow.

Methuen Riverwalk.

 Christmas elves.

85°F Christmas at Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.

Colosseum of Rome.
Tree design was the one inspired by Japanese cut glass technique, Kiriko.

Tree made entirely of Swarovski.

Shiodome, Tokyo Japan.

Place Ville Marie.

Christmas tree with 55m and a hundred illuminated balls in Parque do Ibirapuera -
Sao Paulo.SP.Brazil .

Electric snowman.

Storefront on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park, NJ.

 Santa’s sleigh at Glasgow.

Santa’s reindeer at Glasgow


Christmas Nativity scene at “Miller Place” - 32 Miller Farms Drive.

This home has 60,000 blinking lights, glowing plastic figures, lilting carolers and a 6-foot-high robotic Nativity scene, a toyland of 50 soldiers, 24 large and 20 small choirboys, 3 trains, a castle, a gingerbread house, 2 fireplaces, a cement truck with a rotating drum, the Old Woman in the Show, more than 60 plastic Santas and snowmen. Collection by the homeowner benefits diabetes research.

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