’Tis the season for light

Local cities are to be commended for their efforts to light up their parks and squares for the season.

After all, this is the season for light.

In Kyle, the square simply glows with a large tree, a tunnel of lights, gingerbread men by the sidewalks and much more.

Moving north, Mountain City holds its competitive Holiday display, with homeowners competing to be named among the best. It’s worth driving through Mountain City to check out the displays.

In Buda, residents can stroll through Stagecoach Park to view its Trail of Lights around the pond. Plan on buying hot chocolate from the Boy Scouts or Santa Cruz Church and be sure to take pictures under the large ornament arch.

The idea of decorating to the hilt has become quite competitive even between towns. Take Johnson City, for example, home of Pedernales Electric. You can bet your Christmas tree that that city has the lights.

Or drive on over to Marble Falls to its expansive display … or to Fredericksburg … or to Lockhart.

The thing is that we get to look at light displays and wonder at the creativity of residents.

And the creativity of inventors who first thought up the idea of Christmas lights.

It wasn’t always that way. In the 17th century, trees were lit with candles held onto the Christmas tree with wax or pins. Because of the danger and cost of candles, the tree was only lit for a couple of minutes. Can you just hear the “oohs” and “aahs?”

Outdoor lights were introduced during the 1880 Christmas season when none other than Thomas Edison and his inventor Edward Johnson introduced the lights outside of their lab in New York. Johnson later created a string of Christmas lights, allowing the lab to show off as passengers on the train travelled past.

That invention led to President Grover Cleveland in 1895 lighting up the White House. Because the lights were incredibly expensive, only the well-to-do could afford to decorate with lights. But the resourcefulness of American inventors brought down the price – and the danger from the string of lights – and more and more people and cities began to decorate outside.

Let the decorating contests begin.

So, when you take  a drive around subdivisions and look at all of the lights, remember to give a nod to American inventors from the past for giving us this beautiful season of lights.

Twinkle, twinkle, string of stars. Thanks, Thomas Edison!

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