In a few days Christmas will be over, the temperatures will remain unseasonably warm, and conditions will be perfect for removing holiday lights, dragging a dying evergreen tree out of the house, and hauling holiday decorations up the attic stairs for use again next year. Before all the disassembly occurs, take some time to really enjoy the decorations that neighbors, family, friends, and other loved ones have displayed so proudly. Twinkling holiday light displays have taken over the front lawns, roof lines, porch railings, and doorways of houses all over the Eastern Shore.
Festive lighting around the holidays is a long standing tradition that spurs from the idea of using candles to light up a tree placed inside, decorated, and used to shelter gifts. In the middle of the 17th century, Europeans started calling these seasonal decorations Christmas trees. During the 18th century, candles were glues to an evergreen tree or displayed in lanterns nearby and used to illuminate home-made decorations placed on the tree.
Dutch ancestors brought the tradition to the Eastern Shore from Germany during the Victorian period. Today, Berlin, MD, pays homage to these European ancestors by celebrating Victorian Christmas. Berlin’s Victorian Christmas captures the essence of Christmas’ during the Victorian period. Businesses up and down Main Street in Berlin, and some off the beaten path, decorate their shops in traditional Christmas garb.
Of course, light bulbs were invented in the 1800’s, strung together, and used to decorate trees instead of candles with messy wax. The first ever electrically-lit Christmas tree was created by one of Thomas Edison’s (the inventor of the light bulb) assistants in 1882. Because light bulbs were expensive and electricity was too, residential holiday lights took some time to catch on. Around 1930, strung lights began being used for residential purposes.
By the 1950’s Christmas lights were being strung inside and outside of private homes. Since then, holiday lights have only gotten bigger, brighter, and better. A love for holiday decorating and stringing up some lights is extremely evident on the mid-Atlantic coast during this time of year. Home displays usually start being assembled around Thanksgiving and continue to grow until Christmas weekend.
While driving through the area, motorists can catch a glimpse of jolly homeowners who immensely enjoy decorating for the season. Illuminated animatronics, statues, figures and blow-up monstrosities can be found on every street. A dazzling array of Christmas icons and Santa paraphernalia are shown in many configurations and colors.
Traditional electric holiday lights are being swapped for brighter, energy saving LED lights. These light-emitting diode light strings use 80% less energy than traditional incandescent lights. LED lights last up to ten times longer than traditional lights, too. The lights shine brighter and remain cool to the touch while lite, unlike traditional lights. With advances in holiday light technology and more available display methods, it’s obvious why so many people enjoy decorating their properties with the cheery accessories.
Check out the gallery below to see an array of Christmas light displays found in Millsboro, Selbyville, Ocean Pines, Berlin, and Ocean City. To whoever fixed all of these decorations, thank you for entertaining your neighbors, communities, and for bringing some holiday cheer to the Eastern Shore. Now, go out and enjoy the lights before they’re removed and saved for next year!